When Steve and I first walked past our house (it’s just a few blocks from where we lived before), the screen porch (along with the for sale sign) immediately drew our eyes. On the side of the house, it looks out on the woods that adjoin our property. And living in the climate that we do, we can really use it as a room for most of the year.
Around here, though, spring does present some challenges. For those of you who have never lived in this part of the world, the pollen production in the spring is truly a sight to behold. The pine trees produce a thick yellow pollen that covers EVERYTHING. So while the weather is warming up and inviting us onto the porch, we empty it out and cover the furniture with sheets and wait for the worst of it to pass. Even so, the mess is daunting. But once we clear it out, there is a clean slate to play with. It’s usually at this time of year that I do some rearranging or re-thinking of how we use the space, and this year was no exception.
For the first time, I’ve made the point of actually putting supplies out on the porch–pencils and paint and clipboards and the like. The girls naturally spend so much time out there, it’s nice to have stuff at hand. And honestly, it’s the easiest place to clean up a messy art project, so I’m happy for materials to suggest that the porch is the place for painting.
We also have a hammock set up, and that is a favorite spot for reading and writing.
Naturally, it is also a favorite spot for wrangling with your sister, or swinging so high that this mama envisions heads slamming where they shouldn’t. But that hasn’t happened yet.
Of course, it’s downright silly for me to describe any spot as our classroom. We have materials and workplaces spread all through the house, that the favorites change faster than I can rotate the supplies. But on this particular morning, when we had all been surprised by a deer visiting in the yard, and the girls were inspired to write and draw and paint about what they saw, I was a bit overcome with gratitude for this lovely little spot where we get to live and learn together. An outdoor classroom on the edge of the woods sounds almost too idyllic to be true, and here we have it literally right outside our door.