Friday, April 3, 2009

Nature Study Close to Home

Winter in New Hampshire can be long. When April finally arrives we can't wait for the snow to melt and the temperatures to climb above freezing. This year is no exception. The girls and I have been busy leafing through all the seed catalogs and planning our garden. We still wont be able to plant for about two months but at least we are seeing green.

We were out chopping the snow to help it melt the other day and Sarah noticed that the daffodils and tulips in the side garden had started to peek through the ground and snow. Boy were we excited. We all had to come and look. Pointing out which were which, and looking for any other signs of life beneath the snow.

Well, it got me thinking about Charlotte Mason and Nature Study. I remembered I had bookmarked a wonderful site that would walk you through nature study one challenge at a time. So a quick search and I found just what I was looking for at Handbook of Nature Study. Barb has written more than 52 challenges to walk you and your children through Nature Study. She starts slowly, guiding mom so she can guide her children. Reference is made to the wonderful book, Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. If you are not lucky enough to own this book I believe you can find it online for free here. You can find all of the challenges in the side bar at the right, just scroll down to the bottom. She also showcases a wide variety of nature journal entries. These have been great inspiration to the girls. It helped them see that their drawings don't have to be perfect, that some days pencil is just fine, and that all of God's creation is amazing and wonderful.

The girls have challenge one under their belts and are excited to do more. I don't know how long we will stick with the challenges before we branch out on our own. We may come and go as mom may need to return for inspiration. We will just have to see and let nature exploration lead us where we may.

Have you considered nature study with your children? It really doesn't take much - a paper and pencil and 10-15 minutes out in the wonderful world God created. What are you waiting for? Get up and get out. We loved to hear what you discovered on your nature walk. Leave us a comment and let us know.

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