We have had quite a bit of fun today with this subject, and it’s very seasonal, and fitted well with my shopping routine, as I picked up our Halloween pumpkin to carve last night, with the weekly shop (I haven’t learnt where we can go and pick our own yet, so we had to forgo that activity). We stood our very lovely, but heavy, pumpkin on the table and started drawing it into our nature journals. Mini man no.1 had a go, but wasn’t hanging around today. Mini man no.2 really tried to draw the shapes and colours he saw. We also labelled them, and then chatted about which words would describe the pumpkin using our senses. After we had done the drawing, we decided to do a couple of the extension activities. The first one was to guess the weight, and our little lady got it spot on at 5kg! Then we went to see if it would float or sink in water, and ours very conclusively sank! The next thing to do with the pumpkin was to get some seeds out so we could look at those and draw them into our nature journal. So off came the top and I got scraping the insides of the pumpkin out. While we were using a few seeds to draw, we prepared the rest and put them in the oven to roast, and we then had a delicious snack after our lunch. Later on I roasted the flesh of the pumpkin and then pureed it, and used it to make a pumpkin cake, scoffed by all 5 of us after supper, and while it was warm too…yummy!!
The afternoon was dedicated to the garden, so before we headed out there we had some cosy time on the sofa reading the recommended book for the week, Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell, reading the poem (called October), and looking at the piece of art (Still Life with Two Jars and Two Pumpkins). All three sit so still, calm, and quiet during these times, it’s hard to believe they are the loud and raucous trio they are!!!
Today in the garden I really wanted to make a start on tidying it up a bit. It’s not too unruly, but very large. I had earmarked a rather large compost/general rubbish heap to tackle. This is situated on our back piece of garden, and isn’t tucked away in a corner, but forward from one quite a way, and is as high as my shoulders and its base has a large footprint to boot. Once I got going I realised the sheer scale of what I had taken on. Filling the bonfire bin and one garden rubbish bag did not really make any impact. Therefore, I needed a rethink. I started shovelling and grabbing with my hands all the logs, branches (very large ones!), sticks, and twigs, and piling them up right in the corner. I then started digging the general muck and shovelling it that way too. Once I got down to the stuff that had turned into soil at the bottom (about 2.5 hours later), I was rapidly losing my enthusiasm and decided to turn this bit into a raised flower bed 🙂 I found some old chopped logs (well about 20) lying around the garden, and made a natural looking fence. I then levelled off the soil before getting 3 bags of lovely fresh soil (which they’d kindly left in the garage with more of it, something I can always use!), and adding those on top. My plan is to plant some of the spring bulbs I brought with me into that flower bed, for an early spring impact, and then once they have finished and the weather is a little warmer, look for some more permanent shrubs, flowers, of bushes, that will fill the space easily and hide the pile of sticks behind them. All the time I was doing this there was a lovely little Robin that was sat very close watching me. He’d change were he’d sit, but didn’t disappear.
I also found, in amongst the things the previous owners had left behind and I’m trying to shift around to make it look like they aren’t here, a funny table thing outside at the back of the garage. I thought this would be fab as an outdoor kitchen for the trio, with some of my old pans I can’t use as I now have induction hobs, and so that was moved into a better spot. Having taken that away from the back of our rickety garage though, and with plans to move the stacked up wood on the side of the garage tomorrow, into the cellar (to dry out and be more useful), the whole thing will probably collapse!!
The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.