Our local homeschooling group, Homespun (isn't that the best name?) just began a Holistic Kids + Spanish Language Exploration Cooperative. Every family hosts a date at their home, & we hosted one last week.
We couldn't resist having a little birding day, what with all the new nests, hovering paired hawks & carpenter bees buzzing at every blossom. It's Spring!
Everyone I know is nesting on some level right now. From just getting organized to reevaluating life structures to pushing the furniture around. The sun has brought a fresh sweep of hope & warmth.
I set up three stations & we labeled them in Spanish:
Wool Nest: felting needles, wool, foam blocks
Magic Bird Finders: pretty paper + colored masking tape to make kid-focusing binoculars
Nest String Supply: produce baskets, colored string, fabric scraps & scissors
I let the older kids needle felt themselves, as long as there are adults nearby to keep track of the needles & they've been given clear instructions on how the felting works & how to keep their fingers away.
This activity can hold most kids' attention for a long time.
One unexpected but lovely surprise was that a vegan family came & wouldn't touch the wool. I used cotton batting & glue to make a nest for their son. He began covering it in fabric scraps & it looks very nice.
We made a few eggs by gathering a fist of wool & tightly wrapping it in a long strand. Then we needled it in place & lightly wound some decorative colored wool on the outside.
I'd seen a few versions of these online, at the Crafty Crow & Blue Yonder, but they involved produce nets. I don't have any produce nets, but the boys are forever stealing people's strawberry baskets. Nice to move some along.
And the nest up top? It fell out of a giant Italian Cypress 2 years ago as I was taking a walk. Lake & I looked up to see the hole, 30 feet up! We left it there, in case the birds would maybe put it back, like umm, Cinderella, when we weren't looking. But it was still there 2 days later, so home it came. It's on it's 3rd Spring as our Nature Corner, & it gets more precious with every daisy, clover, branch, pebble, acorn & pod.
I can't bear to toss a bit, but amazingly, over the course of a year in storage, they all shrink down to nothing to make room for new handfuls of what-not. It's kind of like our hearts, collecting up random bits of rick rack & experience, which somehow pack in there, taking up just the perfect amount of space. The memories change & grow more interesting & complex as time passes, and somehow, there's always room for more.
Right now, I'm collecting the new. Never before have I been a part of a homeschooling group. What a resource! I didn't realize that field trips that cost $20 could cost $2. Everyday there are so many new tours, classes & cultural events offered, not to mention daily park dates, small group playdates & like-minded friends.
It's also interesting to see all the different types of homeschoolers. Everyone does it for their own reasons. As a teenager I always thought that other unschoolers must be just like me, if only they weren't so far away. Back then we were few & far between, a secret to each other & the world. Thank goodness for Grace Llewelyn, liberating me in the first place. There's been enough time since The Teenage Liberation Handbook that now there's thousands of self-taught teenagers. I'm grateful the world has caught up so my boys aren't watching the clock, waiting for the next door neighbors to get home from school.
***oh yeah, who is Open Jane? Please email me...