I often use nature to guide us through our learning. I give extra heart to the present season, and I think of how I can bring that season to life in our lessons. Paying close attention to the seasons, offers us insight into our own lives, and the transitions and progressions we face throughout the years. Seasonal activities excite our senses, they bring us boldly into the present, and allow us to experience nature in the form it is destined for within each month. It’s that marriage of nature’s seasons, with literature, that drives many of my homeschool plans. Whether you homeschool or not, I believe that centering ourselves in nature, intentionally savoring the seasons, and bringing the rhythmic, artful, and vibrant perspectives of books into our lives, and the lives of our children, will always bring us closer to each other, closer to ourselves, and closer to the world around us.
So although we are undoubtedly in for a few more warm days here where we live, fall has most certainly arrived. And nothing felt more like an autumn scene straight out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, than going apple picking with my littles. We made it a fun homeschool lesson by first studying the inside, and also the life cycle, of an apple with this lesson, then we went about an hour from home to an organic apple orchard with our sack lunches and baskets in hand. It was the most simple, sweet day, spent with homeschool friends, picking apples and learning from the apple farmer.
We came home with a few baskets full of these beautiful fall treasures, and not wanting to waste any of them, we went straight to work on a big beautiful apple pie.
We read the book, Apple Pie ABC, then went to work creating our best ever pie bursting with juicy cinnamon apples. It was the sweetest afternoon spent in the kitchen alongside my little ones. Daphne worked the pie crust into a “sand consistency,” while Sullivan cut the apples for the pie, and Marigold just supervised and ate. The recipe I used was super simple, easy, and so delicious. I found it in a cookbook I have had for years called “What’s Cooking – Baking” from Love Food.
This is the recipe we used…
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
6 tbsp of butter cut into small pieces ( I used earth balance to make dairy free)
6 tbsp of shortening cut into small pieces ( I used organic vegetable shortening)
6 tbsp of cold water
Combine the flour, salt, butter, and shortening with your fingertips until you achieve a sand like consistency. Add the cold water and gently bring the dough together into a ball, wrap, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes while you slice the apples. After chilled for 30 minutes, separate and roll our a little less than 2/3 of the dough on a floured surface. Line your pie dish with that piece of dough and cut the access.
Enough apples to fill a 9 inch pie dish, peeled, cored, and sliced
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Fill the pie crust that lines that dish. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top. Beat one egg with a splash of water and brush a bit around the edge of the dough between the top and bottom layers, then pinch around the edges to seal. Decorate the top with spare dough and cut a few slits on top. Brush the top with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Decrease temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
It was truly one of the best days. The apple picking itself was so much fun, but back at home in a messy kitchen filled with flour and apple peels, my kids huddled around as music played in the background… it was just the sweetest day, well spent. Learning alongside our children, exploring by their side, connecting through enjoying the treasures of the seasons, simple joys that well up in our hearts like oceans.
To learn more about connecting with your loved ones through seasonal activities and cultivating their innate wonder, I included an audio article on these subjects in this month’s nurture bundle… join the nurture community today!