31: Nature

Today I began the day intent on getting more grape juice canned. (Here’s how to make grape jelly  if you’re also overrun in grapes right now.) The kids picked and washed grapes before school, then I canned while the little kids did math and the teens did biology.

Biology today included an experiment that had a nature observation component.  The kids were supposed to go to some small body of water, observe the plants and insects, and do some drawings. With grape-mess everywhere, my first plan was to continue with canning and just let the teenagers walk the 300 feet down the road to the irrigation run-off ditch themselves.

But then the younger girls begged to go.  I let them follow the big kids, all with notebooks and colored pencils in hand.  And then the house was too darned quiet and I realized there was no reason I couldn’t just turn off the stove and go hang out with the kids in the sun myself.  So off I went, camera in hand.  And that’s how we spent the noon hour at our house today.

Several of the kids took some encouraging to get in the spirit of the project.  I reassured one that asking for another drawing did not mean I hated the first one, just that I knew there was an even better one still lurking in that pencil– which there was!  I’ve noticed when kids don’t feel gifted at something, they often don’t even try, which pretty much guarantees more negative results.  Not sure if I’ll ever turn an art-hater into a Rembrandt, but I always ask for effort, and I try to praise the heck out of the kid who obliges me.

I think we all ended up enjoying our time in the sun.  And the ones least thrilled about the drawing?  They were the most thrilled about the fact that our long biology class pushed math aside today.  So it all evened out in the end.

Here’s the link to see what my girls have been doing with our Focus and Refresh Challenge this month.  What about you?  What have you done unexpected or refreshing this week?


  1. You never know what you might enjoy or be good at, unless you try. But the way our schools are set up these day; failure isn’t even an option because they don’t get a chance to try.
    I remember ‘in the good old days’ everyone had to take typing, shop, car mechanics, home ec, and one class each of choir and band before they could graduate. Now some high schools are lucky to even have those classes.
    It seems as though more and more high schools are pushing out robots and not well-rounded individuals.

    • As a homeschooling mom I tend to major in math, writing, reading, history, and science. It was interesting to see which of the kids really enjoyed the unusual day and which didn’t…made me think we could all stand to use the creative sides of our brain a bit more…