Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nature study and Children

When I think back to being a young girl, living in a rural area, there were ALWAYS opportunties to experience nature and all of the Lord's wonders. In fact, my sister and I spent most of our time outdoors.

Our parents were divorced but being outside and playing together were a constant.

When staying with my mother, we lived in a neighborhood, but at that time (I'm aging myself :) all of the neighborhood children played together. It was not the frightening age we live in now. My sister and I would grab our bikes and ride over to my cousin's home across the street and meet the other children in a little area at the end of the block that had not yet been built upon. We had "bike trails" that we road our bikes on through this little wooded plot of land. I remember all of the grand adventures and imaginary things that happened even today.

When visiting my father - nature abounded. He lived further out in a VERY rural area where the only thing to do was to go outside and enjoy what the Lord's world had to offer. We had vines that we would swing on and plenty of woods to run in and make "campsites". We were quite blessed to have horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, hogs, cows, so many wonderful animals to love and observe. I still remember making 'camp' with my sister and cooking mudpies - true 'pies' from the mud and dirt. Spending entire days outside with the animals and plants and trees in the wood.

I realize the unfortunate difference in what our children are able to do today. My husband and I raise our children in a neighborhood - we don't have the acres of farmland I was blessed with as a child. However, we strive to bring the nature to them. Our flower gardens, vegetable "gardens" (sometimes just several containers) and our constant "zoo" lol of pets bring nature to them.

Unfortunately, they can not ride off into the neighborhood on their bikes due to the frightful things that abound anymore but a secure, privacy fenced in yard, with plenty of trees, plants, flowers, bird houses, bird feeders, bird baths, pets, local duck ponds, and parks all seem to do the trick. It just takes my effort as we're homeschooling to make it important - to make it a part of our overall plan and to model my own personal love of nature for them.

They are blessed to also have a father that is an amazing landscaper :). For the lack of green thumb that I have, he has five! I love nature but do not have the natural ability that others do to make things grow- there comes in Daddy :). My husband is amazing at teaching the children AND myself about the plants and caring for them. My son has had his own landscaping 'section' since he was about 3!! My mother in law is also talented in the ways of growing outside so the kids and I glean from her and she naturally teaches them. Without them even realizing they are learning - and maybe without her intentionally teaching them but just sharing her love and passion for plants, flowers, and the outdoors with them. :)

On this blog, please find our nature study journals, experiences, ideas, and our "Outdoor Hour Challenges" (find her blogspot below). Using the methods of Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick, and other literature based ideas for 'science' I wanted to join the Outdoor Hour Challenges and also share the excitement, love, and blessings we have found in such little things! Using these homeschooling methods has been such a blessing. We are a family that has always loved nature and living things, the "science" approach to these programs is nothing less than a perfect fit.

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