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Hello!

How are you guys during nature study this school year?

I am interested in the charlotte mason approach.  Can one use the Nature Anatomy book by Julia Rothman with a charlotte mason approach?  We have not used this approach before. 

We have not had a formal approach with this subject before.  My kids have had some nature classes here and there and we've been hiking, but that's it. 

Anyhow, any ideas are welcome.  Thanks!

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20 hours ago, desertflower said:

Hello!

How are you guys during nature study this school year?

I am interested in the charlotte mason approach.  Can one use the Nature Anatomy book by Julia Rothman with a charlotte mason approach?  We have not used this approach before. 

We have not had a formal approach with this subject before.  My kids have had some nature classes here and there and we've been hiking, but that's it. 

Anyhow, any ideas are welcome.  Thanks!

I have no advice but I am hoping other people will! Nature study is one of those things I'm always thinking we should do, and yet we never get around to it, except in short fits and starts. I think it's because I don't have a clear idea of what I want from it.

I live in a big city so I do sometimes use that as my excuse. But then again, Julia Rothman lives in Brooklyn, so that excuse won't get me far : ) 

Have you done nature study at all before? Do you pick a specific area to focus on for a semester, ie insects / rocks / birds? Or do you just kind of go out and draw whatever catches your eye on that particular day? 

 

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I used Exploring Nature with Children a fews years ago.  I really like that one.  We didn't use it consistently.  Like with a lot of the programs i get!  I did use to go to a mountain when using this program.

anyhow, I am going to look at that again, but we don't go anywhere.  So I am not sure if that will help. 

I got a couple of nature books from the thinking tree.  Saw a video on simply charlotte mason for nature.  May get the one they recommend (Journaling in nature or something like that).   I have the Nature Connection book and Keeping a Nature Journal book.  I think I am just trying to wrap my head around this.  😄   Going to get lots of writing utensils and a sketch pad. 

Just trying to see if we can do something in my yard.  😂

I think the charlotte mason approach is doable during this shelter in place.    I want my children to appreciate nature and pay attention to details this year.  I saw a video on someone's blog.  She inspired me to want to do nature like her! 

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20 hours ago, desertflower said:

Hello!

How are you guys during nature study this school year?

I am interested in the charlotte mason approach.  Can one use the Nature Anatomy book by Julia Rothman with a charlotte mason approach?  We have not used this approach before. 

We have not had a formal approach with this subject before.  My kids have had some nature classes here and there and we've been hiking, but that's it. 

Anyhow, any ideas are welcome.  Thanks!

This sounds like a lot of fun!  We love nature studies.  This year I downloaded the free nature notebook from TGATB that had during May, printed out only the summer season portion, put it in a pocket folder with brads, and tucked them into our weekly field trip bag.  If we go to a park or some place with an outdoor area we will work on a page or two at that location.  Once the season changes I'll swap out the section in the folders but keep the old section in a binder for next year.

Citizen Science projects help give direction to nature studies.  I got started when my kids were 3 and 5 with studying birds.  We attached it to the Audubon society's Great Backyard Bird Count in February.  I printed out a free birding coloring book (really informative as well), then we would color one bird realistically to learn what it actually looks like (no weird colors!), read information about it on the Audubon society's app, draw an egg, and in general learn about it.  The goal for us was to have an easier time IDing a bird for the Bird Count.  We only learn about a handful of birds per year and keep our findings in a composition book as a cumulative project.  There are citizen science about all sorts of things if any of them appeal to your family!  

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4 minutes ago, JoyKM said:

This sounds like a lot of fun!  We love nature studies.  This year I downloaded the free nature notebook from TGATB that had during May, printed out only the summer season portion, put it in a pocket folder with brads, and tucked them into our weekly field trip bag.  If we go to a park or some place with an outdoor area we will work on a page or two at that location.  Once the season changes I'll swap out the section in the folders but keep the old section in a binder for next year.

Citizen Science projects help give direction to nature studies.  I got started when my kids were 3 and 5 with studying birds.  We attached it to the Audubon society's Great Backyard Bird Count in February.  I printed out a free birding coloring book (really informative as well), then we would color one bird realistically to learn what it actually looks like (no weird colors!), read information about it on the Audubon society's app, draw an egg, and in general learn about it.  The goal for us was to have an easier time IDing a bird for the Bird Count.  We only learn about a handful of birds per year and keep our findings in a composition book as a cumulative project.  There are citizen science about all sorts of things if any of them appeal to your family!  

