Aug 282012

(Praying Mantis Egg Case)

“Nature study has a purpose that is deeper than some of us may realize. I encourage you to take advantage of nature study and use it as a tool to teach children to behold the face of their Creator. “~~HUFI

What do the children do? The children are to be “let alone, left to themselves a great deal to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens.” Give them time and space to wonder, grow, watch, see, hear, and touch. During the nature walk, they may sketch and record their observations. In addition they may want to collect small natural treasures in a bag to take home for further study. If they would like it, the children may take along magnifying glasses, binoculars, nets, and containers for viewing up close and catching small creatures. But don’t encumber them with too many things. Let them be free to explore with open hands most of the time. ~~Inspired by CM

I have to confess I really messed up, I let go of a true treasure. This treasure is called Creation Study a.k.a. Nature Study. We used to have the wonderful habit of including Creation Study in our home school every week, and unfortunately I let this treasure go. I was recently reminded of how wonderful it really is, it is a treasure and a true JOY!! Creation Study has such value, but at it’s core, it is a JOY because it brings GOD’s creation to our attention. If you give it your attention, you can’t help but be amazed by our amazing Creator! I have decided to do what I have to do, to make this a habit in our life again. I think the best way to do this is to start all over. Yes, I am going back to the basics!

“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child. Every day’s walk gives him something to enter: three squirrels in a larch tree, a jay flying across such a field, a caterpillar climbing up a nettle, a snail eating a cabbage leaf, a spider dropping suddenly to the ground, where he found ground ivy, how it was growing and what plants were growing with it, how bindweed or ivy manages to climb” (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1, p. 54).

We will be using The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, along with the wonderfully planned Creation study topics and challenges by Barb at the Handbook of Nature Study blog. Barb calls her weekly challenges the Outdoor Hour Nature Close to Home. I am going to begin “again” with Barb’s very first Challenge Outdoor Hour Challenge #1 Let’s Get Started. Here is a link to her first 10 challenges, which I will be completing with my boys. We need to go back build a foundation of Creation study before we move onto anything new.

Miss Mason recommended two activities during a nature walk 1. Sight-seeing or exploring expeditions In this activity, you send the children off to a specified area with a task: “Go explore over there and come back when you can tell me all about it.” When the children return, let them share verbal descriptions of everything they experienced. 2. Picture-painting or mental photographs Picture painting is more stationary. You choose a scene to study and then sit and look at it for several minutes, taking in as much detail as possible. Then ask the children to close their eyes and recreate the scene with words. If they are not sure of something, they can open their eyes and look. This activity will develop both observation skills and narration (telling back) skills.

I also want to really emphasize sketching and painting in our creation journals. It is said that the exercise of sketching and painting will really cement the image onto your mind. Sketching and painting has the same effect as when someone narrates (tells back) what they read. (All about Narration HERE)

One of the reasons a child should draw what he sees in the natural world is because we want to develop the habit of attention within him. The habit of attention simply means the child has learned to observe his surroundings very carefully whether it be the intricacy of a leaf, the patterns in a flower, the habits of a scurrying ant or the changing cloudy canvas in the sky. When a person develops these skills of observation while young, they begin to see the world in a heavenly light. ~~HUFI

Great links for Nature Journal and Outside time:

I’m submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.

Do you make a habit of nature study?

~By Angie, The One Thing