The big kids' free play near a pond today apparently
made them very affectionate toward one another as we
hiked back toward the car. Go, nature study!
I've been feeling that while most little people in the world have gone back to school in a classroom, we've also gone back to school, but in the school of much masterly inactivity, as well as guided moments and promptings by mom, in the classroom of the great world out of doors.
[ NATURE STUDY, OUT OF DOORS ]
We went hiking in a local nature preserve, and Jedediah
wanted to ask this man if he could help. I had to get the
words out, but Diah then went on to help the man
transplant several potted plants into the ground. We'll
check on them on future walks!
[ Our agenda ] Get out daily.
[ Duration ] For a long time; ideally several hours.
[ Location ] Local parks, nature preserves, and the like. We like to visit new places and return to old places.
[ Resources, 1 ] I basically only bring ...
- Food and drink
- A bag to store collections
- A book for mom to read; Esther chooses to bring her "learning to read" books
— Charlotte Mason
For more excerpts from Charlotte on Nature Study for young children, check out the highlights from her book Home Education.
I do feel that we are living this advice for the current season; it was impossible for our family in the summer, and it may also be impossible in the winter. However, we are loving the current moment of spending several hours a day out of doors.
[ Resources, 2 ] Since we've fallen in love with this new lifestyle, I've decided to get quite serious about it. We've added ...
- A hiking daypack for mom from an REI garage sale.
- A hiking daypack for Esther from the same garage sale. She now "takes responsibility" for the following ...
- First aid pack
- Her own water and milk
- Her own sunflower seeds
- (Still her "learning to read" books)
[ Resources, 3 ] In addition to the books listed in "Our Nature Study of Late," I recently picked up two books from REI, our outdoor adventure outfitter of late! We've begun perusing the books, and I plan to slowly incorporate reading them aloud and practicing the activities with the kids when we're out, and home.
Nature School (Jedediah's choice)
The kiddos and I spent some time in this book tonight and really enjoyed some of the many clever ideas, including hooting out the window to the owls. We didn't receive a response but love the idea we first gleaned in Owl Moon.
One Small Square: Woods (Esther's choice)
I look forward to reading this aloud to the big kids next time we're in the woods this week.
[ Repotting Wild Seedlings ] A couple days ago, the kiddos and I repotted several tree seedlings that had sprouted in our mulch. (Obviously, I didn't do the best job making the mulch thick in the spring.) They now water them daily, and I think we'll try to winter most of them outdoors.
[ At-Home Play ] Good, old-fashioned play in our yard.
[ NATURE STUDY, INDOORS ]
For our indoor nature study supplementation, we have a few little tidbits we're enjoying ...
[ Nature Table(s) ] Jedediah arranged our new and improved nature table, to supplement our first one (which was too crowded). I've been feeling I want to clear every surface in the house for our treasures!
Based on some great ideas in Nature School, I plan to start labeling and better displaying some of our finds.
Magnifying glasses (cheap, second-hand finds).
(Wool from our shedding sheep, I mean rugs!)
Hay. (Leave it to Jedediah to find it!)
Purple coneflower/echinacea flower and seeds.
Wood. The boys always grab it.
Rocks, flowers, and berries ... chicory, too.
Tree leaves, needles, and branches.
Rocks, which the kiddos wanted to paint, flowers (Queen Anne's Lace and Red Clover), and trees (River Birth bark and Juniper).
Finds from a family trip last Spring.
Insects (mostly) ... and mostly indentified, reptiles (snake ... poor thing), and invertibrate (fish spine). We've found most of these critters in our house or around our property.
Acorns! The kiddos, especially Jedediah, love collecting them. Esther prefers to point them out to Jedediah. From her earliest days, I've thought of her in terms of references to Ever After. Yikes! First, as a screaming babe, she was the Spanish princess who didn't want to marry the prince of France. When she's in charge, she's more like the step sister who didn't get to marry the prince. Yikes. May we become more like Jesus.
[ Mosquito Farm ] Come on! You know you want one! How does one acquire one? Scoop up all those squigglies in standing water in your yard! We've gone through a few cycles of larva, pupa, adult, egg, larva, pupa, adult ... etc this summer.
