We are still in the midst of this glorious streak of summer-like weather and we are all blissed out on warmth and more vitamin D than our northern bodies know what to do with. I pulled out the summer clothes bins and I’ve been dressing Flora in nothing but sundresses and bloomers- in May!
Often this time of year there is still a pile of grey snow left hiding in the shadows on the north side of the house and we still need to throw on the winter jackets after the sun goes down. This year we are making lemonade stands (the makeshift, cardboard box variety,) and planning our first camping trip. No one is complaining.
The backyard challenge is easy in this weather- we all want to be outside, but harder than I thought to get the boys literally out of the backyard and into the woods (which are in our backyard too- just a little further back!) They seem to want to play close to the house and are reluctant to explore. I have been surprised by their complaints of ants and bugs and it being too hot or windy- my little farm boys went soft over the winter!
I know what they are feeling though- that sense of newness to the sensations of grass between the toes and wind on skin when we shed out winter layers. And it seems it is always a bit of a surprise to rediscover that there are little creatures that crawl and bite out there in the world- I think we all get a little soft over the snowy months. So I guess my job is to ease in slowly. Field guides and binoculars on the lawn perhaps.
We have had some pretty amazing backyard nature viewing lately though- a great grey owl has been out in the evenings when we come home from soccer, sitting on the fence posts, waiting for us to move along so it can hunt mice in the front field. It looks right at us with it’s beautiful yellow eyes, and that head that turns almost around, and when it flies its wingspan is incredible. It feels like such a gift to have it here. And Flora has been telling the story over and over about the owl looking at her.
On the homeschool front I find we start loosing steam a little this time of year with the shift of energy to outside activities, but there is still a lot of good learning going on. Starr has been passionately building electric circuits with the Snap Circuit set he got for his birthday (he turned 9! How on earth did that happen?)
I am watching this interest, hoping I can encourage it, but also wanting to be really carefully not to put out the fire by suggesting too much or getting too “teacher-ish” on him. I made a Pinterest board with a few videos and experiment ideas about electricity for him to explore and I’m hoping that keeps the fire going and doesn’t put a damper on it. It is a fine balance. And one I am still really trying to figure out.
I have also been reading a biography of Jane Goodall to the boys over the past couple weeks, and we just finished it today. They were really taken by the story, especially Ocean. He loved hearing about the chimps and how they live. I made a Pinterest board for this study too (Pinterest being my new favorite homeschool tool!) which you can check out if you have a little nature lover in your family. The video of Jane setting a chimp free in the forest was especially moving- Flora says “Monkey! Snuggles! Happy! Home!” which sums it up nicely.
This is such a busy time of year, where we run from one thing to the next and get so much less sleep with all the light, but somehow we all love doing it. We know we will have a long, cold winter to recharge, so now is the time to soak up the sun and the adventures. Happy May, dear friends!