Good morning!


We don’t need boots! Bare feet will do the job this morning. And look who’s waiting to greet us today . . . a beautiful praying mantis.He’s hunting for his breakfast – I think he’ll find it soon.¬†(Look over your left shoulder, Mr. Mantis . . . )

IMG_7415IMG_7531.jpgLater, we see him climb right out of his skin – look what he left behind! This provokes a hundred questions . . . life cycles, anyone?


All we needed was our own back yard, our own bare feet, and some life cycle models we already had for our Boots & Roots studies~ (I order them from Amazon here:

Image result for safari life cycle models praying mantis

More from the Berry Patch . . .

berries berry blackberry branchI continue to ponder the wisdom made visible by a visit to the berry patch.

For example: Berry picking is an endeavor defined by realities external to oneself. The success of the venture depends on one’s ability to cooperate with those realities, and to ask important questions such as: Is it ripe? Can I reach it? Is that buzzing sound coming from a Japanese beetle, or a wasp?

The berry patch cares not a bit about our dreams, our desires, our motivations. It offers a bounty, but on its own terms.

The berry patch does not reward impulsivity, unless you count “reward” in impressive scratches and battle scars. The berry goes not to the swift, but to the careful strategist.

Attentiveness yields berries in the bucket. Where one child runs past, not noticing, another spots the elusive ripe blackberry dangling under a shaded branch.


Sometimes the smallest berry is the sweetest.

If you have the right tool, you can get more berries (i.e. a stick for holding back brambles or pulling a branch a bit closer – we call it a Berry Stick!)

Berry Greed happens when one tries to pluck three berries at once. The outcomes usually include: dropped berries, outrage, entanglement and tears.

Combining the fruits of our labors = PIE!

We’re Back to the Berry Patch!

A year ago, our legs were short, our boots were small, and we were too little to bake a pie!

But not THIS year! This year, we’re back to the berry patch to marvel at the bounty God has given us (and the birds :-). This year, we put more in the buckets than we put in our mouths. This year, we didn’t get tangled in brambles – not once! – because berry picking two summers in a row has taught us to “observe before entering” – to make a plan before grabbing at that big, ripe berry – to note the presence of wasps (they like berry juice, too) – to recognize the poison ivy – and, yes, indeed, to dodge the prickers.


We have other skills this year, as well. We can write up a recipe, and we can follow it. We can cut in shortening and stir hot berry filling without getting burned. We can whip the cream, we can cut the pie, we can serve it up and we can eat TWO PIECES easily. Especially if we whip up a little more cream ūüôā

Welcome back to the Blessings of summer!

Welcome back to the Berry Patch!



Out of School and into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

Now HERE is a book to inspire us!

As schools and home schools begin to close up shop for the summer, the story of Anna Comstock takes us out into the “school” of nature. Famous for her guide to plants and animals, with educators in mind, Anna began early in her childhood to cherish immersion in “experiential learning” of what used to be called “Natural History” – nature study!

Boots & Rootsers:

When you pull on those boots, grab little hands, and GO you discover what Anna discovered: children respond to the plants, animals, bugs, air, dirt and water that God provides for their blessing and His glory! Children grow in their ability to pay attention. They are calmed by the play of breeze on their skin, and the flow of cool water as they plunge their fingers into the running creek. They are invited into the best and biggest playground of all: God’s beautiful world! Whether learning the songs of a few local birds, or tasting a dandelion leaf (packed FULL of Vitamin A, by the way!) or finding the cast-off skin of a praying mantis, or harvesting blueberries, or observing the activity of ants – children NEED nature – and nature NEEDS children! Children who delight in her gifts, and grow up to love her, care for her, and cultivate her as God calls them to do.

Ready? Set? GO! Have fun . . . ūüôā

Don’t Waste the MUD!


Boots & Rootsers! Yes . . . it’s still chilly. Yes . . . the March wind is blustery. But get on out there – Don’t waste the MUD! Pull on those boots. Gear up for wind. Grab those shovels – grab those pails – We’ve got MUDWORK to do!

Need some inspiration? Try these . . .

[in Just-]

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
balloonMan          whistles
 **Or how about singing this to the tune of Five Little Ducks?

5 Little Pigs

5 little piggies rolled in the mud, (hold up 5 fingers )

Squi-shy, squa-shy it felt good (roll hands around each other)

The farmer took one piggy out, (wave one thumb over your shoulder)

Oink, oink, oink! that piggy did shout! (open and close fingers and thumbs on oinks)

(repeat the verse counting down from 4 ‚Äď 0) ¬†

No little piggies rolled in the mud, (hold out hands to gesture none)

They all looked so clean and good, (frame face with hands and smile virtuously)

The farmer turned his back and then, (wag finger in warning)

Those piggies rolled in the mud again! (wave arms around madly!!)

(Thanks to Sara Mullet and her Let’s Play Music blog!)



