The kids and I have been getting a bit of “Cabin Fever” with all this miserable weather we’ve had in Iowa.**
Nature walks have become shorter and we miss the sunshine and greenery and we needed a change!
Sofi came up with the perfect solution! She decided that now was the perfect time to study Botany because that way we would be able to experience more greenery. We started with Herbs for Kids II and Botany (Earthschooling G5).
Sofi also decided we needed to move a little bit more in the schooling process. She created a “new schedule” for us that involves working at different locations three times a week. Mondays we will have class at the Botanical Center. Tuesdays we will have class at the Art Center and Thursday we will enjoy one of the hip local cafes around town (where the college students usually hang out).
This process of schooling “out of the home” is an integral part of the Earthschooling experience so I am happy to comply with her new schedule. Creating a rhythm in the home is so important in the early childhood years. However, as the children get older they also need to learn the skills of adaptability and the ability to work in different environments as well as how to adapt learning to different environments. The older the children get, the more their learning turns outwards and becomes more and more integrated into the community and into “real life” experiences until, by High School, some students are actually performing in part-time jobs or internships, running their own businesses, attending some college classes or running their own gardens.
In a homestead or school situation where a child moves about naturally (from barn to garden to home) this can often happen more easily. In a situation where the family lives in a suburb or apartment, situations can be created with nature walks and “study trips”. Most locations have comfortable benches or tables you can work at.
Here are the essentials we bring with us:
Computer to connect to WiFi just in case I need to look up something for a question she asks or something I forgot at home.
Reference books we may need for the day – plant guide or grammar reference book or other book
Notebooks (We use lesson books AND we use three-ring binders with lined paper for some lessons)
Pencils and Colored Pencil sets
Bag to carry items in comfortably
A snack & bottle of water
The more children become accustomed to learning in different places and situations the more they will naturally integrate this process into their own every day lives as children and adults and be well on the path to being “life-long” learners.
Sunday we studied at The Rieman Garden Butterfly Museum where Sofi learned more than we expected because she spent a lot of time chatting with the local staff (she is very chatty and curious) while I was taking pictures. Tuesday we did some editing of a story she wrote while sitting on a bench at the Botanical Gardens, talked about the meaning of some grammatical terms in the car on the way over (including creating sentences together), talked about plant identification over lunch and then did a “Scavenger Hunt” in the gardens.
How will you combat your “Cabin Fever” this winter? We would love to hear your ideas as comments on this post 🙂
**Note that this is one of our “archived posts” from our old BLOG. We are in the process of moving all of our old posts to one location. This is a very large project but we will finish it soon – we don’t want you to miss out on some of our older posts and we want to make sure you have everything in one place 🙂
An update from today: We still use the botanical gardens as an escape from the cold Iowa winters. This year our botanical garden even provided us with a natural weaving loom! And Sofi is now in 10th grade! This is her sister, Mosi, who is in college now.