On Wednesday afternoon we bundled up and took a walk in the snow.
The kids resisted mightily, but I held firm, and we succeeded in walking perhaps half of a mile.
I assigned each person to find one item of interest to share with the family when we got home. (I am trying very hard to follow some of the advice and inspiration I find here.) Rather than take everyone inside and run the risk of having them stay inside we held our sharing session at our picnic table on the back porch.
H4 shared a skeleton of an autumn flower that still had tufts and puff of seed heads on it.
A6 shared a very interesting seed head to a flower. We have no idea how to find out what it is short of waiting for the seasons to pass and watching carefully.
J10 shared her fascination with how snow packs together.
S11 shared a piece of an evergreen tree.
M11 shared the deer tracks we saw in the snow.
E13 shared a hive she saw hanging from a tree branch.
Then the kids turned to me and asked, "What are you sharing?" I was nonplussed. I'd spent so much time helping the others find interesting things that I hadn't made note of anything for myself. I wracked my brain and remembered--a squirrel's nest!
I had the kids vote: What would you like to study further?
They chose squirrels; it was the only subject that kept the kids from feeling that one child was favored over the others.
(I'd been hoping to study deer . . . or snowflakes.)
Yesterday I googled squirrels. Most of the informational pages/worksheets/activities about squirrels are geared toward littles. I kept searching. I finally found this page that had some interesting suggestions for older kids.
I opened a video link to preview, and the kids gathered around. For half an hour we sat watching videos of flying squirrels, funny squirrels, and boring squirrels. We learned a few things together, quite informally.
Today we have friends coming over in the afternoon. The weekend follows. I'm hoping to do share a few facts and have the kids do some observations and drawings in the week to come--more formal learning together. But if we don't (if the old house repairs take precedence) at least we've shared some educational moments together.