Outdoor Hour Challenge, Week 1

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This week began the “official” activities for the casual co-op that we’re doing with some friends this year. The plan is to begin each session with “tea time,” followed by an alternating schedule of either an artist or composer study, a weekly art lesson and a nature study.

The mom who did the composer study did a fabulous job (and I tried to convince her she should be the official teacher, since I’m supposed to present the artist next week!). She did an introduction of the orchestra and what a composer does. She had each of the kids bring an musical instrument of some sort. After listening to the sounds of each instrument, she had the kids play all their instruments at the same time, you know, like an orchestra does.

The kids quickly decided that a very important part of a composer’s job is making sure that the instruments all work together so that they produce a pleasing sound!

The next part was the art lesson, which was also done very well. I found it very interesting to see how differently all the kids worked. The younger kids did really well, I thought. Even if their drawings weren’t exact representations, you could tell what they were going for. And, I wasn’t surprised that the older girls did well. What did impress me was how well the boys, ages 7, 8 and 9, did with their drawings. They really took their time and seemed to enjoy the lesson. I was telling one of the moms that I think they’re all at the age where they’re starting to draw on their own, so this is right up their alley.

Our final activity was a nature walk. We’re doing the weekly outdoor hour challenges from the Handbook of Nature Study blog, starting with Week 1 and working our way through. The first assignment was to take a nature walk wherever you live, so we walked around the neighborhood of the hosting mom’s house. Then, we came back to her yard and looked around there a bit. It was really neat to focus on the natural world that we so often tend to overlook. I got some nice pictures and only got fussed at once by a lady who thought I was taking a picture of her mailbox. Here’s the top of the cactus plant that I was actually photographing:

And, some mushrooms growing in the yard:


And, some sort of bug that we may get industrious and try to identify:

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  1. Sounds like a great co-op!
    I have just started the nature walks to- it is very exciting! What was the neighbor with the mailbox thinking??


  2. A great co-op, indeed! Welcome to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. It’s always nice to meet to friends. 🙂
    I think that insect might be a beetle pupa?

  3. That is funny about your neighbor. I have never had anyone get huffy at me and we even pick flowers sometimes. We have actually gotten to know so many of our neighbors just because we are always walking about and stopping and looking at things. People love to tell us about their flowers. This also saves me from having to try to identify them sometimes.

    I hope you enjoy the outdoor hour challenges I know my kids and I are learning so much!

  4. I’m glad you are joining in on the Outdoor Challenges! We have had so much fun and learned so much with them. Now that it’s a new (and cooler) season I am really excited about them. 🙂

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