Friday, September 13, 2013

For love of the outside

A big part of educating the Charlotte Mason style is putting a strong emphasis on nature as part of educating and developing the child.  She suggests that students spend ample amount of time observing and being a part of nature.  A really great article here can tell you about the benefits of nature studies.  But the gist of it is that lays a foundation for science and makes it interesting; it cultivates curiosity and investigation and the ability to understand in abstract ways; and it basically gives children a view of how much God loves is and teaches them to worship Him over the small (but oh, so big) blessings in nature. That's just a few reasons but enough to get me so on board with it.  It's really an idea that we have always practiced in a way because since before the kids were walking, we have always spent a lot of time outdoors, collecting acorns, picnicking, watching the clouds.  So this is such a natural extension of that.  

 We have only had two weeks of official nature walks/journaling but what joy we have found in it already.  The kids each have their own nature pack which is a bag that has all the "gear" they may need on the walk: a journal and colored pencils, a ruler, tape, flashlight, some ziplock bags, binoculars, and magnifying glass.  We are still new so there may be some things we will want to add to their packs.  We have a guide we are following that had us doing certain things.  Last week we looked at earthworms, mushrooms and ants.  This week, we collected leaf litter and soil samples that we put in a jar of water to see the soil separate from into layers.  Hazel drew a picture of an ant she found in her leaf litter, along with some twigs and leaves.  Adler drew a soil mite we found hiding under a leaf.  My sister, Shannon, suggested I start my own nature journal as well, which I intend to do next week (I am sort of mad at her for coming up with all the good ideas.  She always does  that:/).

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