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learning to study nature…

April 9, 2012

After a cold and rainy winter here in Maryland my children and I are in great need of getting outdoors! There is beautiful flexibility in homeschooling that allows us to enjoy being outside in the middle of the day, not just the late afternoon. Some homeschool families simply take their books outside and conduct the day on a blanket. With four children schooling and one three year-old looking for adventure we aren’t quite able to master schooling in the backyard just yet.

Our curriculum, Heart of Dakota(HoD) was created using many methods made popular through Charlotte Mason. Something I haven’t seen covered in HoD that is a large part of the Charlotte Mason method is nature study. I would love to say I am creative and consistent enough to keep my children engaged and on task through my own outdoor lessons, but I’m not, I needed help. I turned to The Outdoor Hour Challenges at Handbook of Nature Study. Today we did the first challenge in the spring book, The Spring Splendor Walk. We walked down our street with observant eyes and listening ears. Each child was armed with the Spring Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt list on their clipboard (this was very helpful to us since this was our first very purposeful nature walk) and explored our street.

We are blessed to live on a street that has a parcel of land that is community property that can’t be built on.

There is a little stream that runs right through it as well. So much to touch, see, and listen to.

We have lots of varieties of pine trees on our block, bad for allergies, good for nature study!

This one was a neat way of observing new growth compared to the older sections.

Lots of blossoming trees.

Though I’ll admit even the weeds started looking pretty (only because I’m not working daily in my garden just yet).

We looked at bagworms who’ve used their silk strands to attach to some of the pine branches and we talked about how strong those strands hold them there.

We even got to meet one of our neighbors who is training a service dog that will soon assist returning veterans who have sustained brain injuries. It was a great walk. They picked up a few blossoms and twigs to observe when we returned home while they completed the notebooking pages.

I’m looking forward to more of these challenges.

How do you incorporate nature study into your school day?



7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2012 11:04 AM

    Welcome to the Spring Series of OHC! Wow…you have a great place to get outdoors and your spring walk yielded lots of interesting things. I have never seen bag worms before…now I will have to do some research. Love the violets!

    Thank you so much for sharing your entry and I look forward to your next challenge.

  2. April 16, 2012 12:32 AM

    Stopping by from the attendee list for the 2:1 conference. Your walk was beautiful! We love salamander hunting, searching out creeks and vernal pools, and watching for the red breasts of cardinals in the snow… See you in a few weeks; looking forward to poking around your blog. Raising Lifelong Learners

    • April 16, 2012 8:49 AM

      Thanks so much for stopping by Colleen. There are hardly any days when every rock in our yard has not been overturned in the hunt for salamanders (my biggest challenge is getting my littles to keep the critters outside)! They’ve even overturned the railroad ties that house my herb garden. We’re working on that. 😉 We’ve just added a bird feeder to the yard in hopes of observing some of our feathered friends a little better. See you in a couple of weeks!

  3. May 10, 2012 12:59 AM

    I love the note booking pages!


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