Nature Study Link-Up

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Today I’m co-hosting a blog link-party on the topic of studying nature. I’m curious to see what the different bloggers and hosts post about, because I think there are several different ways to study nature. I’ve seen lesson plans that involve more or less adult guidance and all different amounts of supplies. To some people studying nature means worksheets, crafts and experiments. To others it means watching insects and playing outside.

Spring comes and we get lazy about schoolwork here, but we tend to spend a lot of time outside. Then there’s times when we just want to flake out inside, and one of the things we’ll often do is turn to watching youtube videos about whatever we saw outside. From this and from our readings on whatever topics we gain the language to talk in more detail about what we are seeing happen outside. Often at least one of the children will take to drawing pictures, and sometimes a new insect or plant becomes part of an imaginative game of some sort.

Bit by bit over the years I’ve been learning more of the names of the plants that grow wild around us. It is amazing to me how much knowing the name of something makes it so much more visible to me. A few weeks ago another homeschooler pointed out chickweed to me, and now I see it everywhere. It feels to some extent like my street was rewritten – like a minecraft update – to add in this new plant, though I know in truth it would have been there before. What other treasures will I notice later? What slips unnoticed from my eye right now? I know what I should do is work on developing my own observation skills, and encouraging my children on that, so that we can more frequently go from visual notice of something to learning about it, and less frequently the other way around.

One educational treasure is my children’s fort. Their fort is built with of sticks, many of them pillaged from where city staff destroyed a beaver dam, and others from trees trimmed in our yard or gathered in the forest area near our house. The different branches have been leaned against each other and woven in amongst one another to make the framework of a fort. As we’ve worked on it together we take note of how different types of wood bend. We’re waiting too for the cattails to be full grown, and then we plan on harvesting a bunch of cat tail reeds to weave into the fort walls, and so we learn to watch their growth.



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