Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The gentle art of Nature Study

Sometimes a serious reevaluation of things are necessary.  People go through ‘Spring cleaning’ phases where they declutter down to the things they love and get rid of those things that are not useful anymore.  Well I am doing that with homeschooling, time, and priorities right now.  In the last few weeks I have been reading a few homeschooling resources that feature Charlotte Mason Education.  Since literature and poetry are a focus of mine anyway, these ideas were very easy to incorporate into my schooling days.

Charlotte Mason’s thoughts are close in focus to Waldorf Education, but without the pedagogy that is rigorous in it’s ideals of child development.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is a better fit for my family because it allows younger children to move faster if they can.  There is no ‘year to year’ set of learning… just the fact that learning keeps moving forward.


Nature Study is one of her main focuses… as it is mine.  The concept of a nature notebook is not at all strange to me or my children.  However, Ms Mason believes that adding to it each and every school day is very important.  Also that one should always have direct contact with nature; including a nature walk or some other form of actual contact such as raising bugs in the classroom or perhaps a pet. 

I adjusted to make Nature Study more of a focus than a hobby during our school days and made it the second box for my children each morning.  That way, for box 1 I can read a book out loud (currently Bambi by Felix Salten) and then move on to Nature Study and then in box 3 is individual animal study (currently raising Praying Mantis).  After that they split off into their own subjects for the next 7 boxes (yes, we now only have 10… I’ll get to that in a later post).

Here are a few snippets from our Nature Study mornings from the past three weeks:


Cyan draws a flowering current twig in a jar of water.


My pea sprout picture (I had so many I didn’t feel at all bad about pulling one up to measure the roots…. which are the same height at this point as the ‘shoot’.  The kids and I thought that was really cool!!)


A pair of mallard ducks that landed in our front yard on the first day of our Nature Study project.  I felt like Mother Nature had put her stamp of approval on the change in our school days!


Logan looking intently at the first open Flowering Current flower.  Smile


“Isn’t it pretty mom?  It looks like a star!”

The next few posts will be dedicated to the changes I have made and how they are working.  Stay tuned!

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