Saturday, February 26, 2011

Outdoor Hour: Nature Study

The Outdoor Hour Blog

One of my favorite things about homeschooling (I had many) was learning about nature study and being a naturalist. It was a life changing discovery of a hobby that would last my whole life. The kids loved it too and now it's a part of us, a special bond that we share.

My mother has naturalist tendencies, it was her and my maternal grandmother that would make me stop and listen and watch the birds. Birds were a shared passion between the two of them and I remember letters that my grandmother would write to me as a child (10-12) where she would talk about the birds in her yard and their impact on her life. My maternal grandmother died of stomach cancer when I was 12 and those letters are very precious to me.

To see previous nature study/walks I've done with Danny and Camille, click here to visit our homeschooling blog, Trivium Academy. The kids and I have done other nature walks that I didn't post about. We have a few shelves of Peterson field guides, both the smaller ones and the larger ones.

I want to start nature study again in our home. It is becoming spring here with 70 degree weather and I have Spring Fever. Nature walks are very healing and grounding. The quiet loudness of the woods relaxes me in ways I cannot explain. It thrills me to be observant with the kids and watch their excitement as they discover things they would usually just pass by. It is so satisfying to me to hear the kids ask questions and want to know why this flower has so many petals vs. that flower or to identify different palm trees based on their appearance. We love animal tracks.

Handbook of Nature Study Barb started The Outdoor Hour Challenges back in 2008 when I was homeschooling and although at the time we were doing our own nature study, I loved her idea! She incorporated nature journaling with nature study and made it easy for parents to do with their kids and took all the thinking out of it. I love that she used The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. We have the book in our home library but it is available for free online, click here.

I'm excited to restart our nature studies, our FAMILY nature studies with Caitlyn, Hannah, Michael, Camille, Danny and myself. I'm off to start with the The Outdoor Hour Challenge #1...

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To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.


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