February 07, 2008
Nature walks are not as easy to come by for city folk, but there is fun to be had outdoors no matter where you live. A tiny blade of grass growing up out of the sidewalk could be a reason to stop and wonder - God provides endless opportunities to be amazed, even in bustling cities. Yesterday we found one such place in our neighborhood - a water drainage ditch! We spent our first purposeful "Green Hour" CM Nature Walk at the 'pond' (as the children so affectionately call it). We took our camera and our nature journals and had quite a bit of fun.
The children identified many different mammal tracks: cats (or skunk?), dogs (or coyotes?), deer, and raccoon. We saw sandpipers and what looked like a hawk. We saw water bugs, bees, and fairy flies. Kaden found what he thought might be an egg sack of some sort of amphibious creature with a hole in its side (looked like clear jelly) in the water. We got to dig in the mud with sticks and watch frogs and tadpoles. It was amazing that there were that many wonderful creatures practically in our back yard. The little wooden buds on the trees made for interesting discussion, too... Morgan checked the limb to see if it was "wick" (a term she got from reading The Secret Garden, no doubt!). I have heard people say that there is not much outdoors to discover and enjoy in the winter... but I certainly don't agree. Even in a concrete jungle there is always something awaiting discovery outside for the one who is willing to GO... no matter what season it is!
We decided that we are going to try and keep Green Hour. I think the vote was unanimous. I have been leaning towards the Charlotte Mason teaching method for a long time now (implementing some of it without really labeling it as CM for years). We are planning to continue the trend while adding more whole books and adding more narration and nature study to our school 'diet'. Of course we aren't giving up KONOS - that is what makes me 'eclectic'! Plans for a nature blog are in the works... the kids want to share our nature shots and keep a digital "scrapbook" online. I enjoy taking nature photos quite a bit and this will be an excellent way to get them in to photography as well. They have already started to show interest in learning how to take pictures better. What a blessing Green Hour is turning out to be!
I encourage you to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Life is too short to stay cooped up all day long.
Nature as a Teaching Tool (all my nature links, quotes, books, etc)
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Buzz Words: Charlotte Mason, Insects, Teaching, Nature, Journaling, Pictures, Pond, Outdoors, Children, Science, Nature+Walk, Homeschool, Kids, Parenting, Creation, Winter