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Nature School :: The Snail Place

There was a moment, yesterday, where I thought we would just keep on with our regular school rhythm.  Enki is made to work with three or five days, and smushing it all into three has just seemed too much.  We did do a play from our pronouns story, so I suppose we did some school at home, but then we were off to The Snail Place.  What a surprisingly wonderful time we had!

Our Cabin in the Woods

At the top of the mountain, this is the view.  There are many, many motorcycles that come belching up the mountain on our crooked roads.  It's a tourism campaign for our area, one that I am not such a fan of.  Nonetheless, before they passed through, we saw a bear cub and a wild turkey!  That made the short drive worth it, if nothing else.

Rich Valley

I call this The Snail Place because we always, always sees snails.  It's just the tiniest little part of the ridge, a small road that leads to a cluster of radio, television, and 911 towers.  It's always cooler there, no matter how hot it is down here, and always just a little damp (the snails like that).  We found five empty snail shells, including one very unique one, and then one occupied shell.  We left that one alone, of course.

The Snail Place

The children were lamenting the change of routine when I got an idea to build a den, inspired by our postcard on the nature table.  They hadn't noticed it yet, so it was fun for them to return home and see it.  With the new idea, they were happy to set to work collecting sticks and bark.  It is wonderful when things come together like that, when they just work.  Having listened to the Nature School Sparkle Stories, it's a little intimidating to work out your own things to do.  My preference is for a lot of unstructured time in the woods, but there is something to be said for little nudges in a certain direction to help children feel more integrated.

In the Den

Willow and Roan are hopeful that they can return to this spot to make improvements to their structure as the seasons pass.  I consider it a low-impact project.  It's a fairly secluded spot, though I did have to move locations after Roan nearly rolled down the mountain.  The only people that use the roads are folks looking after the towers, so I am hopeful they will pass in their trucks and take no notice of the new construction.

It's a regular homeschool day today and we've got more garden work to do--we've got an annex this year and there are plants to go in the ground and seeds to tuck in!

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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