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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Find Your Park

Today is the National Park Service 99th birthday. All parks are free so get out there, be in pried by history or enjoy nature!  Don't forget to use the hash tag #FindYourPark on social media.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Still pickin'

Something about leaving the big city after a day's work and heading to the fields makes me so happy. (Apparently my husband and sons take this blueberry picking very seriously.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Raspberry Picking

So many of you know that I work in a big city. It is often fun meeting people from around the world as they visit our museums and historic structures, but sometimes I am simply tired of the noise and the hustle.  Add on a hot day with high humidity and putting on the ranger garb can be daunting. 
Yesterday was one of those days. 

After a long commute home, I just wanted some down time with my kids so we went to a local farm and picked raspberries.  It was so pleasant. There were just a few people out with us, the birds were singing - and eating berries- and my kids were happily helping.  Sometimes it is the little things in life that recharge us the most, isn't it?


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lovin' On Dad

In America, Father's Day is this Sunday.  Did it sneak up on you? Me too! So I decided to pull together some easy yet meaningful ways for the whole only to show Dad some love.
Using twigs you can make a great rustic frame collage.


Take dad on a night hike and catch fireflies

Go to the city, eat good food, and catch a ball game

Let dad be ten again. Take him to an amusement park. 

If all else fails, simple heart shapes left throughout the house speak volumes of love. You can use acorns, sea shells, nuts & bolts, bits of construction paper, or in my case, sea glass.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A changing rhythm

I have been off line for some time, simply finding too much on my plate to take the time to write here. Tday I am back. Our academic year is over, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed using Oak Meadow, but it is nice to go with a more natural easy way of learning as we go through summer days. I am now back at work full-time and find that I still have a strong desire to be intentional with my sons so you can expect to find that I will still offer up my parenting thoughts, but as our family rhythm and dynamic changes with me back at work, I will include other perspectives and thoughts.

Today, however, I just want to share a simple gathering of photos that I took while walking from the train station to work.  Today I found the energy of  the urban environment invigorating.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Find Your Park - the National Park Service turns 100

Did you know that next year the National Park Service turns 100 years old?  Start planning your 2016 summer vacation now and head out to the parks where we will celebrate with gusto.  This is a perfect opportunity to take a road trip to multiple parks.

If you want to catch an early jump on the celebration, head out to your local National Park for National Park Week (April 18-26). The parks will be free on April 18th and 19th.  Do you already have a favorite National Park, be it natural or historical? Then join us at Find Your Park and share your meaningful moments at a National Park and see how other visitors connect to the parks.

Often visitors ask how I became a park ranger and my story is filled with gratitude toward two people: my dad and a park ranger I only met once.  Three years after I graduated college, I came from Oregon to visit my parents who had moved to Pennsylvania a couple of years before.  Knowing I enjoy history and historic structures, my parents took me to Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.  I remember it as a cold December day and we visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  Later in the afternoon, we signed up for a tour of the Dolly Todd and Bishop White houses.  As it turned out, my mother, father, sister and myself were the only ones on the tour and we had the liberty to ask the ranger a barrage of questions.  At the end of the tour, my dad, who was the most friendly and personable man, thanked the ranger and said, "My daughter studied history and really loves this stuff." The ranger replied, "You are welcome." and turned to me and explained that the very day was the last day the park was accepting seasonal applications for the next summer. Having memorized my resume from writing it many, many times, I went straight to the park headquarters, filled out an application, and four months later, the park hired me for my first park ranger position with the National Park Service.

By the time I returned to Philadelphia for my new job, the ranger who was so kind to mention the job opening had left for another park so I never got to meet him.  I have been at Independence National Historical Park for almost two decades now and still love my job. Perhaps someday I will move on to another park and people will continue to ask me how I became a park ranger.  My story will stay the same, but hopefully someday it will end with me telling Park Ranger Loren G. in person thank you for his role in helping me discover such a fulfilling career, interesting people, and amazing places. That is how I found my park.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nature Studies

I have managed to pull myself out of hibernation and return to the blog.  I must say that all of this bitter cold has really put a damper on one of my favorite foundations of our home learning: nature studies. 

I have always been a nature lover.  Some of my earliest memories take me back to hauling my stuffed bear 5 feet up in a tree feeling like my five year-old self had conquered great heights. Or a little later, when I was eight, we lived so far out in the country in eastern Washington, that we had an hour bus ride to school. Our trailer backed up to a creek and a mountain. There was a huge wheat field in front and mountains in the distance.  It was wonderful!  I had my own little island in the creek, and was freely allowed to explore for hours on end.  Oh how I wish my sons had that kind of life, but, as of yet, it is not so.  But that doesn't stop us. We hike, camp and geocache as a family often during which the teacher in me just can't help but pull in some observation and learning.

Charlotte Mason speaks so well to my nature-loving mama self:

“It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation...Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life..." (Volume 6)

"...when children are old enough to understand that science itself is in a sense sacred, and demands some sacrifice, all the common information they have been gathering until then, and the habits of observation they have acquired, will form an excellent ground work for a scientific education. In the meantime let them consider the lilies of the field and fowls of the air." (PNEU article, Dowton)

Do you also find it challenging to keep up nature studies during harsh winter weather? I found this excellent post at Simply Charlotte Mason that will help us both along: Nature Studies Ideas for Winter.

Now let's get out and brave the weather for sake of our littles.
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