In our homeschool we have been making the most of the glorious weather and observing the changes in nature.
Nature study is an integral part of our homeschool curriculum. We make an effort to try to spend at least two hours every day outdoors. Sometimes this is at the park, or nature reserves, sometimes we go for country walks…and when the weather is not great we just do a bit of gardening and play in our back garden!
Being outdoors is so important for children. It encourages creativity, concentration, and even improves academic performance! If you’d like to know more about this, please check out last months Nature Study in the City blog post.
But there’s more than just the physical and academic benefits…
I find that being in nature reaffirms my faith! I know it sounds crazy, but witnessing creation in all its beautiful complexity, makes me certain there is a creator, and I want my children to experience this too.
Nature study is not only for those who live in the picturesque countryside. If you, like our family, live in a city there are many ways you can teach your child about nature too.
Here is what we did for Nature Study this April:
Observing the Seasonal Changes
Change is all around us! We’ve spent a lot of time taking note of the new flowers that are appearing and teaching the children their names.
We’ve paid particular focus to the primose and bluebell, looking at its petal and leaves, and where they grow.
Another focus of our nature study has been bird-spotting! We recently purchased a pair of Children’s Binoculars
. They have been so useful and a sure-fire way to get the kids involved in our bird-watching.
|They spotted two jays up there!|
It’s been a lot of fun looking for bird’s nests in the trees and trying to listen out for baby chicks! The kids love creeping up on the nests, and looking for ‘clues’ on the ground that there might be babies in the nest.
We’ve been using this book the Usborne Spotter’s Guide: Birds
to help identify the birds we’ve seen. I’m pretty good at the larger birds, but I need help when it comes to the small finches and tits.
It’s a bit of a spring-time tradition of ours to raise Caterpillars
and watch them turn into butterflies. The boys were over-the-moon and decided to make them a card to welcome them to the family! They’ve been named Roy, Joy, Poi, Moi and….Jibreel! Oh I hope none of them die!
They arrived in this small tub, that contained all the food they would need. We have watched them grow bigger and bigger, and we are now waiting anxiously for them to make their cocoons. When they do, we will carefully move them into our butterfly habitat, and watch them emerge. It’s all so exciting!
We have set up a small ‘invitation to play‘ in the corner of our kitchen. Along with the caterpillars, I have set up a Magnifying Glass
and a Usborne Book of Caterpillars and Butterflies
to encourage independent learning.
The children began planting their garden last month. Their sunflowers are growing well…too well! I have no idea what we’re are going to do with them all! They also have runner beans growing and we just planted some nasturtium seeds too.
|Planting nasturtium seeds|
|Watering his runner beans|
Whenever we go out, my 3-year-old son always insists on bringing a few ‘finds’ home with him.
We had accumulated so many leaves, twigs and stones that, instead of throwing out when he wasn’t looking!… I decided to respect his interest and give him a corner of our home to store them. He stores flowers, leaves and twigs in one tub, stones in another, and anything else in the other one.
|His grownig collection!|
It’s so wonderful to watch his love of nature grow and to see the pride he takes in his collection.
We have been using this diagram from a Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth
picture book to help us identify the stones he has collected. I’m learning so much myself!
I hope this will encourage you to get outside with your children, wherever you live and enjoy the wonders of Spring!
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In need of your duaas.