wonderful whoopers

all about whooping cranes at the patuxent wildlife refuge center:
their lifecycle, habitat, and migration patterns,
a bit about the PWRC whooping crane program,
how they almost became extinct,
and how we can help.


this program was a perfect mix of learning for this age group:
there was discussion, songs, a craft, and an outdoor educational game.
my 6 year-old whose favorite word is “boring” said this class wasn’t.
that’s a big win!


pumpkin harvest days at butler’s orchard 2015

since the first hint of color in the leaves
prayerGirl has been asking to go to the pumpkin patch.
this year butler’s orchard did not disappoint.
even as the weather threatened rain on the way there,
when we arrived there was nary a cloud in the sky.
the animals were all out,
the apples were crisp,
the pumpkins were perfect,
and the big girls managed to find the exit to the corn maze
before i had to come looking for them.
we ended our visit with a pumpkin roll from the farm market.
pumpkin roll…mmm-mmm.


now i’ve just got to make sure we actually do something with pumpkins we picked.

seedlings october 2015

another superb session of seedlings
exploring the bountiful world of botany
with the engaging ms. lee
at the u.s. botanical garden.

this first session was all about plants’ relationship with water.


on a summery fall day
we took a little time after class to experience the children’s garden.
nature did its usual thing and engaged all their senses.


the second session explored plant morphology.


after class, we caught flowers stink at the outdoor amphitheater
— a musical collaboration between the kennedy center and USBG
in which a middle school girl learns to put down her technology
and appreciate nature by opening her eyes, ears, and mind
to the beauty around her,
unleashing her imagination and creativity.

flowers stink

the third session investigated photosynthesis.
the girls used a refractometer for the first time to measure the amount of sugar in a plant.


the final session looked into mutualism
with some very interesting examples throughout the gardens.


looking back at these pictures
reminds me of how blessed we are to have this wonderful (and free!) resource
to enrich our homeschool journey.

metalworking at brentwood arts exchange

even at 12 the montessori mantra of
“teach me to do it myself”
rings true.
yeah, you can buy the perfect pair of earrings at a local store,
but you can also take a class to learn how to make your own.
radianceGirl took a kids metalworking workshop
at brentwood arts exchange
and learned small metalworking techniques
including torch work and cold manipulation.
she came home with some new experiences
and three very unique jewelry pieces
made by her own hands and infused with her spirit.


the big build 2015

i pray that my girls will feel
their options are open
and will not confine their dreams
to a limited box defined by others
because they have been to the big build
and dabbled in the hands-on-stuff
that sparks joy in children
who become designers, builders, ironworkers, landscape architects, woodworkers, artisans, and plumbers
so that they can play+work+build with the tools they’ve wanted to use since childhood.