That Agape Family

Live. Love. Learn.

Category: Uncategorized

Nests

Fall is upon us! Or, my preferred name – Autumn. I love just about everything about fall – the smell of decaying leaves, the cooler, sweater weather, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes (don’t try the M&M’s, they’re disgusting), and of course, the leaves changing colours. Fall gives us a wonderful opportunity to see the hidden homes of our neighbourhood animals.

Here is a tree that housed both paper wasps (I’ve got an exciting post about them coming up soon!) and a squirrel, right around the corner of our home.

Nest 3

I don’t think it was only me who noticed the numerable wasps in Southern Ontario this year. It felt like they were everywhere! In fact, here’s another nest that’s clearly visible with the changing colours. I know this looks like a photoshopped image, but I assure you, I have no such skill to trick you.

Nest2

And here is a bird’s nest we found on one of our walks, again right in our immediate neighbourhood. It used to look much more pristine, but I think Little Miss has been exploring its components, hence its more disheveled look.

Nest

Fall offers the exciting opportunity to more easily observe animal habitats. With the trees bare, we can observe various types of nests in our area. Squirrels tend to have larger nests (basketball sized, or larger) made of leaves, and are also often closer to the trunk of the tree, to provide additional protection from the elements. Wasps, on the other hand, tend to have their nests on the outer perimeter of the tree, making them easier to spot throughout the year. Perhaps they do that so they’re easier to find and access? Birds nests are harder to see, as they are usually smaller (of course, depending on the bird), and are also closer to the tree’s trunk.

It’s truly fascinating to observe the intricacies that go into how nests are made. One day, I would love to be able to differentiate the different birds’ nests based on the species of bird. One day…

Blessings,

Liz

Go Home and Learn (About Camouflage)

This morning, we went on our morning walk. It was a somewhat typical September morning, other than the fact that it’s been in the high 20s (Celcius) the last few days, which is unusual for Toronto at this time of year. As we walked along, we came across this little guy:

He’s a leaf insect! At first, I thought it was an ant, carrying a leaf. The insect’s colour was so vibrant! It was quite beautiful. It even had veins to accentuate his “leafy-ness”. This nifty creature then sparked a discussion on camouflage, naturally.

As we were talking, our neighbour was walking by, and said “hello”. As typically happens lately, he asked Little Miss if she was starting school next year (our walks tend to happen mid morning, during school). I commented that we were homeschooling (she would have technically started school this year), and we continued our conversation about the housing market in our area. As we ended our conversation, he turned to Little Miss and told her that she had better “go home and learn”.

I thought it was a little funny. Here we were, outside in God’s creation, learning about camouflage, colours, and construction equipment (they’re doing work on our street), but he thought learning only happened at home. Learning happens everywhere! If we simply keep our eyes open, there are many opportunities to learn naturally, and dare I say it, more meaningfully.

Perhaps we’ll pick up a book at the library that discusses camouflage. Maybe we’ll take a field trip to the local pet store, and see what the chameleons are up to. Or, maybe we’ll simply look for more instances of camouflage, as they come up naturally, in our day to day lives. However, we won’t be working on a worksheet about it. Nor will I make Little Miss create a science fair project, that requires 5 examples of camouflage, while she dresses in military camo gear. If she chooses to dress up, and cover herself in mud, then so be it (and probably more likely than less, actually…), but I want to avoid forcing the subject. I don’t want to crush her natural curiosity by over extending our natural lesson.

I want to encourage you to look for opportunities to learn naturally, because they are everywhere. And I firmly believe that naturally occurring learning is more meaningful, and will have more staying power, than preconceived unit studies.

What have you learned lately?

Blessings!

The Cicada Scene

Ah, cicadas. The sound of summer. There’s nothing quite like the remarkably loud buzz of the cicada to remind you of summers past. But man, are those things creepy! It kind of throws you off, when you’re walking down the street, and you see a massive bug on the sidewalk, or an exoskeleton hanging off a tree, no?

Well, we had a great time learning about cicadas this last week. It all started in a park… The Littles and I were meeting up with some fellow homeschooling families. Little Miss C (3.5) was playing around on the playground, and we noticed that there were some wasps buzzing around something on the ground. Upon closer inspection, we found that it was a partially eaten cicada:

Neat! We’re always up for exploring dead bugs, so we checked it out, and put it back down for the wasps’ dinner. As we went back to join our friends, we discovered that they were spending their time collecting cicada exoskeletons:

They also realized that there were many small holes around the trees, where the cicadas had come out of hibernation. Did you know cicadas can hibernate for as long as 13-17 years? Cool!

Here is Little Miss C exploring a cicada hole. She was curious as to how deep it was:

Here is a recently emerged cicada, however likely not long for this world, as it has an underdeveloped wing – an excellent opportunity to discuss the life cycle of the cicada. I love the bright colours.

And here is a cicada mid-emergence! This was a very neat experience. The cicada was vibrating its body, I believe to help stretch out its wings to allow them to dry off.

What are your favourite sounds of summer?

To listen to the cicada’s buzz, click here.

Sorting Colours

Have you ever searched Pinterest for educational toy ideas? You know, the DIY ones that are “so easy” to make, and are guaranteed to entertain your child for hours? I have. And I’ve saved them all. I’ve even made a few, including my beloved Quiet Book, which truth be told, does not see nearly as much action as I thought it would. But, lately, I’ve started to have a shift in my thinking: What if kids learn things, even if we don’t sit down and formally teach them? What if their natural curiosity will lead them to learn the things they want to, and they’ll enjoy doing it all on their own? What if I stood back, and guided when needed, as opposed to creating more work for myself, and stressing myself out that she should be learning “this”? Or be able to recite “that”? Well, this morning, I was reassured that she will “get it” when she’s ready, and without all my Pinterest projects to help her along. Meet the Paw Patrol!

Have you seen the show? We like it in our house. Ryder (a boy who loves to help people) and his team of pups (are you singing the song yet?) are here to save the day! My beloved husband bought a set of 6 action figures (the pups) for our daughter last week. We have tried VERY hard not to go overboard on branded toys, but these cute, small figures were too hard to resist.

This morning I was getting ready for the day, and came across Little Miss playing with her figures and her rings, the ones from the classic Fisher Price toy that go on a yellow cone. She had put the pups in their own life savers (I think that’s what she was playing) based on their colour. Rocky in green (Green Means Go!), Rubble in yellow, etc. She wasn’t taking yellow pom poms, and putting them in the yellow container while I coached her. She was doing this all on her own. Naturally she dismantled it all just as I was about to take a picture, but I’m sure you get the idea 😉

But surely, Liz, it was a one off, no? Nope. She then proceeded to the kitchen where she wanted to give them all water, and a bath. My hubby reported this back to me at the end of the day, when he came home before me to a puddle of water and cups all over the floor (I was in a rush!).

Again, the pups were all designated their own bath and water bowl based on their colour. Can you guess what colour cup Skye got?

They’ll do it. And you know what, does it really matter in the long run if your child never puts the red bead on the red string? Probably not. But, if they do, they’ll enjoy it more if they do it in their time, based on their own curiosity, not ours.

Blessings,

Liz

© 2020 That Agape Family

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: