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When S and I were growing up, we lived in the country (his family farmed in Tennessee and mine homesteaded in Virginia) and had literally acres of land to explore and plenty of chances to observe the amazing complexity and detail of creation. Here in the city the children don’t get as much of a chance to do this (although we do get a lot of bird life at our front window thanks to the sunflowers in the garden!) so I’ve been trying for a couple of years to intentionally give them opportunities to observe nature, collect specimens and draw conclusions.
Last year we did this on Tuesday mornings. When the children went out for their half hour of outdoor time before school in the morning, I would give them each a paper bag and have them collect whatever they saw and thought looked interesting for us to observe and discuss around our nature table. Each of them had a composition book for a nature journal and we made little drawings, and I had them narrate descriptions for me to write for them.
This year I wanted to do something a bit more in depth, but I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I was actually looking for something else at the HEAV Convention, when I saw the book pictured above. I thought it looked interesting and after flipping through it added it to my purchases, figuring it would be a good resource. Once the convention was over and I had a chance to really read parts of the book and give it a good look I realized that it was just the book I needed! Abundant grace even in the discovery of schoolbooks!
Since we have a nature preserve right in our neighborhood, I decided we would visit it once a month and observe the changes in nature over the course of the year. I thought there might be some other homeschoolers who would like to join us and threw the event open to the community and found myself with a monthly field trip to lead! Oh my crazy life!
All that is introduction. Here’s the scoop:
Hollywood Cemetery is quite large and very hilly in spots. It does have paved paths so strollers for littles work well. We’re going to be focusing on developing an eye and relationship with a particular patch of nature over the course of the year, through observation and stillness. We’ll be recording our observation by collecting some specimens and by drawing and listing what we see. I’ll be making blank nature journal pages available for download and printing each month and children will need to bring those with them as well as a sharp pencil and a clipboard. Binoculars and/or cameras are welcome of course but a lot of our focus will be on the micro-environment of a selected area (soil, vegetation, insects etc.) so binoculars aren’t necessary.
This event is rain or shine.Pin It