This time of year it’s hard to get the girls to go outside as the weather is cold and unpredictable, with it raining one minute, sleeting the next and sunny the next.
I thought we’d go on a scavenger hunt around where we live which is a beautiful spot in the English countryside. But instead of coming home with stones, feathers and leaves, they would take photos.
So I created a photo scavenger hunt sheet and each armed with a camera off we went.
This was fun as it got the girls looking at their surrounding as we wondered home from our local village.
Elsa has a camera, which she takes with her everywhere. Sometimes she remembers to take photographs and other times she doesn’t.
To encourage her to look at her surroundings and to remind her to take pictures, I set her a challenge.
By the end of our home school year could we each have a set of alphabet photographs taken of items we see while we are out. They can be of anything but it has to look like a letter of the alphabet.
This little challenge seems to be working as these are what she has found so far.
E H I
L O R
V W X
I think she’s doing ok :).
N arranged another foraging trip, this time near her home, which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere. This time it wasn’t for mushrooms (apart from this one, which looks like ears, is called jelly fungus and is edible).
It was looking for roots and greens to add to a soup she had made earlier.
We all made our way up to this fabulous outdoor campfire where N asked the children to find some more sticks to put on the fire. She then described a few root edibles she had found (Alexander and horseradish). Some of the other HE children helped wrap them in foil and N put them on the fire to cook.
N gave the children a pointed stick each and tasked them with digging up some wild carrots with them. They look nothing like carrots, but smell exactly like them.
We then continued to walk around the land and found some ground ivy and white dead nettle, both of which are edible and the leaves went into the soup.
We walked down to the allotment and there found an Asian pear tree. They look exactly like apples but tasted just like a pear.
We went back to the campfire and chopped up the different green leaves we had found and added them to the soup.
Finally, it was time for drinks, oatcakes and crabapple jelly and soup.
Another fun, interesting and wet day.
I thought it would be nice to encourage the children to create a wildlife garden so we could watch what bugs, animals and birds use it over the various seasons. We picked a corner of the garden which would be suitable and got to work (and hard work it was)
Firstly, we cleared the area of nettles, big weeds, bricks and rubbish. Then dug a hole to fit our pond (which is half of an old sandpit).
While we were digging we found this little fellow 🙂 Wildlife count 1.
We then put in some pond liner and filled it with water. We also had a little visitor. (wildlife count 2) 🙂
We then cut off the excess pond liner and placed some shingle around it. Then we placed some big stones around the edge to give it a bit of a border and a huge stone in the actual pond.
We then made a little ladder for the frogs to get out (as seen in a library book).
We made a bug hotel out of old logs.
We made a bee hotel out of bamboo and a little watering can plant pot we bought.
Finally we added a little fence around it and added some pond plants, a gnome, a flower windmill and toadstool.
Next spring we will dig out the grass and add wildflowers. We will also add a bird box and bird feeders.
As I’ve said previously, we are semi structured and therefore, we do some indoor learning and some outdoor learning. Recently we went on an organised foraging trip at some local woods.
This was really interesting (to me particularly as we live in a very rural place, so there are loads of mushrooms and berries around).
N, who took us, along with a few other HE families, showed us different fungi, some of which we could eat, some of which we couldn’t because they don’t taste nice and some of which we shouldn’t because ‘they can make you dead and that’s not very nice’. I quote. LOL.
It was a very wet and miserable day but actually in the woods it wasn’t so bad, both Elsa and Anna enjoyed the walk, poking around at the different mushrooms and even finding ones which you’d think would be impossible to see.
N collected different sorts of edible mushrooms on the walk around the woods and we were able to stop in a little opening in the wood, where she cooked them on this fabulous little cooker. She had also brought along some crab apple slices with cinnamon, some fruit jelly and oat crackers, and some berry fruit sticks, which she let the children (and adults) all try.
It was a very interesting and fun, if wet, day.