Today was our last day of class. It was bittersweet since we all had such a fantastic time this Spring and I wish it wasn’t the last day! To celebrate all the fun we had, the nature exploration we did and the discoveries we made, we made a campfire, had some sweet treats and finished reading the Mrs. Rumphius book. We were also hoping to make some sassafras and or spicebush tea in a cast iron kettle over the campfire (unfortunately the wet weather just made the fire temperamental so that didn’t work too well. It was good enough for s’mores and hotdogs but there weren’t enough coals to get water boiling). Our plan was to make our fire down at the barn but plans changed so we ended up hiking down to the barn and back and made our campfire up here at Irvine in the fire pit. It turned out to be the best plan in the end because we got to enjoy the campfire with our homeschool families and we didn’t have to put out our fire until the very last second! It was also nice going on one last hike for the semester. We did find a bird’s nest along the trail on our way back to Irvine for our campfire. We noticed it was almost a perfect cup shape and was built with grass and mud. So this is most likely a robin’s nest.
We collected firewood and kindling for our fire and got started making the fire. It is very difficult to start a fire with wet wood and kindling, fortunately we had dry kindling and mostly dry wood (it was a bit damp since it was really humid that day and had rained the day before). The fire pit was also wet but the fire eventually got started and was warm enough to toast a marshmallow. If you do need to start a fire when things are wet, try to carry a dry fire starter and that will help a lot, along with waterproof matches. Options include Vaseline on a cotton ball or dryer lint. We ate s’mores, read a story and just had a great time remembering the Spring semester.
Reflections from the Spring…
Most liked place at Irvine: Visiting the vernal pond (we had to go a second time because it was just so awesome the first time!)
The one thing we could probably do without: Those darn ticks. But hey, we still had a blast despite the blood sucking arachnids.
What animal we wanted to find: A full grown frog, and we found one finally!
Favorite activity: Playing with the natural clay
What About Us? …
Solace really grew in his ability to write and draw and express himself in his journal. His last journal activity with the plant he chose really impressed me and I really enjoyed his creativity and enthusiasm for learning. He was also really engaged in art and I saw a Picasso in the making as Solace painted and created images on paper. I appreciated his ability to listen, contemplate and reflect.
Victoria reminds me of John Muir, always exploring, always wondering, always asking questions, always wanting to learn and always wanting to be part of nature. I can see her (and everyone from our Homeschool group) becoming a voice for plants and animals that have no voice. She is also a wealth of knowledge and helped teach us all something during the Spring.
Charlie brought a humor to the class that made everything so much fun! I also think Charlie is a budding botanist (I know I couldn’t help myself with the pun) but during our phenology study every week he always wanted to see what was happening with his plant and was ready and eager to record in his journal. His notes, drawings, observations were those of a young scientist.
Audrey was only with us for a couple of days but in that short time I watched as nature brought her to life in the class. She has an amazing eye for taking an image and putting it onto paper and really enjoyed painting and drawing. I enjoyed her willingness to try everything once and be herself in the class. She fit in seamlessly with our little group.
As for me, thank you so much to my four amazing Homeschoolers. I know our group was small but it was filled with heart and life. I’ve never seen a group of kids be so enthralled by nature and have so much excitement about learning and being a part of the natural world as these four. You have given me some amazing memories and I learned a lot too! I hope you feel the same way. Have a fantastic summer exploring!