Years ago when I was a young mom and homeschooling novice, I was introduced to Charlotte Mason and Nature Study. At the time we lived on the campus of Cornell University where Russ was doing his graduate work, so we were especially attached to the Handbook of Nature Study written by Anna Comstock. Anna was the first woman ever appointed to the Cornell faculty and the head of the Department of Nature Study. She wrote this book for elementary school teachers in 1911.
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Nature Study is not just for homeschoolers, but for anybody who wants to enhance their ability to see nature and understand it better. It allows for those “teachable moments” when a child finds a snail in the garden and wants to know what it eats or why it has a shell. This is the delightful kind of teaching that I love.
My interest in Nature Study was revived by one of my readers whose blog I took a look at last spring, Joyfully Original. I don’t know if Renee will even see this post, but this is a great example of how we can encourage one another. She was participating in The Outdoor Hour challenge found on this fabulous site, Handbook of Nature Study where there are oodles of great Nature Study ideas, including free downloadable notebook pages for topics such as Seasonal Trees and Oaks and Acorns. Last week I purchased the Autumn 2010 ebook and plan to look it over it this week.
One of the most satisfying pieces of Nature Study is keeping a Nature Journal. We like to use black sketch books, which I ordered from Amazon. There are many varieties available, but I prefer the ones that are not spiral bound. Sweet Pea and Mimi still have theirs from when they were young and they look great on a bookshelf. I also prefer using good quality colored pencils for drawing and have an old set of Berol Prismacolors that is still going strong.
Last week we went outside and looked at our old apple trees which the kids sketched into their journals. The week before we took a walk through the pasture and enjoyed taking a closer look at the grasses and the trees in our small tree farm. I was so pleased to see Ladybug and Sunshine plop down to make a quick sketch.
I’ll admit, I like to crank through our schoolwork, math, Bible, spelling, etc. But it is the delightful things like good literature and Nature Study that feed my homeschooling mommy soul.
I am no expert, but this kind of learning keeps life simple and that is the way I like it.
It is not too late to add your thoughts to this week’s Tuesday Topic on helping older adopted children make the transition into your family. We want to hear from you!
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