Hundreds of larvae!
A few happy pupas.
[ Ladybug Home ] Photo not available. We have two ladybugs in a jar, and they just need a sugar-water-soaked napkin and aphids. (No water droplets, apparently.)
[ Spider Home ] Similar to the ladybug, I think. We let the happy green thing go after 2 days.
[ Caterpillar Home ] We've watched a few turn into butterflies, but we decided to let the last one go early.
[ Homemade Displays & Montessori "Games" ] I adore Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori, who apparently vehemently disagreed with eachother. They took exceptionally different approaches to the earliest years of life, but I love to glean from the wisdom of each. As such, this little section is thanks to Montessori!
I created all these items after posting that nature study is very simple and these manufactured activities aren't necessary in the early years. I still believe that, but I was inspired to create. If you want any of these e-files, let me know, and I'll e-mail them to you.
|Characteristics game, Montessori style, which I made.|
|The game, completed.|
|Dragonfly life cycle game and display. |
(We have a real nymph Diah found, as well as a real adult, at our nature table.)
|Mosquito display and life cycle game. We've watched the live life cycle|
several times now.
|We have several cicada adults and exoskeletons form molting.|
|Kingdoms of Life display/control chart|
|Kingdoms of Life "game"|
|Kingdoms of Life, individual sheets.|
I also made a couple other "games" and displays on the breakdown of the animal kingdom. Again, let me know if you'd like them.
[ Books, of Course ] In addition to the 2 books pictured above, we have several nature reference books we've purchased new and second-hand, or that we're borrowing from the library. Our favorites are pictured in "Our Nature Study of Late."
Here's a picture of some chicory, which we looked up in our $3 (?) Wildflowers of North America book.
[ Videos, as Rarely as Possible ] Our newest Netflix find, in addition to The Incredible Journey of the Turtle and The Cave of the Yellow Dog, is Sweet Grass about a sheep farm in Montana. It's pretty slow and interesting, but you'll have to shut it off about halfway through to avoid the few cuss words!
The more I read (currently Endangered Minds), the more I am convicted that I should avoid all video as much as possible!!!
[ Binoculars ] We aren't currently using them too often, but we have them and use them to "check out" interesting finds outdoors.
[ IN 6 DAYS THE LORD MADE ... ]
I'm feeling increasingly convicted about "honoring the Sabbath" as a means to teach my children that God made nature ... and all laws of science!
[ Sabbath Party ] It's nothing revolutionary, but we have a "Sabbath party" every Friday night after sundown. The kids love it, and I am turning down all opportunities outside and inside the home that would potentially cancel it.
After our candle lighting during night snack, and possibly scripture reading and chatting about the Sabbath, we have a party where we listen to praise music ... sometimes singing, dancing, playing, or chatting.
They remember the days and that it's the Sabbath better than I do! I think it's part of their inner rhythm of life.
As to "Sabbath keeping," I love this reminder from Romans 14:4-6 that it is before the LORD that we stand or fall ...
"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it ..."
[ 7 Days of Creation Game ] To enforce the beginning of Genesis, we still like to play the 7 Days of Creation Game.
I've updated it with more images and an improved control chart. I hope to update the initial post soon, as it's the most frequently visited one on this blog.
My favorite addition is Esther's tiny drawing for the Sabbath ... two candles.
I love that God put the fact that He created everything in 6 days right in the 10 commandments! It gives me great peace about the questions of macro-evolution, etc. I only pray that my children will believe His word that He is creator. Exodus 20:8-11:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."Thank you, LORD, that we have this beautiful world to enjoy and where we can stand in awe of your amazing Hand.
[ MASON-INSPIRED RESOURCES ]
I don't currently use them, but I know of two great Charlotte Mason-inspired resources:
The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock: When my kiddos are older, we may incorporate this book more often. It's available for free electronically.
Handbook of Nature Study Blog: Home of the Outdoor Challenge Hour and Nature Study for Homeschoolers
Happy Autumn ...