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We are now in our 2nd year of officially homeschooling our boys, which means full time of the stuff we did around the edges of their ‘normal’ education at public school. We love the unknown and the ‘around the edges’ stuff like family bike rides, traveling, and art all day, and have always found places like Kahn Academy and Skillshare, to be grounding companions. With so many students of the world currently homeschooling, or hodge-podge schooling via Zoom and Flipgrid (like we are!), we have decided (thanks Silas!) to unearth a Peg and Awl project that will eventually make its way into a notebook, and have turned it into a free downloadable PDF: Specimen Cards! We love to encourage movement, getting outside, observing, drawing, writing, and research. These cards cover all of that – be it a Citizen Science Project, backyard explorations, or for identifying mysterious objects around the house.

Download the Printable PDF

Specimen Cards by Peg and Awl
Silas with a Specimen Card | Peg and Awl Specimen Cards by Peg and Awl

I am getting many inquiries about my Iris Painter’s Palette and the paints that are in it. I shall get to that, but first I have a little story to tell…

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Deer Skull Natural History Homeschool Explore Family Business Journal Mom Mama of two boys

I have been determined to write outside of my journal more and share on our blog, but paralyzed with this need to find a beginning. There is no beginning, just an ongoing. I have to jump in. It feels a little like double dutch, which I was never very good at.  But here goes...

Last Monday — a bitter cold and damp Monday — Søren, Silas, Jacey, Ted, Shep, and I went in search of a mineral dump from the French Creek Mines at St. Peters Village. We heard of Magnetite and Calcite and Malachite buried there — unwanted minerals from the old iron ore digs. We found a deer skull (the entire deer skeleton buried beneath a blanket of rotting leaves), Jacey fell in the frigid creek, and we met a Woodsman Uncle with his niece and nephew – he was teaching them how to find shed antlers. He told us all about collecting things from the earth - from Native American arrowheads on the farm he grew up on in Phoenixville, Penna, to bottles from privies, naturally shed antlers and rocks. He went on about his love for digging and the past and the woods, and how he lines his multi-coloured bottles on his windowsills so that when the sun comes through multi-coloured light spills into his house. He boasted of a collection of thousands of bits and ended his monologue exclaiming, “I love this world.” What a joy it was to meet Carl.

After 5 hours of wandering through endless Japanese Barberry, Multi Flora Rose, and brambles, we exited through the corn field and ended our search with a much needed cold picnic.

Cornfield Journal Family Business Exploration Rock Hunting Minerals Natural History Nature

This is our first year of homeschooling, but we've been explorers all along. The search for minerals began with Silas finding quartzite in a flea market parking lot* and quickly also became one with a Peg and Awl project in the works (for 2 years!) I shall not yet divulge our plan, but for now wish to share our adventures.

We would love to hear about your expeditions near or far! The blog thing is new to me, let's see how this goes... It feels like a journal — without the satisfying scritchy scratchy of pen and paper.



Explore natural history watercolor painting family

*3 May, 2018 Instagram @thebrotherskent

Stepping out of our car on a breezy Sunday morning into a parking lot full of regular parking lot rocks, Silas spied a slightly green one. He put in in his pocket and upon returning home put some lemon juice on it. He and Søren identified it as Green Quartzite and that marked the beginning of our new adventure – or re-adventure – into the world of rocks! This summer will now include a gem show and a dig in North Carolina. It will involve handmade Rock books and magnifying glasses and an even closer look at the ground. And, as always, heavy Hunter Satchels. I cannot wait. And the best part of this journeying is we need not stop when summer is over. #homeschooling , we’ve got this. 


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