Friday, August 27, 2010

Kicking off our Botany Studies

Our middle two students are studying Botany with Apologia materials this year, or at least the first half of this year.  My goal is to complete it by January but we'll see how it goes.  It's a bit of a challenge to study Botany North of the 40th parallel in the fall/winter.

But to get the year off to a great start, we visited the Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA yesterday. I had gotten half-price tickets for adults on back in July that had to be used this month, by the way, so that's a site I now keep my eye on.  Or at least I will as long as we are living in or visiting PA periodically.  But I digress.  The Gardens are little less than an hour away and traffic was agreeable, so we made it there at about 9:30a.m., watched the little introductory movie, and off we went.  I had downloaded and printed a project on pollination for two of the kids, and one on field journaling for the oldest.  Someone made fun of me for this, just because I got the idea from eavesdropping on someone when we were at the National Zoo in DC last Spring.  But I'm glad I did, because the project gave us a sense of purpose and slowed down our progress enough to get the kids to digest what they were seeing a little instead of rushing through.  For pollination, they had to find three "perfect flowers" in each of four areas in the garden.  (That's a flower with both pollen-bearing anthers and a female stigma, FYI).  Like this one:

That's why we had nerds walking around the gardens with clipboards- and nerd is a compliment in our family, so don't get all upset on behalf of my children, please.  :-)

I really think there's no better way to describe a garden than to take some good pictures.  We also tracked pollinators, and since the child here has the middle name Butterfly, we photographed a few of those. 
I love this one, because it looks so cooperative and quintessentially homeschooley:  the plants are Neptuna or (something like that) and they live on the pond.  They react to touch by closing up on appearing to wilt.  They'd seen this before at their cousins' house, but not in a huge carpet like that.  They also had platters- lily-pad like plants that can grow up to 7ft in diameter and can hold about 100 pounds!

Here's one of my favorites, just because of it's name:  Old Man Cactus.  Genius!  Looking a little frazzled there, Gramps!
Here's one for my fellow TOG Year 1 users:  Papyrus!

And one for Aunt Julie.   All of the bonsai were at least as old as me, and there were some about 100 years old.  I never knew! 

I could probably share dozens more, but I'll just say that it was a beautiful day, a great trip, and a wonderful start to our school year.  I'm glad I got this one in before we leave town again, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone, schooling or not. 

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures! I don't suppose they let kids ride the lily pads?