This is an idea.  Thank you for the idea! 

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I'm doing a nature study with my dd and my 2 oldest grandkids who are similar in ages to yours (10,9,8).  I just designed a nature study using one of the One Small Square series books https://www.acornnaturalists.com/products/children-s-titles/reference-activity-titles/one-small-square-series.html supplemented with books I found after doing some research and are available from our library.  Our study will include identification, collecting samples, looking at specimens under a microscope, and journaling.

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8 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I'm doing a nature study with my dd and my 2 oldest grandkids who are similar in ages to yours (10,9,8).  I just designed a nature study using one of the One Small Square series books https://www.acornnaturalists.com/products/children-s-titles/reference-activity-titles/one-small-square-series.html supplemented with books I found after doing some research and are available from our library.  Our study will include identification, collecting samples, looking at specimens under a microscope, and journaling.

Thank you 8!  

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38 minutes ago, desertflower said:

Oh!  Thanks!  Will take a look at citizen science! 

Aside from citizen science--this spring we are going to start a family pressed wildflower collection.  I have a manual I've had for years and the a photo binder for it (it was the wrong size for another project but perfect for this so I saved it).  I'm aiming for 6-10 wildflowers a year.  After several years we should have a full album, and over the years we may need to travel to find new species for the collection.  Not sure how to make great pressed flower yet but will learn!  Review the parts of a flower or dissect a plant each year for fun.  Casual, awesome, builds a book of memories...I'm excited!

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We've never done nature study as a routine part of school, but we've always tried to look at different bits of local ecology and microenvironments.  Like, in our yard (3 1/2 acres) there is a small part that is woods, and adjacent to that is a lower-lying area that is often damp and cooler, and then a big part of the yard is basically a field, and different things grow in each, and sometimes you can feel the temperature change as you move around the yard.  We have a butterfly bush, so we sometimes watch butterflies (and, as I typed this, I had to stop and yell for a kid to come see the hummingbird).  We have always had a garden, so the kids have learned about good bugs and bad bugs and how cute rabbits can become green bean pests.  Younger has been container gardening, which isn't quite a nature study but has been a learning experience.  

When we travel, even locally like to parks, we try also to see nature even when it isn't the main draw to the area and if it's an outside location we try to also see the less touristy ecosystems.  At the beach we not only play on the beach, but look at the marsh and walk in the sticky mud and see crabs (a lake or river probably has similar different areas).  When we lived in Albuquerque, we compared the high desert, desert, and Bosque along the river.  On a hike, we found lichen breaking down rocks where there was no dirt around.  We love the One Small Square books that 8 mentioned - there is one to get you started on almost any ecosystem.  

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19 minutes ago, JoyKM said:

Aside from citizen science--this spring we are going to start a family pressed wildflower collection.  I have a manual I've had for years and the a photo binder for it (it was the wrong size for another project but perfect for this so I saved it).  I'm aiming for 6-10 wildflowers a year.  After several years we should have a full album, and over the years we may need to travel to find new species for the collection.  Not sure how to make great pressed flower yet but will learn!  Review the parts of a flower or dissect a plant each year for fun.  Casual, awesome, builds a book of memories...I'm excited!

Oh!  Great idea to put in the notebook! 

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11 minutes ago, ClemsonDana said:

We've never done nature study as a routine part of school, but we've always tried to look at different bits of local ecology and microenvironments.  Like, in our yard (3 1/2 acres) there is a small part that is woods, and adjacent to that is a lower-lying area that is often damp and cooler, and then a big part of the yard is basically a field, and different things grow in each, and sometimes you can feel the temperature change as you move around the yard.  We have a butterfly bush, so we sometimes watch butterflies (and, as I typed this, I had to stop and yell for a kid to come see the hummingbird).  We have always had a garden, so the kids have learned about good bugs and bad bugs and how cute rabbits can become green bean pests.  Younger has been container gardening, which isn't quite a nature study but has been a learning experience.  

When we travel, even locally like to parks, we try also to see nature even when it isn't the main draw to the area and if it's an outside location we try to also see the less touristy ecosystems.  At the beach we not only play on the beach, but look at the marsh and walk in the sticky mud and see crabs (a lake or river probably has similar different areas).  When we lived in Albuquerque, we compared the high desert, desert, and Bosque along the river.  On a hike, we found lichen breaking down rocks where there was no dirt around.  We love the One Small Square books that 8 mentioned - there is one to get you started on almost any ecosystem.  

