Three Sisters Garden
The first picture is a Three Sisters Garden. Native American have many stories, customs, celebrations and ceremonies related to these three crops as sustainers of life. The three different plants: corn, beans and squash benefit each other. Corn provides support for the beans. Beans have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. The large prickly squash leaves shade the soil preventing weed growth. This is a fun way to introduce gardening and also Native American agricultural techniques to your kids. We are going to plant these three in the soil behind our house and I am going to let the kids mostly care for these plants.
We have been seeing these strange web-like things all over Lewisburg and thought they belonged to some kind of spider. It turns out that they are caterpillar nests. After the eggs hatch they spin silk and live in there for awhile. As they mature they venture out for food (my garden) and eventually turn into moths. This type is called the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. Emma collected four of them today and named them Annie, Teeny, Joe and April (after her birth month and her grandmother). Aidan found one and named it Harriet. They seemed very interested in these caterpillars and so I went online and found out how to take care of them until they turn into moths. On this same site are crafts you can make related to butterflies. I am going to have a clipboard where the kids can make observations on what they eat (apparently caterpillars are picky and will starve to death before they eat something they don't like, I think this will be a good lesson for my extremely picky kids) and draw pictures of their progress. I might invest in an aquarium so they have plenty of room and can be observed better.
I want to do summer school, but I don't want it to seem too schoolish with lots of desk work, etc., I think I will mostly be doing creative projects and activities as much as possible. I'm sure these activities are doable for most of you if you are interested.