Monday, March 20, 2017

Simple Nature Study in the Homeschool

Warren said it best today:

I saw my first Red-winged Blackbird, the melt is in full swing, and the herbicide sales rep called today.  It must be the first day of Spring.
As part of the agricultural world, we are very attune to the changing of seasons.  Each season brings its own type of work.

I enjoy pointing out signs of the changing seasons to the kids.  When they're young every little change outside is so exciting and they're so eager to listen and learn, but as they grow older and develop other interests sometimes they become blinded to all the intricacies if the changing seasons.

I think it's so important that children become and stay aware of the natural world around them.  In our fast paced lives and with nearly unlimited access to screens, it's easy to take our eyes off the slower paced natural world.

One book I've used over and over for nature study is The Beginning Naturalist:  Weekly Encounters with the Natural World.  With 52 very short chapters following the seasons, this book introduces the reader to the seasons, including:  midwinter to mudtime, spring into summer, summer, and fall and winter again.

None of my kids have read this cover to cover in order, however, I assign chapters based on the time of year.  For example, now would be a great time to read "Pussy Willows" and "Redpolls".  After reading, they narrate the chapter to me.  This way I can add any unusual sightings or experiences I've had.

Sam started this book last spring, in 5th grade, and just now finished it.  I typically assign 1-2 chapters per week, aiming at having them read ahead a little so they are ready for whatever nature encounters are to come.

You might like

*contains affiliate links - if you click through and make a purchase (any purchase) I receive a small commission.  Thank you.