Barb mentioned that this challenge had several layers and for us - it was incredible.
The FIRST thing my 3 dc noticed was our little pepper plant had a pepper! :) They were ecstatic - it's always exciting to see your first vegetable of the year! :) Here our little fellow is:
We then began looking at the leaves around the house. The favorite by far - was the hibiscus. They loved the red tinge on the leaves. My four year dd brought in a rose leaf and it was a perfect comparison to the Leaf Parts example on the website left on the challenge.
My ds then became excited (he's 6) about trying to decide the shapes and edges of each of their "favorite" leaves by comparing them to the examples on the same wildflower website.
During our nature walk around the yard observing leaves, I was blessed to find that our basil seeds have sprouted and revealed both seed leaves and "true" leaves. It was a perfect Charlotte Mason moment for me- giving me a natural time to talk to my children about the seed leaves and what they do. We then observed the shape difference of the seed leaves and the new, tiny "true" leaves that are appearing on some already. After this, we walked back to our grown basil plants and compared the size and shape of these mature leaves to the seed leaves and 'true' leaves on the sprouts. It was so amazing to see that the 'true' leaves looked so similar to the larger, mature leaves on the fully grown plants and the seed leaves were easily detected due to their differences. :)
Here is a short synopsis about seed leaves: http://www.seedlover.com/v.php?pg=69
We tried our observing time - the goal was for the 3 of them to sit quietly and observe for about a minute and try to really experience and use their senses to observe their surroundings. My goal was that we would go inside shortly after and cuddle on the couch and talk about the differences in what we each took notice of. Well :) we ended up talking during our entire "Quiet Time" because they would become so excited they would whisper what they were experiencing instead of really being silent and enjoying it. It's something we definitely have to work on but with a 4 yo dd, another 4yo dd, and a 6 yo ds - I think we did okay :).
It's interesting that each of them focused on different things. One spent most of her time looking at insects, another used all of her senses, and my ds took it all in but was really focused on the tangible things. He just HAD to pull a piece of basil off and try it :) and then talked about how it made his tongue feel "funny" lol. We enjoyed it and had fun.
We then spent some time looking through our plants and talking about the changes in them. We are in Virginia so with the tornadoes, hail storms, flooding, and 110 degree weather we've had the past few weeks - yesterday's milder weather was nothing short of a blessing. We ended up spending a vast portion of our day and evening outdoors - enjoying each other and our plants and cleaning our garden beds up.
The kids were delighted to see our cucumber plants flowering. My son - having been outside landscaping with his dad since he was little - took it upon himself to explain to his little sisters that the flowers would blossom into cucumbers for them to enjoy :). It was a proud mommy moment. The 3 of them then decided to count the flowers on all of the vegetable plants and see what their bounty was looking like.
The kids were incredibly happy with thier marigolds. Last week, they planted their "own" marigolds and added a little "chick" from their grandma's Hens & Chicks pot to the bottom of their marigold containers. The chicks seem to be the hit with the kids. They are pleased to see how they are both growing and quite proud as they reminded me who's container was who's.
Perhaps the most striking, frightening, and proud moment of the day came later. I wanted to share this with the other moms just as a bit of a forewarning.
I was tending to some plants and my children were still oohing and ahhing over the little green pepper when I heard my son tell his sister's to, "Get back. I have to get mom to get it." I went to them to see what was going on and my DS had found and properly identified and backed everyone away from a BLACK WIDOW. And a BLACK WIDOW with an EGG SAC.
I was so proud of him. My husband had spotted one last summer while landscaping and since my son was outside with him, he took the time to show it to my DS and warn him of the dangers and tell him to find mom or dad. For those of you who's children may not have seen one (I hadn't until I was an adult and married a man that landscaped) - I took some pictures. I personally was surprised at her size.
I was so proud of my son for doing the right thing. I told him how proud I was that he recognized it, warned his sister and left it alone, and called for me. He, of course, was embarrassed by this as you can see --
It was DEFINITELY an educational Outdoor Hour(s) lol - Thanks again to Barb - Harmony Art mom for her time and effort on our behalf. I know there has been a lot of negativity surrounding her in the past couple of weeks but I TRULY appreciate her efforts. We look forward to Sketch Tuesday AND the Outdoor Hour each and every week. I find it to be such a blessing and thank God for what she does :).