Its Turtle time! In preparation for this unit we went on a special field trip with our extended family. Weeks ago, we all met up at a sea turtle rescue a little further up the coast from our home.
What a wonderful day we had! We learned about the various kinds of turtles in our area, where they nest, how the migrate through the oceans and all the unbelievable obstacles they have to overcome in their lives. We visited several turtles in varying stages of recovery and were even able to view several baby sea turtles up close!
The boys loved watching the turtles being transported from the turtle ambulance over to the hospital. The smell when the doors open is immensely overpowering, but we liked staying near them so we could look through the large plates of glass and watch the people working in the clinic inside. If you live along a coast, check and see where your nearest turtle rescue is located and consider taking a trip out! We learned a great deal about conservation and responsibility on this trip as well.
I initially scheduled this trip because I assumed we would not be seeing any turtles on our farm. I was wrong! 2 days into our turtle unit, we found a painted box turtle shuffling down our dirt road in search of water. We scooped him up and after a few minutes of visiting we drove him down to the nearest canal and eased him into the water. He was a bit shy so we were extra careful to be gentle with him. Since then the boys have had their eyes open for more turtles in distress and we have rescued four of them from traffic.
I set the K table up with our favorite turtle books, sketches of turtles I printed off the internet, and a small wooden box filled with play sand and a safari ltd turtle cycle set. We also drew a cross section of a turtle nest on our chalkboard. Every day something in the picture changed. First the eggs cracked, then little heads peeked out, then turtles clambered one on top of the other and finally, they were out on the sand making their way towards the moon. He loved waking up each morning to see what the turtles were doing next!
As always, I left out water colors and colored pencils along with at least one beautifully illustrated book. He made all sorts of turtle shell designs and carapaces and plastrons he traced using a piece of cardboard I had cut out for him.
I made sure to leave a great deal of time each day for him to play freely. Sometimes our topic of study was naturally coordinated with his play but oftentimes he was left alone to play and wonder and assess the world around him. I love when he comes back with all sorts of stories about his adventures in his imagination. Its good to make sure that these littles have the time they need to play. Its how they order the world around them and how they sort through their emotions. Its powerful work and its important, so give them the time to do it!
The Turtle unit is one of my favorite units in MFW Kindergarten. “I do not quit, I persevere!” is an oft repeated phrase in our home since our first boys went through MFW K nearly 3 years ago. We took advantage of this week and set up a special time for my son and I to talk about some things that are hard for us. He is a great fan of teatime and so I set up a lovely morning tea for the two of us. We talked about so many different things and enjoyed our food slowly. We talked about certain habits that we each have difficulty cultivating and what we can do to make sure that we are constantly pushing forward, persevering in the midst of difficulty! We prayed together afterwards and asked God to help us as we strive to be more like Jesus every day.
He was so eager to pitch in around the house after this time together. He helped with his usual chores and then sat down to help me knead bread for our dinner rolls.
Then he found the laundry in piles and grabbed different sections to help fold and put away.
Of course ten minutes later he slugged his baby brother and later left the bathroom a mess and gave us a hard time at dinner about eating his food because he is FIVE and this business of raising up of a strong man after God’s own heart is the work of many, many days. So we do not quit! We persevere! And we press on with consistency and love and wonder and thankfulness and chocolate and wine and humor and above all, the word of God.
Next up— US!