The second is something that Brandy said at the end of her first talk, that we have to fight to become the teacher we want to be. This business of trying to lead a rich life full of living ideas and active engagement with those ideas is not an easy one. It would be much easier to hand out iPads or workbooks to everyone and focus largely on building skills. Sure, the kids would balk at times to the tedium, but we could push through the work quickly and then move onto whatever else we want to do or needs to get done.
I thought about both of these things as I sat in the airport on Sunday evening, considering the day I wanted to share with the children when I got back. I knew I would be home late, and the kids could be a little clingy or overexcited when they saw me again on Monday. My first impulse - and the one I had planned on doing before the conference - was to get everyone's checklists squared away at the airport, plan my week on the plane, and then jump back into a regular day first thing Monday morning.
But as I considered what I had experienced at the conference, what I had heard and learned and discussed, I wasn't so sure that was what I really wanted to do. I wasn't sure that was really the best way to draw our family together again after our separation. I also wanted to bring a little of that post-conference glow into our family life and draw out the conference experience just a little longer.
|A banana slug - the slugs around here look just like banana slugs, except they are more of a grey-ish or brown-ish color rather than yellow.|
|Somehow this hill looks a lot steeper in person. Or perhaps it is the company?|
We had a wonderful walk, and the children were fascinated by the dry creek bed. We were able to walk up it a ways, discovering 22 banana slugs in the creek bed, marveling at the plants already starting to grow amongst the rocks in the bed, finding a few lingering blackberries and noticing several riparian trees we had not noticed before. Justin, my four year old, collected a leaf he wanted to sketch, and Gregory (9) found about a half dozen things he wanted to add to his journal. Nathan (7) was an eager looker, but wasn't sure what he wanted to sketch. In the end he decided he would use one of his brother's items. Emma (13) found a maple seed to sketch, and I tore off a small section of an uninhabited paper wasp's nest we found on the ground on our way to the creek bed.
|Scouring the creek bed for slugs|
It wasn't the idyllic, everything is wonderful and joyous sort of excursion that I, in my more unreasonable moments, am sure that everyone but me gets to have, but it was not the disaster I had imagined either. Instead it was an in the trenches, trying to do the work sort of outing that I need to keep bringing into our lives.
This post doesn't seem complete without some sharing from our nature journals, so I asked the kids if I could post pictures and they graciously agreed.
|Justin (4) - Black Oak Leaf|
|Nathan (7, Y2) - Pine branch growth - not sure how he got away without labelling...|
|Gregory (9, Y4) - Bark, Hazelnut leaf, fern, and a Big Leaf Maple leaf|
|Mine - I mostly write in my nature journal, but I do try to stretch myself and sketch at least occasionally. I'm never very happy about how it turns out though!|
|Emma (13, Y8) - Maple seed sketches and description|