Forest School at Home // North: Self Sufficiency

May 11, 2020

The North is self sufficiency; the calm, flexible wisdom commonly seen from a seasoned elder. It is about adapting to the flow of life instead of futilely struggling against it. It is that old saying of “go with the flow”. Self Sufficiency also means assessing problems and practicing survival skills. Over time, people who practice self sufficiency will discover themselves trusting more in the process, in the moment, and in their own ingenuity and creativity rather than spending hours worrying and planning.

The North is about people becoming more comfortable with change and much more confident in their abilities to maneuver through seemingly tough situations, those “dark winters” of life seem more inviting. This profound and gentle force of the North inspires true leadership of the Elder: piercing the future with a powerful vision for real hope that comes from the knowledge we can and will do whatever is necessary to make it through.

Activity: I Wonder

This week we’ll again return to our sit spots. WIth our senses keen, we will engage our owl eyes – focused on the periphery and looking just outside our regular field of vision. There we will spot it! Is it the lone purple flower lurking in the tall grass? Is it the yellow and black spotted beetle that landed on your shoulder? Your brain begins to wonder: “I wonder what type of bug that is?” “I wonder what that plant can be used for?”. Now is the time to pick up our guides and find out for ourselves!

Age: All ages

Time: Open- ended

Materials: Your owl eyes and field guides (print or digital) for research. The help of a curious adult, as needed.

Skills: Quiet Mind, Listening, Expanding our Senses, Inquisitive mind, Observation, Wondering, Problem Solving

How To:

  • Inspire

From your sit spot, find a plant or animal whose name you don’t know. It can be something new or something you have seen before and wondered about. You have lots of options for how you can begin your plant or animal identification. Would you like to take a picture of it to research at a later time? Would you like to sketch or paint it in your nature journal so you can really focus on the details? Would you like to bring your field guides or books to your sit spot?

Once you identify your plant or bug by name, head out on a search for a second one and take note of what is similar (and different) about the first and second specimen. Ask more questions that begin with “I wonder…” like “I wonder why both of these flowers were found under a tree?” or “I wonder why I only see this little bug in the morning?”. The questions you answer will lead to more questions.

  • Story of the Day

Gather and share, monitor and report. What did you learn? Were there any species that were similar? How did you know which one you were looking at? Were you able to find more or was the first one the only one?

  • Why It’s Great-

Looking out at a sea of plants and animals that we don’t know the name of can be overwhelming. Every great naturalist started with just one plant or animal.

During our ZOOM call on Tuesday 5/19, we’ll create another Sharing Circle, pass around our imaginary talking stick and will each have the opportunity to tell us about our naturalist adventure and what was discovered.

As always, these activities are mere suggestions to help you and your little’s connect more with yourself, each other and with nature. They are by no means, prescribed, as nothing in Forest School ever will be. Like nature, we are here to support you, as you nourish you and your family’s mind, body and soul.

You’ve got this and we’ve got this!