Monday, February 7, 2011

Looking Closer

Gabriel checks out the blackberry thorns.

This afternoon, when we were finished with our school work, I brought out a package I had ordered and received a few days ago. I've been intrigued with The Private Eye program for some time, and finally ordered some of their loupes and a case.

One of the loupes from The Private Eye

I found the educator's guide at our home school library, so I can wait to order that if I need to later. Gabriel and Annika were both intrigued by the loupes, so after an introductory lesson in how to hold them, we went outside to see what we could look at. We had a brief window of sunshine, which made it fairly nice outside. We looked at the clematis plant, some blackberries, leaves, moss growing in the grass, wood, and other things. I didn't want it to be too academic, since we were just starting with them, so I didn't push too hard. Gabriel had shorts on and got cold quickly, so we didn't spend too much time outside, but it was a good start. I like the concept of interdisciplinary learning, and look forward to combining science, art, writing, and other topics.

It always surprises me how early things start waking up for the spring around here. The hellebores are blooming, the clematis is budding, and the bulbs are popping up.

Hellebores in the front yard

Clematis on the back porch, green budding in the midst of brown, dry leaves

Daffodil bulbs popping up in the back yard. I got these from my grandmother after we bought our house. Gabriel helped me plant them.

Every year it seems too early, but I think I have photos from the past several Februaries that look almost like the ones I took today! January is often a time of turning inward for me, but when the plants start showing signs of new growth, I, too, begin to feel the stirrings of more of an outward focus.


In the kitchen, Annika helped me cut up some ripe bananas to dry them in the dehydrator (there were bunches of ripe ones on sale at the store last week).

Annika cutting and arranging bananas for dehydrating

I also figured out how to be successful with making yogurt. I just needed to add a bit of heat (a heating pad) and leave them to ferment a bit longer.

My yogurt set-up - high tech!

We've now made 2 successful batches of yogurt - one of goat milk and one of cow. I can't believe how easy it is - the most time-consuming part is watching the milk while it heats so it doesn't burn. Yay! Another skill to add to my repertoire! Here is the link to the website where I found the clearest instructions.

We're starting another semester at school this week, with some new classes. I'm looking forward to only going 2 days a week instead of 3. I think it will help me manage our home and our own studies better. Gabriel expressed relief, too. He gets stressed out when the schedule is too busy.


amber said...

I love hearing about your interesting learning projects. I haven't tried to tackle yogurt yet, though I should, my daughter eats a ton of it!

Renee Bellinger said...

I enjoyed your blog post Jennifer! I look forward to seeing you and catching up again sometime soon. love, Renee