Thank you, Moms On Call!

sea boat ship high dynamic range

Photo by Skitterphoto on

Authors Laura Hunter and Jennifer Walker of “Moms on Call” liken our task of leading children (and creating a secure atmosphere for them) to traveling on a cruise ship:

                  I want to be free to enjoy the ride and take advantage of all the fun activities,                      but I cannot do that if I am the one in charge of steering, mapping out the                              route, navigating the storm or deciding which way to turn every four minutes.                    I want a captain to do that so I do not have to worry about it. I want to have                          someone dependable, that I trust to be taking care of all that; someone who                         has been on the water before and knows the ship inside and out. That is what                     the [child] wants. Steer the ship so they can enjoy the ride!

Redemptive Educators know that one of the best gifts they can give to the children they lead is the security that comes from knowing “My teacher is in charge” or “My mom will take of ‘all that'” or “The grown-ups in my life are ‘steering the ship’ – all I have to do is go with the flow and I’ll have a great time on ‘the cruise’!”

There’s only so much time and energy in a given day. Don’t let most of that time and energy go – EVERYDAY! – to tussles about getting into car seats, or long drawn-out persuasions about eating peas, or negotiating naps, or bribery for basic courtesy. Daily patterns, tasks, and necessities are worth teaching explicitly and supporting consistently.¬† How get ready to go outdoors – Job One:potty-break – Job Two: water bottles – Job Three:coats/mittens/boots, then wait-for-me-on-the-front-steps.

It is worth you time (and theirs) to teach the process, the sequence, and what makes for “success” – and to KEEP training for that – to KEEP consistent in your requirement of it – and then: Have fun! Get out there and stomp in some puddles!

Teach kids that “Good things happen to Listeners!” Call out: “Wow – there goes a Listener! Susie got right down to business getting her boots on! Thank you, Susie! Freddy’s already got his mittens on! Wowzer!”¬† Soon, you’ll have children running to do “Job One” and “Job Two,” responding swiftly to your calls-to-action, and thriving in the atmosphere of fun and celebration that focuses on the adventure ahead, NOT on power struggles over potty-breaks.

If you have a laggard, ask the child: What’s your job? Then either affirm her answer and say, “YES! Can you do it? Great! GO!” (or just give her a smile and a thumbs-up) OR restate the Job exactly as you did the first time: “Job One: potty break . . .” etc.

Steer the ship, folks. You’ve got a lot of passengers on the cruise ship and you’re trying to get them places!¬†

Just Like Georgia . . .

. . . O’Keefe, that is! Students at Geneva School of Manhattan studied the gorgeous works of Georgia O’Keefe and created their own tissue paper renditions of flowers, “close up and personal,” as per the artist’s style. Noticing the details that God thought to include as He planned and produced each blossom: color, shape, shading, placement of each petal – these young artists are seeing something of the Designer behind the design – His apparent delight in diversity, His attention to variety within order. Redemptive Educators invite their students to NOTICE – to pay attention – to capture, and in capturing, to so honor the Creator as well as His creation!



It’s for ME, Mamie!

white clouds and blue sky

It was evening. I was setting the table for supper, when suddenly my little granddaughter yelled, “Mamie! LOOK!” I turned to see what she was pointing at out the window, and there it was: the most glorious sunset! I said, “OH – look what the Lord made for us!” but she said, “He made it for ME, Mamie! He made it for ME! He KNOWS I like pink and purple best!!”

I believe she was right about that.

The heavens are telling the glory of God Рtheir expanse is declaring the work of His hands! Psalm 19:1 

Show me the Sassafras!


“Can you find it? Yes! That one IS a sassafras!

But how did you know? Can you show me?”

Little hands form the three shapes of the sassafras: plain, “mitten,” and three-lobed.

When the Boots & Rootsers are out and about, they can tell you things: the creek is high; the leaves are dropping; a deer has been here; a rabbit has been there . . .

And they can find you things: three kinds of pine trees; a pebble that looks like a letter of the alphabet; a spiral in a spider web or in the shell of the snail . . .

But they can also¬†show you things! And they do love to show you things: their own¬† shrugging shoulders to show you the shrugging “shoulders” of the gum tree; their uplifted arms to show you the uplifted “arms” of the cedar; their fingers and hands to show you three kinds of leaves on the sassafras tree . . .

Let the children use their voices to tell you things – their eyes to find you things – and their bodies to show you things! Three kinds of knowing, of “telling,” of communicating – from the whole child!



It’s all out there!

orange flower with butterfly

Photo by Pixabay on

We’re out and about: boots on – eyes and ears open – God’s beautiful creation all around us. That’s all we need for a Boots & Roots lesson!

It’s all out there, folks. Math, art, music, reading, writing, physics and, of course, PE!

There’s the study of symmetry in every butterfly, beetle and leaf.

. . . of geology in each pebble, boulder and rock.

. . . of phonemic awareness in finding the things that start with an “s” – stick, stone, snake, sun, spider and stream.

. . . of democracy when “the team” votes for whether to go upstream or down.

. . . of velocity when “racing” leaf-boats in the creek.

. . . of pattern when using three shapes of sassafras leaves laid out in sequence: no lobe, one lobe, two lobes – no lobe, one lobe, two lobes.

. . . of descriptive language for the taste of blackberries, the “poke” of their prickers, the color of our fingers after we’ve picked.

. . . of scriptures affirming that all that is in the heavens and the earth is His!

It’s all out there: GOD’s “curriculum”! Go enjoy it with your Boots & Rootsers!