That is how we have been doing it the last 3 years, but no gardening.  🙂

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1 hour ago, Little Green Leaves said:

except in short fits and starts. I think it's because I don't have a clear idea of what I want from it

This is completely acceptable.  Right now we aren't doing much dedicated nature study since summer here is so hot!  We'll do a little bit when we want to and if we happen to be somewhere naturey on a field trip.  We do birds the first six weeks of the year leading up to the Audubon Society's backyard bird count.  After that we'll wait for spring flowers to come up, then do our first year of collecting wildflowers for our family wildflower collection.  After we have enough of those I will go once in awhile with my two oldest to find rocks and fossils (we have Cretaceous limestone everywhere here 😍),  then if we actually find something we'll look it up.  That's probably not going to be a super regular occurrence.  I decorate with rock samples, so maybe we'll find two or three new rocks to spiff up and place on our shelves.  We will read some good books, watch nature shows, and spend time in wonder at nature.  Learning about nature is a slow accumulation of knowledge and experiences that grows into a deeper appreciation of the world around you.  It can be done in so many ways, and whatever you do counts!  For the fall I'd like to go mushroom hunting and out to find forageable food this year, but we may not get to do that too often or might strike out in our attempts.  Two falls ago we only found two mushroom on our hunt (though I tried to do it in the spring since we were reading Beatrix Potter at that time--discovered fall is the best timing).  Since you live in a city I'd suggest reading library books and watching shows about urban wildlife, then go park hopping and try to learn about the plants and animals you see there.  That is a very neat opportunity!  

ETA:  Example of a picture book featuring urban wildlife:  https://www.amazon.com/Tale-Pale-Male-True-Story/dp/0152059725

Edited by JoyKM
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Some of my go-to nature study books for my kids that age are Jean Craighead George's 13 Moons series (Moon of the Alligator is on, Monarch, etc) and her One Day in the _____ (Desert, Woods, Prairie, etc) and Seasons of the Moon (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn).  

A View from the Oak: The Private Worlds of Other Creatures

Discover Nature series  (in Water & Wetlands, at Sundown, Close to Home, at the Seashore, in Winter, etc)

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23 hours ago, desertflower said:

Hello!

How are you guys during nature study this school year?

I am interested in the charlotte mason approach.  Can one use the Nature Anatomy book by Julia Rothman with a charlotte mason approach?  We have not used this approach before. 

We have not had a formal approach with this subject before.  My kids have had some nature classes here and there and we've been hiking, but that's it. 

Anyhow, any ideas are welcome.  Thanks!

I know some people who use Nature Anatomy to help their younger children have simpler pictures to use when they are getting used to drawing. So, if a child saw a squirrel and was uncomfortable drawing the squirrel from life (which I imagine many children would be), the mom might have the child try to describe the squirrel in words in the nature journal and then copy the simple lines of Julia Rothman's book as a way to learn to draw.

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For when we can't get outside, my kids enjoy making their own drawings using these cards as a guide...

Birds of North America

Insect Flashcards

Flower Flashcards

I like the cards because they can lie down flat, and there are plenty of cards to go around so (in theory) no one is squabbling over sharing. 😉

 

 

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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7 minutes ago, Zoo Keeper said:

And all my kids have loved reading these books on their own for nature study/science (free to download and/or print from archive.org)...

First Book of Bugs

First Book of Birds

First Book of Plants

First Book of Bees

First Book of Trees

First Book of Water

 

 

 

THose are awesome little books. My grandson will love these.

