October 2, 2012

Autumn Walks

Last year, when we decided to home educate, I had planned on blogging about our activities on a weekly basis. Little did I realize how overwhelmed, how out of my element, I would feel. Blogging became the last thing on my mind as we learned how to spend our days together in a whole new way.

Now that we have a good year under our belt and I know what to expect, I'm a little more relaxed. Hopefully this year I can share with you about our days a little more. It won't be weekly but certainly more than next to never. (snicker-giggle)

We begin the school year after the September long weekend and each week we have been walking down by the river. It's a great way to explore nature. Sometimes we bring our books and work on other subjects there as well.

 Last week we planned on collecting fall leaves for a project but we have had amazingly warm weather for September. So warm, in fact, that none of the leaves had started to change color or fall by the third week of September - a time when many trees should be half bare and certainly fall colors should be everywhere.

 Instead of leaf collection we took note of the plant changes. Like creepy, banana-shaped pods that are actually filled with so, so many seeds, each with a fluffy little tail on them. They are all folded into each other in a pretty spiral formation and there's no way you would ever get them back in there, once opened. These pods are packed better than manufactured tent sets. Eventually they erupt in a fluffy mess and blow away on the wind.

The variety of flowers was wonderful. All the pretty ladies in their bright colors dancing in the wind. And I Do mean wind!! Holy smokes!!! I'm amazed any of the pictures turned out at all because I could barely keep still. Perhaps not the perfect day for a nature walk but we had a great time anyway.

My daughter is working on Apologia Botany for the first part of this year. She took some time to work on flower drawings and to examine their design. Both kids also took the time to work on nature journal entries. It got me thinking that maybe I will start my own nature journal next time we go out (this week).

Later we ventured off the path onto one of the trails, down to the riverbank. Part of it stretches out in a rocky bed for a long way, and there is all kinds of things to see. It is interesting to notice the changes from week to week as trickles of river water filling little ponds changed to bubbling streams too wide for us to cross without some rock placement.

We also saw a snake, a frog, water creatures, and many animal tracks.

This week we will be going back again for leaf collection. Two days after these pictures, the overnight temperature dropped to chilly and the leaves immediately started to fall and change color. Overnight the local trees became gold and red and orange. Amazing how fast it happens with just a little bit of a chill.

Here are a few more pictures of some of the monster trees along the river path.

And one more of the valley. I'll try and get more with the valley colors all dressed up this week.

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