Every Thursday Martin goes to the Goose-eye Wilderness School, while Sylvia and her friend Sophia create a Nature Home-school. From wild craft cooking to outdoor games to building projects to tree identification, Nature School will be a year of unfolding learning and fun.
ABOUT THE STORIES
Included in this collection of Stories are 14 stories about Goose-eye Wildnerness school and Nature School in the Spring.
The Perfect Mix
Sylvia and Sofia go next door to the Browns' Farm with eager anticipation of working with the animals or plants. Instead, Mr. Brown wants them to help him make dirt. Make dirt? Mr. Brown explains how dirt is a miraculous combination of Life and Death and is the foundation of everything that happens at the farm.
Parent Note: This story contains a reference to the death of a pet rabbit.
All the Pretty Voices
From the moment Martin got up in the morning, he found himself thinking about voices: how much he enjoyed Helmut's voice and how he sometimes found his sisters voice to be irritating. When he gets to Wilderness School, Eva teaches them another place where they can enjoy all the wonderful voices in nature: in birdsong.
When Sylvia wakes up one morning and smells the oatmeal porridge for breakfast, she wonders, “Why do we always have the same foods for breakfast?" While working on a nature school project of planting kale seeds in egg carton pots, Sylvia and Momma discuss this question and consider the idea that people — as well as garden seedlings — feel tender in the morning and don't want lots of change.
Bugged by Bugs
Martin is inspired by Karl, Daddy's woodsman friend, who does not use bug spray when working in the woods. What's his trick for keeping the bugs at bay? Karl simply ignores them. Martin tries this at Goose-Eye Wilderness School and finds that not being bugged is a lot more challenging than he imagined.
Setting the Table
"Sylvia and Sofia are excited about drawing new spring forest flowers — but when they encounter lots of spring black flies, Daddy suggests they carefully gather some of the forest and bring it back home to draw inside. But what happens next is a surprise to all!"
Measuring the World
When Sylvia declares that she knows everything there is to know about her best friend, Sofia, Momma suggests that she use the scientific method to test her theory. And what is the scientific method? Momma explains that it involves measuring, collecting data and then studying the data. Sylvia and Sofia then learn the difference between using the scientific method on rocks, plants, animals and then… best friends.
Kings and Queens of the Forest
When, in this Martin & Sylvia's Nature School story, "Kings and Queens of the Forest", Martin leaves for Wilderness School, he can't help but feel envious for Sylvia's project with Daddy: preparing for May Day by building a huge bonfire and cooking Beltane Bannock Bread. This has his attention all morning until Eva gives his group an inspiring May Day question: What kind of King or Queen of the Forest do you want to be? And his answer helps Martin understand not only a gift of May Day but of leadership itself.
Mother Earth Art
In this Martin & Sylvia's Nature School story, "Mother Earth Art", while searching for just the right words to write in his Mother’s Day card for Momma, Martin is given several great options from his friends at Wilderness School. The project for that day, however, is not focused so much on their own human mothers, but on the mother we all share: Mother Earth.
Nature School Apprentice
When Goose-eye Wilderness school has a week off for apprentice training, Martin responds unenthusiastically to the idea of participating in Sylvia’s Nature School — that is, until Momma asks if he might be able to be this week’s “Nature School Apprentice,” inspiring him to share his own knowledge with his little sister and Sofia.
After having a recurring bad dream, Sylvia expresses her fear of going to bed at night. Momma has several ideas on how to soothe and prepare her for bed, but it is her friend Sofia who comes up with the most effective way to deal with any fear: making brave salad!
Trusting the Forest
When Martin’s friend Alexander tells him he doesn’t want his father to come to the Goose-eye Wilderness School evening program, Martin is curious: why not? But that evening, Martin can see that Alexander’s father is very protective and nervous. Luckily, Troy, one of the apprentices, has the perfect story to help.
Guardians of the Garden
When Momma wakes up to see that some wild rabbits have eaten her garden greens again, she asks Mr. Brown to teach her some ways to keep the rabbits away. Mr. Brown proposes a workshop not only for Momma, but for Sylvia and Sofia as well. In the workshop, they learn about rabbits, but also imagine what it is like to be a deer, a blackbird, a mole, and Sylvia’s favorite — a porcupine!
Song of the Hermit Thrush - Part One
This is part one of the last day of Goose-eye Wilderness school before Summer Vacation begins. In this part, Martin learns that he will be a part of a new group of children – one formed not by age, but by "who he is." He learns that there is a Mockingbird group, a Hermit thrush group, a Crow group and a Hummingbird group – and when he hears Chick describe them – he thinks that he belongs to them all! Which will be his group?
Song of the Hermit Thrush - Part Two
In Part Two of the Song of the Hermit Thrush, Martin and his group bring their song to the closing ceremony of Goose-eye Wilderness School. He sees the altar that the Hummingbird Clan built, tastes the tea that the Crow Clan concocted, listens to the story that the Mockingbird Clan tells — and then leads the entire group in the closing song. It is a sweet, emotional, and deeply gratifying event — and when he has some time with his Deermice friends, he comes to realize that though he learned a great deal about the natural world throughout the year at Goose-eye, he learned even more about himself.