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2 hours ago, JoyKM said:

This is completely acceptable.  Right now we aren't doing much dedicated nature study since summer here is so hot!  We'll do a little bit when we want to and if we happen to be somewhere naturey on a field trip.  We do birds the first six weeks of the year leading up to the Audubon Society's backyard bird count.  After that we'll wait for spring flowers to come up, then do our first year of collecting wildflowers for our family wildflower collection.  After we have enough of those I will go once in awhile with my two oldest to find rocks and fossils (we have Cretaceous limestone everywhere here 😍),  then if we actually find something we'll look it up.  That's probably not going to be a super regular occurrence.  I decorate with rock samples, so maybe we'll find two or three new rocks to spiff up and place on our shelves.  We will read some good books, watch nature shows, and spend time in wonder at nature.  Learning about nature is a slow accumulation of knowledge and experiences that grows into a deeper appreciation of the world around you.  It can be done in so many ways, and whatever you do counts!  For the fall I'd like to go mushroom hunting and out to find forageable food this year, but we may not get to do that too often or might strike out in our attempts.  Two falls ago we only found two mushroom on our hunt (though I tried to do it in the spring since we were reading Beatrix Potter at that time--discovered fall is the best timing).  Since you live in a city I'd suggest reading library books and watching shows about urban wildlife, then go park hopping and try to learn about the plants and animals you see there.  That is a very neat opportunity!  

ETA:  Example of a picture book featuring urban wildlife:  https://www.amazon.com/Tale-Pale-Male-True-Story/dp/0152059725

Thanks for laying this all out! I love the idea of starting the year with birds. And there are lots of things to look at and investigate even in our local park. I think I'd gotten hung up on the idea that the kids had to be eagerly painting nature in notebooks, something which they have not shown any interest in doing...we can definitely have fun together spotting birds and trying to identify leaves and flowers, though. 

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2 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

I know some people who use Nature Anatomy to help their younger children have simpler pictures to use when they are getting used to drawing. So, if a child saw a squirrel and was uncomfortable drawing the squirrel from life (which I imagine many children would be), the mom might have the child try to describe the squirrel in words in the nature journal and then copy the simple lines of Julia Rothman's book as a way to learn to draw.

Ah!  That makes total sense!  Thanks! 

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1 hour ago, Zoo Keeper said:

For when we can't get outside, my kids enjoy making their own drawings using these cards as a guide...

Birds of North America

Insect Flashcards

Flower Flashcards

I like the cards because they can lie down flat, and there are plenty of cards to go around so (in theory) no one is squabbling over sharing. 😉

 

 

Nice!  Thanks!

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40 minutes ago, Little Green Leaves said:

Thanks for laying this all out! I love the idea of starting the year with birds. And there are lots of things to look at and investigate even in our local park. I think I'd gotten hung up on the idea that the kids had to be eagerly painting nature in notebooks, something which they have not shown any interest in doing...we can definitely have fun together spotting birds and trying to identify leaves and flowers, though. 

Yeah.  I feel the same way.  But it is nice to have a journal to flip through.  I used to make little booklets, but now I don't know where they are. 

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1 hour ago, Little Green Leaves said:

Thanks for laying this all out! I love the idea of starting the year with birds. And there are lots of things to look at and investigate even in our local park. I think I'd gotten hung up on the idea that the kids had to be eagerly painting nature in notebooks, something which they have not shown any interest in doing...we can definitely have fun together spotting birds and trying to identify leaves and flowers, though. 

I'm not so much a nature painter as I am a dirt digger, rock crusher, and critter watcher.   Think Professor Sprout.  😆 Leaves is another great one.  Also collecting seeds from different wild plants and comparing them is fun--why does this seed have a wing, or a fluffy white part, or come in a pod?

 

Edited by JoyKM
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We do an indoor/outdoor approach to nature study. Indoors: we read seasonal books, and think about things we might see in our local environment in season. This is where we learn stuff like life cycles, biomes, and the roles certain animals/insects play in nature. The very important part here is that everything is seasonal. I consider this the planting ideas phase, giving them things to notice when outdoors.

Outdoors: We do NOT go looking for certain things. I tried this one year, and it failed miserably and left everyone disappointed and annoyed. Instead, we just look around for things we may have read about during our indoor studies, or things we find interesting and can read about later. We try to go out for a specific nature study walk 3x a week, but this is most often on our own property, including in the garden, the driveway, and near our own animals. The key is making it not difficult to do so it gets done. Each time everyone brings 1 specimen inside for later study.

Back Indoors: We study and draw the specimens brought inside. If desired I'll check out books about them, but often we just look up in an encyclopedia or online and call that good enough.

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  • 1 month later...

https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/garden/indoor-gardening/floral-design/10208-lee-valley-microwave-flower-press?item=GM426

 

I number of posts mentioned pressing flowers.....I had to mention the above flower press that I received as a gift.

 We are able to go for a walk, collect samples, place them in the press and have them in our nature book the same day!

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On 8/6/2020 at 6:34 PM, Btervet said:

We do an indoor/outdoor approach to nature study. Indoors: we read seasonal books, and think about things we might see in our local environment in season. This is where we learn stuff like life cycles, biomes, and the roles certain animals/insects play in nature. The very important part here is that everything is seasonal. I consider this the planting ideas phase, giving them things to notice when outdoors.

Outdoors: We do NOT go looking for certain things. I tried this one year, and it failed miserably and left everyone disappointed and annoyed. Instead, we just look around for things we may have read about during our indoor studies, or things we find interesting and can read about later. We try to go out for a specific nature study walk 3x a week, but this is most often on our own property, including in the garden, the driveway, and near our own animals. The key is making it not difficult to do so it gets done. Each time everyone brings 1 specimen inside for later study.

Back Indoors: We study and draw the specimens brought inside. If desired I'll check out books about them, but often we just look up in an encyclopedia or online and call that good enough.

Exactly!!! It took me a long time to figure this out. 

Nature study topics can be studied indoors the same way that any science topic can be studied.

It is okay to study general topics with species that are not the same species that are most likely to be encountered outdoors. A bird is a bird. A flower is a flower. If you live in a place that is different from the books that are most accessible, don't worry. Just use what you have and focus on the most generic parts of the resource. I am currently in a desert and realized that HONS really is still relevant here, as long as I keep the focus on the general topics, instead of the specifics of a single species. And for species that are common knowledge and part of Western culture, there are youtube videos.

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Lately we are doing "observation" walks. My kids take after me in the sense that they are usually half in a daydream and default to being oblivious of their surrounding... So I have been using our morning walks to strengthen our observational skills.

We walk along, collecting leaves or whatever, and then perodically we stop and each describe in detail 3 things that we see. We live in a big city, so this isnt always nature - it could be a rusty bicycle chained to a post, or it could be a brick wall. The point is, we are looking and describing. It's been cool to see how much more observant they're getting already.

Lots of times this does end up being nature study, which is why I'm mentioning it here. Also I really like the idea of reading more books about nature. Any particular books to recommend for elementary ages?

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I used the Claire Walker Leslie book, Keeping a Nature Journal, one year, many years ago to set up nature journals with each of my kids like she does. It did give us a guideline, included a lot of drawing which is part that I and one of my kids enjoy a lot outdoors, and helped us all enjoy nature topics a lot. We have done a lot of the suggestions above over the years.  It was more about the noticing the environment and drawing than about studying the topics. We added that in sometimes with CM style or other curriculum or books. Sometimes we just did the Leslie style journaling.

One thing I have is a "nature bag." I keep it by the door or in the car. It has our individual journals (composition books!) and a bag of colored pencils and pens and pencils plus a stash of field guides.  We do take these out just for drawing sometimes to a local park and have done so a few times a year for years. We also often go to the park just to walk and look at butterflies, fish, birds, turtles, flowers, etc. 

Like others, we have done citizen science over the years. One year we joined the Audobon Society for their Christmas Bird Count which was great because we had experts showing us birds in our own neighborhoods we never would have noticed. From there, we have done the Backyard Bird Count many times. Because of year focused on birds something like eight years ago (in which we used the Memoria Press Bird Science unit and the Apologia Flying Creatures curriculum," and we raised and hatched two sets of birds that year, quail and chickens, and learned how to identify birds and sounds, we have just kept up the love.  Now wherever we are on vacation, we notice birds. We were at a pumpkin patch with a lake yesterday and noticed a heron flying by, which got my two dds to leave the homeschool group and go around the shore to look quietly for more. When we are out of town anywhere, we spend time noticing the birds, the difference, theones we know, etc. We might look up the type. We may just enjoy them. And sometimes we take field trips just to bird watch. We went in January to two different parks across our  state to look for nesting Bald Eagles, as it is the only time they are here. It took us two full days and a LOT of driving, but we finally spotted some, and it was amazing. For fall break, soon, we are going to go to a nature reserve where whooping cranes flocks migrate through. It will be a little early, but we are hoping to see some starting to come through. It may take us a few years to time it just right and find them, just as it did the eagles. 

We have just made this part of our family culture. We don't force the drawing/journaling. One of my dds thoroughly did not like the drawing part. We did it that one year as part of our school to try it out. and even then, only occasionally did I require it. But eventually she learned she like photography and instead later I would instruct her to bring her camera. She enjoyed that. The other and I enjoyed drawing. The little one has just always been around for these adventures and loves spotting stuff, learning about stuff, and being outside, and looking at field guides. Now that she is in first grade we are using a Thinking Tree Nature journal for her science this year. It is really just a  big book of notebooking type pages with brief instructions for drawing and reading and writing with a nature theme. Perfect for a 1st grader. She sometimes takes it to the park to draw and look at nature. Sometimes we use it to have her document what we are reading about from library books. She generally right now gets to pick books on any type of animal she wants to learn about or draw. If I see an animal interesting her, I will pick up books and videos for us to learn more about it. 

We are loving watching squirrels this time of year. We just notice what is going on around us and work on identification mostly for now.  So for my 1st grader right now, because she is so young and life science is our focus,  Nature studies are her main topics of science study for the next couple of years, even following the WTM science cycles like I try to.  I like Memoria Press science too if you want actual curriculum. Their astronomy, trees, bugs, birds, etc. are all good for some guidance. We have used a few of them, and I would love to use the others at some point that I haven't. I am not as big a fan of Apologia for elementary, but our co-ops always liked them when my olders were little. So we sometimes used their journals which I did like to guide us through their topics, focusing less on the textbooks which I don't love. 

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I find it very interesting to read the science and nature study sections of teacher's manuals from the late 1800s and early 1900's. And how nature study was integrated into the other subjects, especially composition and geography, and occasionally math.

Teachers that taught nature study from books were shamed. It seems like the shift to science topics that cannot be labeled "nature study" might have partially been a reaction to needing science topics that removed the stigma of staying of indoors for science.

I believe strongly in INCLUDING nature study textbooks and videos as science for all ages. I believe that students interact with the outdoors at a deeper level when they eventually do get out there after being introduced to nature in a book or video. 

I don't believe that what goes on inside a nuclear reactor is more important than the life cycles of insects.

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14 minutes ago, Hunter said:

I find it very interesting to read the science and nature study sections of teacher's manuals from the late 1800s and early 1900's. And how nature study was integrated into the other subjects, especially composition and geography, and occasionally math.

Teachers that taught nature study from books were shamed. It seems like the shift to science topics that cannot be labeled "nature study" might have partially been a reaction to needing science topics that removed the stigma of staying of indoors for science.

I believe strongly in INCLUDING nature study textbooks and videos as science for all ages. I believe that students interact with the outdoors at a deeper level when they eventually do get out there after being introduced to nature in a book or video. 

I don't believe that what goes on inside a nuclear reactor is more important than the life cycles of insects.

I guess more people lived in the countryside in the late 1800s, early 1900s too. 

A few years ago I bought the Handbook of Nature Study because Ambleside Online recommended it. It's still on the shelf but I haven't used it much because it suggests things like having kids study the hens in your yard -- they seem to assume that everyone lives on a farm. Even their suggestions about studying dandelions assume that you have your own back yard. I got kind of discouraged by that book!

BUT yes I do agree that even in a big city you can get a lot out of observing nature. We look at ant hills in the park, moss growing on trees on the sidewalk, seagulls by the river, etc etc etc. We just have to look harder for nature than most people did a century ago. I like your point about including books and video as part of the nature study, too.

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No, many of the teacher manuals were written in the densest urban areas, and the children were supposed to be taken to the park by way of trolley.

I used to take my boys to a living museum to do the animal studies. There is a post somewhere here about the poetry they wrote about rutting goats. CM with tween boys doesn't go to plan sometimes. LOL. 

Where I am now is just barren desert, but some neighbors have chickens. In some cultures, the poor have chickens in the most crowded situations imaginable, even today. 

I did not bring my HONS with me. I should have. I know how to make it work, now, and I have learned to see that the desert is both more different and more the same than I expected. I could definitely do the cockroach study here. LOL. Used copies of HONS are never on sale cheap. Sigh!

I am replacing books as I find them for the cheapest prices and shipping as possible. That book will be at the end of the list, even though I want it the most. I have PDF copies. I could swear I had a particularly nice copy in my Kindle books, but don't see it now. Sometimes they pull books back and do not inform me. I have had multiple books disappear over the years. I think I have all of the Yesterday's Classics version somewhere on a thumbdrive.

So much of the nature study advice online is people showing off or selling something. Making it look difficult is of benefit to them. I am not the fan of CM and Waldorf that I am of countless other educational leaders of the time that stressed the practical and commonplace, rather than the new and improved versions that these better-known educational leaders used.

Real teachers brought specimens into the classroom and mostly used books. But when they finally did take the big field trip to the park, they had a storehouse of things that the children were already familiar with and that they could apply to what they encountered.

 

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I didn't necessarily follow Charlotte Mason to the letter, nor did I use a formal curriculum.  I set my goals and just did stuff.

Goals
Know that the world is accessible to you.  Notice the variety of all kinds of flora, fauna, geology, etc.  Learn to look--and to observe closely.  Learn the names and as much as possible the categories of critters, trees, flowers. Notice what makes them different from each other.

What we did.  The first day I started was with my second grader.  I got a blank journal and we set out to Notice 50 Things We Have Never Noticed Before.  (If you do 50, be sure it is a nice day and you have plenty of time.)  It doesn't ALWAYS have to be something in nature--one of the most interesting things we discovered in our very small neighborhood was 4 different kinds of storm drain grates.  We talked a lot about why they selected this one over that one, based on the differences we saw.  

Next, we chose a sub-category:  let's say, Leaves.  So we went out and saw how many different kinds of leaves we could find.  We listed them as best we could.  Then for the next couple of weeks, we took the time while we were outside to *draw* the different kinds of leaves, one per page.  When we got home, we looked in our plant book to see what KIND of leaf we had drawn or to label the different parts of the leaf (lobe, stem, vein) and we even copied the Latin name and classifications onto the page.

We did the same thing with flowering trees, bulbs, roses, in the spring.

We did birds in the winter and summer--and the best part of this was that we had a bird feeder right outside the window by the table where we did our homeschooling, so we got close-ups and we could note the seasons the birds were there.  We drew from a book and labeled all the technical names of the parts of a bird.  So when we were out and about, my son would notice things like "the yellow gorget" and so on.  He still remembers all of these things.

Sometimes we wouldn't draw (and my son really was NOT into coloring) but we would go out with a camera and get all the parts of a particular tree--the bark, the ground around it, the leaves, the leaf-clusters, the flowers, close up, far away) and then come home and print that up and stick it in a notebook.  

When I look back on our homeschooling, this is really overall my fondest memory--we had such a great time together; the learning was good for both of us, we got outside, we met the goals, and what I learned has made my life richer.  The only thing I wish is that we had done more of it.  

ETA:  This was in a suburban neighborhood near a park and near a wetlands.  

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3 hours ago, Hunter said:

No, many of the teacher manuals were written in the densest urban areas, and the children were supposed to be taken to the park by way of trolley.

I used to take my boys to a living museum to do the animal studies. There is a post somewhere here about the poetry they wrote about rutting goats. CM with tween boys doesn't go to plan sometimes. LOL. 

Where I am now is just barren desert, but some neighbors have chickens. In some cultures, the poor have chickens in the most crowded situations imaginable, even today. 

I did not bring my HONS with me. I should have. I know how to make it work, now, and I have learned to see that the desert is both more different and more the same than I expected. I could definitely do the cockroach study here. LOL. Used copies of HONS are never on sale cheap. Sigh!

I am replacing books as I find them for the cheapest prices and shipping as possible. That book will be at the end of the list, even though I want it the most. I have PDF copies. I could swear I had a particularly nice copy in my Kindle books, but don't see it now. Sometimes they pull books back and do not inform me. I have had multiple books disappear over the years. I think I have all of the Yesterday's Classics version somewhere on a thumbdrive.

So much of the nature study advice online is people showing off or selling something. Making it look difficult is of benefit to them. I am not the fan of CM and Waldorf that I am of countless other educational leaders of the time that stressed the practical and commonplace, rather than the new and improved versions that these better-known educational leaders used.

Real teachers brought specimens into the classroom and mostly used books. But when they finally did take the big field trip to the park, they had a storehouse of things that the children were already familiar with and that they could apply to what they encountered.

 

Thank you! I did not know that about teachers in urban areas. It's very inspiring. 

Life in a desert sounds romantic although, I'm sure, very hard. I've only seen a desert once and it was one of the most gorgeous experiences of my life.

