Our First Nature Study of the Year

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Out in this, God’s beautiful world, there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds, with duty and care. To the teacher who turns to nature’s healing, nature study in the schoolroom is not a trouble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air…”  – Anna Botsford Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study

And, with that hope, so began our nature study for the year.  You may recall that I had a plan for nature study this year — for making sure that we did it and didn’t let it fall by the wayside.  Well, today was the first day of Josh and Megan’s music class.  There are two hours between their classes, so, as soon as Megan’s class was over, we went to eat, then, we headed over to join the nearby nature center.

Joining was a fun experience, in and of itself.  The lady who runs the visitor’s center was extremely nice and immediately pegged us as homeschoolers (three school-aged kids, out with their mom in the middle of the day, joining a nature center…I don’t know how she guessed).  Once I mentioned our plans to come out there weekly, with our sketch pads, she pulled me out the door to show me a great spot to sketch, if were were studying perspective.

Then, she brought me back in and pulled out a map, showing me the best place to go to see a variety of flowers in the spring, the perfect spot for learning about water quality or looking for tadpoles, and the location of a unique tree for which she also had a fact sheet and a poem.

I think I’m going to like this lady.  She was really friendly and appears to a be a wonderful source of information.

After signing up and chatting awhile, we really didn’t have much time to sketch, but we did wander around the trails to try to get a feel for what will be available to us there.  The kids loved it as much as they loved the nature walk we went on earlier this spring.  They were begging to come back after Josh’s music class was over, but we had things to do at home (not the least of which, for me, was finishing Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series) and I want to keep our trips to the nature park unique so that it remains something that they look forward to.

We did have fun today, though, exploring the trails:

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Finding some really fascinating “decomposers”:

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Checking out the beautiful scenery by the creek:


And, discovering the place that the kids want to go to first next time:


We’re all looking forward to next week’s nature study!

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I love doing the outdoors teaching. I am trying to get in as much as I can before the winter comes and shoves us indoors. LOl. I have several outings to the apple orchard coming up I cant wait for some fun there as well. Looks like you all had a blast. Have a great day.

  2. You are all going to have such a wonderful time with your nature study. We are planning to start ours formally in the spring, but I love to take the kids on the trails now. I used to be that lady at the nature center. I spent a year as a naturalist intern in college and then worked as one for a short time after that. I loved to take kids out on the trails and point out fabulous things God has made. My own kids don't seem as excited as I am. Hopefully, they will find something out there that really interests them and will get excited.

  3. We "found" our local nature center last year, isn't it fun to have such a great resource so close? Ours has great trails, a creek, bird area, etc., it is such a great place to sketch and study year round. Thanks so much for reminding me of this valuable resource and good luck with you nature study this year, it sounds like you're off to a great start.

  4. This looks like a fantastic plan–very doable!

    Being out in nature more will not only benefit your children, but you as well. I always feel so much calmer in the evenings on days that we've spent some time outdoors in a natural environment. 🙂

  5. I am loving this! Seriously, I'm trying to justify how we could leave the house on Wednesday's and meet you there!

    Can't wait to see how this goes!

    Btw, how much was the membership?

  6. Sounds like a great place and how nice that the employee was so helpful and had so many resources. I love it when people are enthusiastic about helping us homeschoolers… makes me feel not-so-weird and sorta socialized. 🙂

  7. I love that quote! How neat that you have a nature center near by. If your kids are enthusiastic it will be easy to stick with it this year.

    My kids love nature study above all else, and it's now at the point where the older ones are usually teaching me, instead of the other way around! I enjoyed your lovely photos — looks like a wonderful place to enjoy God's creation.

  8. Oh for pete's sake! We have a community/nature building nearby. Why has it NEVER occurred to me to go sign up?? LOL I'll add that to my to-do list 🙂

    ((HUGS)) Those hugs are for the sadness you'll feel when you don't have Twilight to read anymore 🙂

  9. Sounds like an awesome center! I don't think we have one like that ~ although we do have a "discovery center" focused around the Oil Sands …we need to make another trip there, have only been the once, back in the Fall – and just Cindy came that time, I want to take Christopher there. 🙂

    Love the creek!

  10. I love it! We must think alike, I just posted ours also. We have never done it this way, but tonight was just a lot of fun for all.

    I love all the pictures you took, what a beautiful area!!

  11. I was going to tell you in on your mushroom entry but I forgot that my kids call me the "Fungus Lady". They know that I am fascinated with anything like a mushroom, slime mold, lichen, or anything else that is usually considered ugly. I find them quite beautiful and I was interested in looking at your morel photo. We have not found any in our area so it is one thing that I would someday like to see in person.

    Thanks for sharing your link. I love seeing what everyone is doing for nature study. It encourages me. 🙂

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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