Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gene Stratton Porter- First Day of School 2013

         We always start the school year off with a field trip just so the children actually look forward to the first day of school.  Even though this was our first day, we still aren't totally plunged into the books.  Too many summer things going on still to draw the children indoors for book work.  There is much outside that they can be learning too.  For example, we now have 4 jars on our school table being watched.  One has a chrysallis in it, and the other three were just collected today with large size caterpillars in them.  I imagine they'll be forming their chrysallises soon.  The children have all named them and are excited to see what kind of butterfly will emerge from them.  We have yet to collect monarch caterpillars.  This is the first year we have looked for them, but we weren't able to find any.  
          So, onto the field trip.  After Alegra's piano lesson we headed for Gene Stratton Porter's State Historic House and Park.  We packed a picnic lunch and I explained to the children what they would see and what the day was going to be filled with.  They immediately were excited with one exclamation being, "This is better than a chocolate factory tour!"  I sure love these children's love of more simple things and nature. 

A picture along the path.

 He wanted one taken by himself.  Cute kid he is.

 She wanted one by herself too.  :)  I decided this would be a lovely place to take some of Saphira's 1 year old pictures.  There are some beautiful spots within this park!

 We toured this house and the children just loved it!  From the old fixtures to the  fireplaces built with different types of rocks to the coservatory to the film developing room, they were amazed by it all.  What a beautiful home\ that she designed with both older and newer features.

 We took a hike on one of the trails and found a rather large animal track.  Alegra took a picture of it and we took it back to the visitor's center where we compared it to tracks on the poster there.  One of the naturalists came over and helped us figure out what it was.  We had it narrowed down to either a bobcat or coyote track.  That was really fun for the children!

 A view of Gene's garden.

 This is the stone work done around the spring area by the lake.  The children learned that these are pudding stones. 

 With no place to be, the children decided to head back to the garden to explore the flowers and see what kinds of butterflies they could find.  So enjoyable to just walk and wonder. 

Alegra took the camer for a bit and captured some of nature's finest collections.

 I wouldn't say that we are a fine collection.  Didn't even know she took this picture.  :)

       We had to stop and gaze at this tree for a bit.  It was so large around, tall, and straight.  What a beautiful example of stretching itself up toward its Creator.  The Scriptures talk about the trees clapping their hands.  I can just see them doing that on a breezy day, with branches raised, clapping their leaves together in praise to the Creator.
        We finished at the park, then headed to the library to get everybody library cards.  The children have been begging me to do this.  The library has always been a place that we visit weekly.  Ever since we moved and another baby has been added to the mix, I haven't been so diligent at getting them there.  So, with the start of a new school year, I figured it was a good time to get back to our routine of taking advantage of the library.  We also checked out some of Gene's novels to find last night that they are more difficult for my children than I thought they would be.  Does anybody have good suggestions of books for middle school reading levels that are about nature? 
          Now that we've learned about Gene Stratton Porter and the Limberlost, we'd like to go discover the Limberlost park in Geneva, IN.  Maybe next month we can do that one.  There's so much to learn in nature.  Hopefully we instill the love for it that TV and video games just can't replace.   Now, we have peaches to can and hopefully next week my mom's pears will be ready to can.  And the produce cart is still going.  That's been a great learning experience for the children this summer!  That will be a post all itself, but now, supper is ready and my littles (and hubby) is ready for supper.  Until next time!