Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunflower Surprise

About 2 months ago, we noticed a small group of seedlings poking through our barren front flower bed. We haven't planted a thing there as we are preparing to paint the house and any young plant would just get trampled.
So these seedlings were a surprise. We decided to let them grow and see what they would become.
They quickly grew taller. And taller. The boys would measure them each day, noting which ones were growing fastest. It was very exciting. The day one of the plants surpassed James was a big day.
We still weren't sure what our surprise plants were going to be. They didn't seem like weeds anymore. They had flower buds waiting to open and they were tall.
Granny guessed sunflowers and she was right.
Soon we were looking out our front window to this:
The kids were beyond excited. Especially William. Yellow is his favorite color and therefore sunflowers are one of his favorite flowers. It was magical to have them appear in our front yard without our knowing where they came from.
Birds like to perch on them, so the boys are quite certain they were a gift to us from our bird friends.
They are beautiful.
And different. This one is the biggest.
This is another variety.
And there is still another with thin, bright yellow petals that stand apart from one another.
Even the blossoms were different.
As the weeks have passed, we have watched our sunflowers change from blossom to full bloom. Now many of them are starting to lose their petals and our biggest flower is even drooping his heavy head.
His petals are withering, becoming curled and brown before they fall softly to the ground.
We are sad to see him go so soon.
But, the sunflower surprise continues!
For hiding there amongst the dry and withered petals are these:
Row upon row of beautiful sunflower seeds!
James noticed them just the other day and he called to William and I with a shout,
"Mommy, William, come quick! Look at our sunflower! It's covered in seeds!"
What excitement, joy and great pleasure these simple flowers have brought us. From tiny seeds, scattered by birds, the wind, a husband who won't admit it, friends, neighbors who tire of our empty flower beds, I really don't know. But however they got there, they have taught us a great many lessons.

We have learned to take joy in simple things. We have learned the pleasure of waiting. We have become friends with our sunflowers and learned to see their differences. We have learned to look closely. We have learned there is life, even in death.

I have said before that the world is our classroom. This is yet another example of the truth in that statement. I did not have to plan a unit study around this. We didn't read, write and repeat the life cycle of the sunflower. We didn't check out books from the library.
We just watched our sunflowers grow.
We enjoyed them.
I would dare say we loved them.
Growing things provide us so much pleasure. God knew that when He created this world. That is why He said, "It is good."

I am learning that many times the best lessons are not the ones that I plan. They are the ones that just happen. And then we sit up and take notice.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." Charlotte Mason

What have you learned from the world around you? I'd love to hear.
Love from,


Kristine said...

Ah, the sweet anticipation of wonder. How exciting to watch your sunflowers unfold.
Isn't it amazing that a curriculum didn't tell you to plant the seed, measure it, compare it, explain how seeds are carried? And yet you discovered all that on your own with a natural wonder and curiosity all your own. Sunflower surprise indeed.
Your tall one may have been a Russian sunflower. We've planted those. Their size alone invokes wonder.
Did you get to see them turn toward the sun? In France there were field of sunflowers all facing one way in the morning, and when we'd return later, they were all turned the other. I think God made them to help us smile. :)

Anonymous said...

I really love that quote. REALLY love it.

Jennifer Lavender said...

How neat. I would love to have surprise flowers pop up outside my living room window.

Jamie said...

Lovely! We had a few "volunteer" sunflowers a couple of years ago, thanks to the birds in our yard. :)

Amy in Peru said...

that is true learning... that prompted from the heart... oh so precious gift! I'm so happy for you and the boys! hooray! it is SO fun that your boys really connected with their learning. they will probably never ever forget it. sweet.
In Spanish the sunflower is called 'mirasol' which means sun looker... I love Kristine's reference to the field of sun lookers! ;)

amy in peru