Sunday, September 17, 2017

Scenes From Nature School

The first week of nature school is done, and all in all, it was a great week! There has been a slight shift in the days here on the homestead brought on by an increase in the children I have joining me, and the range in ages. It became clear to me late last spring that it would be difficult to have a formal main lesson not only because of the variety of ages, but mostly because all of the children are only here one or two days per week and homeschooling in such varied ways at home. So, I shifted and decided to move to a nature school format, and it's amazing. As we always have, we start our day in the woods, but now we spend a bit more time there. We wander, climb trees, build forts and stop to get a closer look at anything that captures our attention. Then back to the homestead for a snack and journaling before lunch. After lunch free play, read aloud and craft time, with a little more free play before heading home. It feels good, flows well, and so far the children are loving it.

I have loose themes for each week....last week and this coming week are all about mapping. Mapping the homestead and the forest we walk, using old maps for our crafts, learning the directions and more. We will then move on to four weeks of gardening where it will be a little more hands on....meaning the kiddos will be in the garden with me harvesting, cleaning, prepping, planting garlic and bulbs, and learning the ins and outs of seed to plate. And the weeks move on in that way, with a theme and activities and crafts based on that theme.

Of course I'm sure you are wondering when my little man does his lessons. We are bookending our days with more formal lessons. So before the children arrive we do some math, and language arts, and after they are gone we do a little more. We are both enjoying that rhythm so far, and will see how it goes. I think what we both love about it is that this is the first time since we started homeschooling that it is just him and I for lessons. He loves the attention, who wouldn't, and I love really focusing on him during this time. Right now we are doing lots of review and read aloud, and will continue for another week before moving into some new things.

So, here I am, first week done, about to move into the second week. It feels right, for this time and place. I have lots of ideas and dreams about the path forward with nature school, but for now I am taking it one day at a time, focusing on the present and keeping those ideas and dreams alive in the back of mind.

Has school or homeschooling shifted for you this year? How is it going?

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Oh September, how I adore you. You bring darker mornings, and earlier sunsets. You start the day with a chill in the air, allowing the sun to slowly warm the earth. You bring forth a sense of renewal, and transition. You remind us to connect to what is most important to us. You call on us to realign ourselves with our dreams and goals. You are a quiet pull, gently tugging us inward.

I have been sinking into September, in the way I usually do, by shifting things in our home here and there, creating a cozy and comfortable space for my little man and I. The curtains that are pulled back all summer long to let in the summer sunshine, are released. The blankets and quilts are being pulled out, draped across the sofa, and used on a regular basis. The hand knit shawls are finding their way to my shoulders more often. More candles are out, and being lit in the early morning and again as the sun goes down. A cup of tea is always close by, and the kitchen has come alive with soup, chili and curry. In essence, I am beginning the move into hibernation.

I feel it every year as the weather shifts, the pull to tuck myself away, body, mind and soul. To reconnect to me. To find more moments of stillness and quiet. To turn inward, deeply. To create more time and space for reflection. I relish this time, and love the gentle nudge to retreat. This rhythm of mine, connected to the shift that happens in September, brings me solace, and always serves as a reminder that we are deeply connected to Mother Earth, and her rhythms.

How is September treating you so far, my friends? Are you retreating, feeling the shift of September and the transition it brings?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Surrounded by Water

Water....just the sight of it and I can feel a certain peace wash over me, so you can imagine how a day on the water might affect me. If you guessed by the end of the day I was happy, relaxed and feeling fully alive, you guessed right. Last week I had the pleasure of spending a day on the water with a friend, and to say my soul was happy at the end of the day would be an understatement. I know I am not the only one who feels, so deeply, the healing power of water, and I know every time I am near the water I feel more relaxed, tuned into my true self, and more fully alive, but goodness every time it takes me by surprise just how magical it feels. 

The day was spent on the beautiful lakes of the Kawartha's, moving through the lock system into three different lakes and back again. The afternoon began on Lower Buckhorn Lake, then onto Lovesick Lake and finally Stoney Lake, before heading back. With cottages lining the lakes, and little islands, some with cottages, some without, all along our journey, I sat back and tried to take it all in. Mother Nature is truly stunning, and I was gifted so much beauty that I am still in a place of awe thinking about the experience. 

On Stoney Lake, on a small island, there sits a church, a church! We docked the boat, and took a quiet little tour. It's a little church, but it feels so majestic and magical. Every where I looked as I walked around little things caught my attention...the way the windows opened, that craftsmanship, the way the breeze blew in, the plants lining the paths as we exited the church and wandered the island, and so much more. The simple beauty of this building surrounded by water was stunning. 

After visiting this island, we toured the water, stopped for a picnic at another little island, watched as mama osprey sat guarding her babies, stopped at a dockside restaurant for tea, and then witnessed the most beautiful sunset as we headed back, my heart happy and soul filled.

There was a certain simplicity to this day, an ease and slowness that allowed room for moments of awe and inspiration. There was no time limit, except the setting sun, and there was no rush to get home, instead there were the simple pleasures of sinking into the moment, being fully present, and letting my heart and soul fully connect to the magic around me....a true gift.