~a month of unschool~ keepin’ it real

*gasp* already another month?!

it’s been a month of joyful abandon as we emerge back into the great outdoors after a long winter. this month you’ve been ~ identifying birds at the feeder in sibley ~ tidepooling several times- here you’re pointing to limpets (a key diet item from nim’s island, telling me about seaweed sandwiches (also from nim) and tasting the water to see if it’s salty (while mama prayed that it wasn’t full of radioactivity from japan. sigh~

~you are a guy with such an agenda, but sometimes you get all geared up only to fall asleep. it’s ok buddy, it happens to everyone ~ to market to market has become a new favorite book ~ you helped me build a cold frame for the garden, helped feed our backyard bird population, and helped by washing some dishes, by your own initiation. in fact, i’d say “doing real chores” has been a big theme for your unschooling month~

~mailing real packages (to grammy) ~ feeding real goats and chickens ~ hanging real clothes on the clothesline ~ dealing with real death in our backyard life ~ kneading real bread dough

~ harvesting a real onion ~ watering our real seeds ~ drawing a real sign ~ staking up your real baby cedar tree ~ watering and tending real tomato plants that we grew from real seeds ~

~ scientific illustration on three separate occasions (yellow crowned sparrow, ladybug, and yet another death thanks to kitty, a mole ~ hiking and tidepooling, creating scenarios involving turtle rocks ~ studying a pile of pine cone seeds at the bottom of a huge squirrel-inhabited tree ~ finding frogs at beaver creek ~ finding “dinosaur” bones at south beach ~

~ the mole (already a familiar character for you from the wind in the willows)~ planting tomatoes out ~ identifying and photographing wild grape ~ helping mama transplant our future apple orchard (100% volunteer because apparently my last round of compost did not effectively kill the zillions of apple seeds we dumped in last fall)~ your tireless advocacy for the dandelion, your essential role in seed dispersal of this most essential plant~

~contemplating subtle differences between leaves- a big leaf maple growing side by side with a thimbleberry provides a great challenge for this ~ you eat more and more greens all the time- as long as you harvest them yourself (this was a salad including self-harvested calendula petals) ~ we are learning about oca (oxalis) an important root crop from south america we are experimenting with growing ~ you chose your dream car – seriously i had no input on this! but couldn’t be more tickled with your choice ~

~you planted potatoes under straw and built your scarlet emperor runner bean tipi ~ you still take great joy in retrieving the (real) garbage can from the street curb ~ your canteloupe has sprouted! against all odds. oh please let us grow at least one small melon, mother nature! ~ you happened upon the skill of pushing the needle both down and up through the cloth in one motion- advanced embroidery ~

yet more tidepooling bliss ~ a spontaneous walk to the bayfront (at your request) treated us to a rare spectacle: a loon herding and attacking a ball of baitfish that it had somehow trapped in between two fishing boats. unbelievably cool how close we were to this event! i could hear david attenborough’s voice narrating it in my head as we watched…

i’ve been so enjoying our immersion in nature this month!

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11 comments to ~a month of unschool~ keepin’ it real

  • Wonderful, what a beautiful month full of love, learning and happiness. A gorgeous way to teach each other. Thanks for sharing. The photos are fabulous! Katie x

  • Wow–when you put it like that May was a pretty awesome month!
    Hillary recently posted..What Weโ€™re Reading – May 2011

  • tim

    Wow! What an awesome month you guys had! We've just finally been getting out more too now that it's May. I went out with Talan yesterday and planted our freebie apple trees… and then he got a call from Grampy to go drag the garden! I can't remember if you're supposed to feed a tractor fever or starve it, but Talan can't get enough. If only Grampy's yellow tractor worked, and had doors, he'd be in heaven! It's pretty funny to me that he gets to garden with a 7 ton tractor, and I was using a little person shovel to plant 2 trees and three raspberry bushes we didn't even know were hiding in the package (hooray for even more freebies!)! Tell Quinn his drawings are great, and so is his gardening!

    • marybethrew

      lol. quinn would be so jealous of talan getting to ride the tractor with grampy. sigh. maybe he can do some fall, um, haying? we shall see. lol at you having to use talan's shovel, though i find that quinn's is just the right size for many jobs i do in the garden (but i do have my very own big person one, and a spading fork to boot, best tool ever). super cool you got free raspberries too! i have some free ones from our community garden, because someone planted a nice hedge of them against a building last season but a handful of new ones sprouted up where they are just going to be mowed with the lawn, so i rescued them. i'll tell quinn uncle tim is a fan of his drawings/gardening. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • tim

        I didn't actually use Talan's shovel, but the one we have (borrowed from the farm) is like 3 feet long. It's a full size spade but with the snow-shovel-type handle. So if I have to dig a 2 foot deep hole, I have to bend all the way over. Needless to say I got up early and took a long hot bath this morning before work. I ought to get some big people tools someday.

  • marybethrew

    inhabitated? wow. no worries folks, i'm qualified to "teach". (i edited that squirrel-inhabitated tree to be merely inhabited.)

  • beautiful post! well done…and thanks so much for taking me along for the adventures!
    Dmarie recently posted..Second hand- not second rate!

  • What a month! Maybe I should do this. I'm not at all reconciled to unschooling. I just don't feel we're 'doing' enough. Trying to keep a beautiful photographic record of our days would either make me feel much better or much worse. Lol.
    tinsenpup recently posted..Thats New

    • marybethrew

      if you do it, link up! i post it around the 23rd of each month when quinn's month-birthday happens. but obviously there is a little leeway with that. ๐Ÿ™‚ i can say for me, it feels better, i don't feel we do much, but then i download photos off my phone and go "whoa!" i find the phone camera a really easy way to be mindful of recording some of the moments, much easier than jotting it down, for instance.

  • I love these posts… I'd love to steal your idea sometime when I'm organized enough to do it! On and off I keep a (paper) journal of our days. Maybe it's time again. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Stacy @ Sweet Sky recently posted..Grace Becoming

    • marybethrew

      it wouldn't be stealing! i'd love for it to be something others join in with. leave a link if you do! i will probably be late this month since i'll be out to sea. ๐Ÿ™‚

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