Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nature Study

Well, we just returned home from our first successful Nature Study Group outings! Yeah! It was SO much fun. Charlotte Mason strongly encouraged nature study. She wanted the children to learn to observe nature and really see what was around them. She wanted them to form relationships with nature. It has been said that nature can be a friend to us in such a way that we can never feel alone if we've developed a relationship with the world around this. I believe this is true because you can't truly see the world around you and not be reminded of our great God! He reveals himself to us in so many ways through His creation. There is so much to see and discover about God through nature. I could go on and on about this, but I won't right now because soon I need to go and make lunch for my little clan. I wanted to form a group though because I need help getting myself away from these four walls and out into nature on a regular basis even though I know how much I need the "re-creation" God gives us through being in His creation.

We met on the river walk this morning. The kids immediately began a game of "Pooh Sticks". If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, you've never read or watched Winnie the Pooh. :) anyway the began collecting sticks, throwing them off one side of the bridge and watching them come out the other side, seeing which would come first and watching where it would be carried off to. For the sake of formality, I had a plan to start the group with prayer and a Bible verse, but the kids didn't need to be instructed of what to do in any way. Nature study is natural to them. We had such a delightful time. What a joy it was to watch them run along the river path exploring and playing together. They had so much fun and only interrupted their exuberant play to show us or tell us about some amazing discovery that they made.

I tried to not interrupt them too much, except with an occasional gentle directing towards something neat that I had discovered or with a necessary word of caution. I really wanted them to find something that interested them to draw in their nature journals, but I didn't want to force it, so I held myself back from suggestions. Then right at the end, they suggested that they had better draw something for their journals. Lucy chose an interesting gall. The kids came running to us with it and described it as the world's biggest peanut, I think. A gall is an abnormal outgrowth on a plant caused by a fungus or insect or parasite, etc. After looking at the plant more closely while she drew it, I wondered if it was goldenrod. Sure enough, there is such a thing as Goldenrod Gall cause by the Goldenrod Gall Fly. Needless to say, I am very excited (perhaps more so than the children are) and I can't wait for our next nature study group.

Here is a quick plan that I have for our next Nature Study group to make things easier on me preparation wise since we plan to do this about twice a month. I want to have a designated back-pack that I can just add a few last minute supplies to and go. I plan to pack it with several items that will be designated just to this bag:
-diapers and wipes (for Selah)
-colored pencils
-extra paper
-field guides
-magnifying glass
-ziploc baggies (a friend's suggestion for interesting finds to take home)
-a container (for interesting bugs/creatures to take home)
-first aid kit, just in case
-kid sized blanket or towel
Then at the last minute, I can throw in a water bottle, snacks, a camera, and our nature journals if we wish to bring them that day.

There is also this little portable flower press that would be fun to make with the kids and keep with us.

Now the fun part, here are some pictures for you:

Rune of Riches
Florence Converse

I have a golden ball
A big, bright, shining one,
Pure gold; and it is all
Mine. - It is the sun.

I have a silver ball,
A white and glistening stone
That other people call
The moon; - my very own!

The jewel things that prick
My cushion's soft blue cover
Are mine, - my stars, thick, thick,
Scattered the sky all over.

And everything's that mine
Is yours, and yours, and yours, -
The shimmer and the shine!-
Let's lock our wealth outdoors!

1 comment:

...they call me mommy... said...

LOVE this! How interesting about the Goldenrod Gall!!! I didn't know any of that! COOL!!!! So when the plant is growing the creature gets in there and makes the stem puff out like that???

Oh and the sweet story I mentioned is: Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat