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Time for another installment of my long lost Implementing a Nature Study series! This one is all about making resources available in your homeschool.
Having Nature Resources around Helps Kids to Answer Their Own Questions
When a questions comes up, you want to be sure your kids are equipped with materials to answer their own questions. It also encourages your students to be answer finders. Whether you have many of your own or you borrow seasonally from the library (or both), keeping reference material and other nature activities available and accessible gives kids the chance to explore and project on their own.
Field Guides and Nature Books
We have many field guides and nature reference books. Our kids love to bring them along when we go on walks in hopes they’ll find something news. Have a look at some resources and links to previous posts about them.
- Wildflower Field Guides & Activities
- Insect Guides and Activities
- Audubon Guides
- Peterson Guides
- Fun with Nature Series
- Field Guide apps- I love iBird Pro for my Android Phone
Encourage Your Children to Be Nature Answer Finders
In the spring we found a bunch of snakes under some rocks near our mailbox. The kids jumped at the chance to keep the snake for a while and learn more about it. R13 learned all about the snake and learned it is a garter snake. She read about them in our shelved resources and used the internet.
We’ve kept him all summer and R13 takes care of him- since she gets him his meals (worms and slugs) she got to name him. Essentially Clyde is her snake. Before she was allowed to keep him, she needed to be sure she could take care of him feeding him the right things and making sure he receives the proper nutrition. She was able to answer all her questions and he’s been great company all summer in our main learning area.
Fast forward to the end of summer and R13 needed to find out how she could care for him over the winter. If we couldn’t find what he needs or it would be cost prohibitive, then we’d need to let Clyde go so he could safely hibernate for the winter. Good news! She has completed her research and it looks like pinky mice can be purchased at a cost we can handle and Clyde will stay. The pet store was very helpful and even helped R13 to age her snake. He’s definitely this year’s hatch and is a few months old.
R13 will be doing a snake project to start the school year. Inspired by other Project Based Homeschoolers, she is going to make a Snake Encyclopedia with an extra section on Caring for Snakes. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with this project.
Combining Art & Nature
We do a lot of art with nature at Blog, She Wrote. This year we plan to do even more. Here are a few resources we enjoy using.
- Hodgepodge- chalk pastel tutorials
- Nature Printing
- Handbook of Nature Study/Harmony Art Mom- Barb has some really great ideas, tutorials, and Squidoo pages on how to draw nature.
- Keeping a Nature Journal
We take our art supplies on the go when we are headed out for a nice walk. We have a lot of trails and gorges to see here, so you never know when the opportunity will make itself available to sit and draw.
I prepare the kids ahead of time with our goal. With three boys and one artsy girl, you might imagine that art doesn’t come naturally to all of our children. However, the boys buy in when they know this is a prescribed activity and it’s all part of the school and family culture at our house. I mean…who can argue with a little walk and watercolors if you get a break from the books and normal routine?
Plus, R13 is downright inspiring most of the time! She drew the watercolor drawing of the creek and bridge in the woods behind our house and J8 followed along. He made a great little rendition of the same view.
The flowers were a spring time Chalk Pastel project. We had a fun time making all of R13’s recent nature art into note cards and I can’t wait to get started with some of the new fall themes. It is time for some new art on our walls!
Tricia at Hodgepodge has just released a new Fall Chalk Pastels ebook that I’m really exicted about. Check out the NEW fall projects in this edition for only $3.95. If you click the link, you’ll see the new tutorials and a little video snippet. So lovely!
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