Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nature Study: Neighborhood Stroll

We've been a little busy this week to take our summer hike, but the habit of keeping up with our nature journals must go on.  I loved Silvia's Nature Study 101 post; I liked that better than saying her ugly neighborhood ; )  Since we can't always go to the beach or hike on trails,  we decided to take our camera on our morning walk to the park. This little 20 minute walk down our hill has been a great source of subjects for our nature journals these last two years.  I'm sure passer byers are used to seeing my kids plopped down on the sidewalk with their journals.  It has become just so inherent for us to look at the abundance on the walk that when there is new flora or fauna we are quick to take notice.  The natural world is anywhere you go, it just takes that all important habit of observation to witness it.

It's hard to get the kids to just focus on thing at a time on this walk, but I try to acknowledge a subject per child.  Each got to pick one thing we would take a picture off; however, the focus of our nature journals were two beautiful sunflowers we've been watching for several weeks now (I'll write about them on a different post).  Here is what we found:

Some pine nuts, my six year old put them in a plastic baggy to compare with the Nuts chapter in Seed Babies.

They loved this bright yellow Lantana, especially since we know how much butterflies enjoy them too.

A chewed green pine cone. My oldest was very intrigued by this.  She said it was very sticky from the sap and just kept wondering what animal enjoyed it.

These are just dog tracks, but what caught my four year old's attention was that they are permanent on the sidewalk.  Some doggy walked by before the cement dried!! He loved and got such a kick of the image in his head.
My three year old kept shushing everyone so I could take a picture of this lizard on a wall. 

A favorite around here: a buzzing bee inside a flower : )

My favorite: California Poppies.  This is a flower my kids point out on every walk because they know how much I enjoy them.  Well, here we are, an hour later at our final destination:

I'm sure those of us whom love the nature study part of a Charlotte Mason education have a vision of where we should look and find nature's beauty.  (Mine is always something like Serena's Casting Pearls: Lobster Trails, I just love her Maine seaside pictures.)  This image, beautiful as it is, might discourage us from even trying;  but one of the wonderful things about nature study is that you can absolutely find it everywhere.  It is easy to look at our own backyards and be blocked because we see it all the time.  It's nice to be a child who can just spend endless time outdoors in the same spot and always find something new.  I love this!

Some of our favorite books related to nature study very close to home include:  Nature in the Neighborhood by Gordon Morrison, One Small Square: Backyard by Donald Silver, Discover Nature Close to Home and Discover Nature Around the House by Elizabeth Lawlor.  These and our very handy Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study are always great sources of inspiration close by.  Sometimes our strolls or simply our homes can be great places waiting to discover nature; it just means we need to be good observers and appreciate the natural world great or small.  Read Silvia's post for some great beginners tips.

BTW If you haven't read Charlotte Mason in the City, take a peak.  Her nature study posts always remind me of this very thing.  Nature is everywhere!


Serena said...

Nature is everywhere! I love the photo of the bee and the lizard. Very cool. We don't have anything like that where we live.
Thanks for linking to me in this post. I'll be checking out the other links soon.
Happy Nature Studying!

Charlotte Mason in the City said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out!

Your neighborhood is lovely - and amen that nature study can be done ANYWHERE. Special trips are fun, but seeing what is right in front of us is a life-long gift to learn.

I love those poppies too. You can't help but smile when you see that brilliant color. Enjoy!!

(And now I feel like taking a walk...I think you're a good influence!)

Homeschooling6 said...

Loved the photos. Thank you for visiting my blog. So far it's been slow going with Living Math for Lance. I need to really get serious about it. I was hoping he would be at least half way through.