In gearing up for school next year, I’m trying to line up my nature study resources. Last year, and in previous years, I had good intentions for a nature study, but that was the first thing to fall by the wayside. I really want to make a weekly nature study happen for several reasons:
1) Because it seems like a peaceful, relaxing enjoyable way to learn more about the world God has given us.
2) Because I don’t want the kids to grow up like me and not have a clue what anything is other than dandelions and pine trees. (Oh! And sunflowers. I love sunflowers.)
3) Because I love what Jimmie has to say about nature study being the duty of a Christian homeschooler. Good stuff.
So, this year, I’m taking some steps to ensure that nature study doesn’t fall by the wayside. Our first roadblock seems to be that we live in a subdivision on a relatively small lot with nothing of great interest to study. Now, I know that there is something to be found everywhere, but, really, if we’re not interested, we’re not going to stick with it. So, I am getting us a membership at a local nature park. The membership fee is inexpensive and the park is just down the road from where Josh and Megan take their music classes. We have two hours between their classes this year. That’s plenty of time to eat and take a nature walk.
I was also incredibly blessed to find Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study for only $10 at a used book sale this year. With that, we are going to follow the Outdoor Hour Challenges from the wonderful Handbook of Nature Study blog. Barb, the blog owner, offers weekly challenges designed to get the whole family involved in nature study. She even has notebooking pages that you can print off to use. Maybe nobody will notice us linking up again, for the second year in a row, on the first few challenges.
I also plan to incorporate some of the wonderful ideas that Kimberly shared in her blog post, teaching with nature journals. They also use the Handbook of Nature Study book, so we should be set.
I plan to keep a backpack loaded in the car with all our supplies: sketchbooks, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, field guides and magnifying glass. Can you think of anything else we might need? I’ll probably carry along a camera, but I won’t keep it packed in the car.
So, those are my general plans for nature study this year.
I hope they work for me. Maybe they’ll work for me. They will work for me!
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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.