I’ve been re-vamping our method of home education as of late. All summer I thought I knew what I wanted to do until I read a Charlotte Mason book. Her style of “gentle learning” using Living Books and Nature Study inspired me. Since then I’ve been obsessed with the researching bug. Too obsessed actually. I’ve gotten myself a little frazzled, but that’s for another post.
During my research travels I happened upon a blog called Handbook of Nature Study which is based on the book by the same name. The blog author, Barb, has designed a series of outdoor challenges that I decided to undertake with the children this year.
The first challenge was simply to “spend 10-15 minutes outdoors with your children” and to “enjoy being outdoors“. Then when we returned we were to discuss something that interested them during the walk and then, perhaps, investigate it further during the week.
This will be snap, I thought. We enjoy the outdoors together all of the time. We could do one of these challenges everyday, I thought, instead of the once per week she suggested. We did enjoy the walk immensely; the difficulty came when we returned.
First of all, we went way longer then 15 minutes. I decided we’d walk to a nearby path system in our subdivision. We had a splendid time. The children were excitedly finding and collecting several things. I had told them they only needed to find one or two items to study further, but they didn’t want to stop there.
J was excited from the get-go.
I was concerned that R wouldn’t be interested but he was most enthusiastic to find specimens.
We were a little tired when we returned home so I decided to make lunch and while they were eating, I busied myself with various guides and the computer identifying items from the photos I took. Now bear with me. I am a complete newby when it comes to nature identification. I love walking in nature but have never been able to identify much beyond a dandelion.
Is this a Rose Hip?
Ladybug…of course. 🙂
Gray Squirrel (I had to include this little guy – our yard is filled with them)
We loved the walk and I really enjoyed figuring out what each thing was that I photographed. I wanted to share that with the kids. I tried to lure them over to identify the stuff they brought home, but they were more interested in playing. It turns out for R that he was more into the collecting then the studying. And, unfortunately, I got miffed. 😦 I was annoyed because this was technically a “school” project. Sigh. In the end, I let it go. And I remembered Barb’s words: “You have a whole week to spend some time looking it up.” Now I got it. It’s supposed to be fun…leisurely…enjoyable. Not a job. So, why was I turning it into that? It’s definitely something I need to work on. And I will.
I hope I haven’t totally turned the kids off this project. We will take this week entire week before we move on. lol Or at least until Monday.