One of my favorite pass-times with my children when they were little was to spend lots and lots of time outdoors. We would "look for the fingerprints of God." Collecting bugs, worms, butterflies, critters of every kind, flowers and different kinds of leaves and drawing, sleeping out under the stars and trying to figure out what the constellations were--all of these habits are what shaped the souls and minds of my children.
So many of you have asked me to share about some of the things we did when we homeschooled our children. I will be putting up weekly articles about home education--for all moms, whatever educational choice they have made--because all moms are teachers. I asked my friend Kristen, who blogs at Hope With Feathers to share her new resource for Nature Study while I am off this week.
Clay and I have always loved getting outside with our children where they expended lots of energy and got lots of wiggles out, by being outside. When they were young it was wonderful to see how well they learned through the observation of nature. They loved engaging their little minds in making observations and drawing and classifying all sorts of nature life they collected in their own little baskets. Giving them opportunities to discover and explore outside, to be sure they could draw what they found and to have place to collect their treasures, created a great appetite for them to expand their learning..
Here is what Kristen has to share with you:
One of my favorite things about where we live in New York City is that we are right near Central Park. Whenever I long for the mountains of Washington or worry that my own aren't going to have the romping outdoors kind of upbringing that I did, we can walk across the street and envelop ourselves under the treetops, dip our toes in the pond, search for worms or lady bugs and generally get pretty dirty. Nothing feels quite as 'normal' to me as being outside.There is something so beautiful about spending time out of doors together as a family, our imaginations seem to all take off and we each in our own way feel so connected to God and all He has created for us to enjoy- The Earth is full of His glory and we are able to experience him in a different way, see his handiwork and praise him anew.
I have always loved studying and exploring nature with my children, but as wonderful as it is, I think it can be a little mysterious to most moms! In our family, we spend an afternoon a week outdoors with notebooks, watercolors or colored pencils, a field guide, our magnifying glass and a big blanket as our home base. The children all collect treasures that I keep near me in a small basket and they take turns exploring our surroundings and drawing the landscape at large or perhaps a particular plant or animal, rock or shell. We look up what they have discovered in our field guide (We use The Handbook of Nature Study- my favorite!) and look up the name of our finds and some tidbit about it.
Sometimes we go looking for something in particular that we are studying- trees and roots or wildflowers, birds or a type of rock. The wonder of it all really lies in the adventuring together and the beauty of discovery.
Summer is a great time of year to get outside with your own crew! To encourage you, I've put together a Nature Notebook for you full of printables to help you explore.
The Notebook includes:
-Journaling pages and questions to ask about your surroundings
-A June Calendar with beautiful cut-outs to track the weather
-Graphics to study the parts of a flower
-A poem for June, a place for your child to collect June adjectives and create a poem of their very own.
Blessings to you as you journey together outdoors,
And don't forget to enter to win Rachael's book--and think about starting a small group study/dinner/ tea time/group with your daughters and friends. This is what I did for my girls when they were teens and we wanted some summer groups.