Edited by Little Green Leaves
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36 minutes ago, Little Green Leaves said:

Thank you! I did not know that about teachers in urban areas. It's very inspiring. 

Life in a desert sounds romantic although, I'm sure, very hard. I've only seen a desert once and it was one of the most gorgeous experiences of my life.

I've started dragging my kids to Riverside Park for lunch 🙂 . I don't make them study anything, though... they just root around in the dirt and enjoy themselves. We've been staying off the sidewalks and away from people. 

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Living in a desert means having very dirty feet. If you open the windows, a fine gray powder blows in and coats everything, especially the floors. The humidity level is so low that your skin gets dry and cracks including your feet, and that grey powder gets in the cracks.

The Bible includes a lot of stuff about washing feet. I now know a lot more about what those scriptures really mean, now that I have had desert feet. Yup, you need oil to "wash" your feet. And this level of dirty if you wear sandals is amazing and is not something that you want to sit down and relax in without washing it off first. Never mind what it does to a house; it worse than any dirty shoes I have ever worn pre-desert experiences. The dirt is not as bad in the gated communities in the suburbs as it is here in the slums. I am not sure what makes it different.

But pre-desert "nature walk", LOL, It was valuable to read commentaries about foot washing. Urban teachers used what they had. CM wrote to people with more resources and encouraged them to do more. That is no different today. Urban schools and families have fewer and different resources. We need to just use what we have, and if possible find people that have similar resources. Ella Frances Lynch wrote to real urban moms.

Steiner (Waldorf guy) was desperate and got kooky. His students were the children of factory workers and they arrived a mess. So, he got kooky, and instead of trying to compete, changed the rules altogether. And then rich people added rich on top of kooky to expand the kooky, and the applicable parts are hard to uncover and brush off enough to apply to other low-income and cold-urban schools and homeschools.

Real widely, glean the bits that work for YOU, and discard the parts written to other audiences, especially paying audiences.

Urban teachers used flowers bought at a florist or they cut up an apple from the corner market. They asked a child with a pet caged bird to bring the bird to school for a day. And then they read books to the children. And they drew pictures on the blackboard with generic chalk and the children copied them with generic writing materials and generic art supplies if they were lucky. 

Start with what you HAVE.

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9 hours ago, Hunter said:

Living in a desert means having very dirty feet. If you open the windows, a fine gray powder blows in and coats everything, especially the floors. The humidity level is so low that your skin gets dry and cracks including your feet, and that grey powder gets in the cracks.

The Bible includes a lot of stuff about washing feet. I now know a lot more about what those scriptures really mean, now that I have had desert feet. Yup, you need oil to "wash" your feet. And this level of dirty if you wear sandals is amazing and is not something that you want to sit down and relax in without washing it off first. Never mind what it does to a house; it worse than any dirty shoes I have ever worn pre-desert experiences. The dirt is not as bad in the gated communities in the suburbs as it is here in the slums. I am not sure what makes it different.

But pre-desert "nature walk", LOL, It was valuable to read commentaries about foot washing. Urban teachers used what they had. CM wrote to people with more resources and encouraged them to do more. That is no different today. Urban schools and families have fewer and different resources. We need to just use what we have, and if possible find people that have similar resources. Ella Frances Lynch wrote to real urban moms.

Steiner (Waldorf guy) was desperate and got kooky. His students were the children of factory workers and they arrived a mess. So, he got kooky, and instead of trying to compete, changed the rules altogether. And then rich people added rich on top of kooky to expand the kooky, and the applicable parts are hard to uncover and brush off enough to apply to other low-income and cold-urban schools and homeschools.

Real widely, glean the bits that work for YOU, and discard the parts written to other audiences, especially paying audiences.

Urban teachers used flowers bought at a florist or they cut up an apple from the corner market. They asked a child with a pet caged bird to bring the bird to school for a day. And then they read books to the children. And they drew pictures on the blackboard with generic chalk and the children copied them with generic writing materials and generic art supplies if they were lucky. 

Start with what you HAVE.

You know, I had always assumed that foot washing in the Bible was a symbolic act. But I guess not. It's amazing when a symbol turns out to be REAL.

Also I had no idea Rudolph Steiner taught the children of factory workers...totally changes my opinion of him. This is all very liberating. I'll be looking into growing garbage. Thank you.

Edited by Little Green Leaves
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