Another weed I have been going by on my walks is the prickly lettuce. Thanks to Barbara from this blog, now I know what this plant is. Apparently, we could even eat it and use it for medicinal purposes, but I will not try that any time soon. I am not that brave.
It’s just good to know names of plants I go by though. I took the kids on a short nature walk to show them this plant just past our neighbor’s house. They drew it and filled out the rest of their notebook page.
My children sketching a prickly lettuce on our street
We split open the stem to see the milk inside, but it had dried up. I guess we got to it too late in the season. However, it was not too late to observe the seeds and the dandelion-like white puffed up flower. Continue reading »
I told you I invested in the Ultimate Naturalist Membership Level at this blog about nature studies. I am going through this year trying it out, seeing how it all fits in with our goals. I know I want my kids to learn as much as possible from nature: rocks, plants, animals, insects – they are all important.
We received so many ebooks and notebooking pages, it is quite possible we will spend years going through these materials. But, for now, it is one weekly lesson at a time.
Watching a youtube video about jewelweed, just before working on their notebooking page.
Last week, we looked at jewelweed. The week before that, it was catfish. While we did not get to go fishing for a catfish, or observe one in a river, we watched the suggested nature videos from youtube. It is a bit disappointing when you cannot study your subject up close and personal. Continue reading »
We have been doing nature walks here and there, but I recently felt impressed to take it more seriously. Childhood obesity rates and nature deficit disorder motivate me to a degree, but the most important reason is that I want my children to learn from the book of nature. Nature is like a book in which we can “read” about our Creator. Then, of course, there is the issue of health and exercise and spending time outdoors and bonding with natural things.
Ready for a nature walk
As I was wondering how to proceed in a more systematic fashion, I received an email from Handbook of Nature Study, a blog I subscribe to and use off and on. I remembered how they have this great membership site now and they offer so much for so little. Plus, they sent a coupon for the summer (the offer ended a few days ago, I think, but I am sure they will offer more coupons as the seasons change, so stay tuned).
Wild daisies near our home
I invested in the Ultimate Naturalist Library because I will do these activities if I pay for them. It is human nature. We don’t always appreciate free things. But if we pay for a book, we are probably going to read it. In this case, we are talking about a lot of nature walks and challenges in order to discover our backyard and the different species of flora and fauna around us. It will also motivate us to get outside.
My son and I are taking ski lessons this year. Ober Gatlinburg offers a special program to homeschoolers in January and February. The age minimum is seven.
My son and I during our first ski lesson
Oh, the lessons we learned as we went to our first lessons last Sunday! In no particular order, we learned how to:
pick up skis, poles, and helmets
rent a locker for our own boots
return said rentals
“park” said rentals so we could go have lunch
fall the right way
get up the right way
get into skis the right way
turn left and right
stop on a bunny hill
come to a stop on an intermediate hill
get back up a hill when there is no chair lift
persevere through the fear and discouragement
stop laughing at people who fall
help those who ask for help
make a phone call without cell signal
I can’t say enough about this first powder day. The fears we faced and overcame probably rank highest on my list of accomplishments so far this year. Many thanks to my son who was my teacher in the subject of Perseverance. At seven, he knows how to persevere. He kept falling and could not even get back up. He got so tangled in his skis and poles, the teacher had to walk over to help him many times. And he got up. Again, and again, and again. Continue reading »
A couple of months ago, I discovered that the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture offers several free tours for families with children. Stroller tours are such events. As the name suggests, it is intended for adults who care for small children, ages 0-4. Since my youngest is still four, I decided to take advantage of this window of opportunity and try out a Stroller Tour.
The kids in front of the McClung Museum
In short, we loved it. We are going back until she turns five next year. Then, we’ll have to make a decision: beg to be admitted for more as an exception to the age rule, or beg for something similar to be offered for school-age children. When there’s a will, there’s a way. Hopefully.
The October Stroller Tour was called Birds, Bugs and Blooms – Natural History Illustration from the 1500s-1800s. The exhibit itself will stay up through January, so you have a few more months to check it out. As a publishing person, I was fascinated with the history of books dealing with natural illustrations. My kids loved the pictures and the museum itself. Continue reading »
My plan was to spend at least two hours outside today. We are playing catch-up with time outside.
It has been raining lately and I have been busy with different projects, so I did not make outdoorsy time a priority. My children play so well indoors, away from screens, and I did not want to deal with bugs and/or DEET and sunscreen (there, I said it!) – it was easy to forget how important it is for them to be outside.
Well, we ended up spending five hours. We left after two hours because I had a planning meeting with other Sevier County Homeschooling Group moms, then they had swims lessons. On the way back from swim lessons, we stopped at the park again, for almost three hours. Continue reading »
I have a small garden where I play “Farmer.” It’s only 4’x8′ and I don’t expect to feed my family from it. But if we can get some veggies every year while the children experience the cycle of sowing, weeding, watering and harvesting, I am happy.
The Handbook of Nature Study blog challenged us to study mosquitoes. I hesitated because I really dislike mosquitoes. But how long can I keep avoiding Ms. Barbara’s challenges?
We live in a heavily wooded neighborhood and, as such, mosquitoes abound. One morning I got bitten 10 times on my legs while watering my small garden. Not fun.
Another day I wore long pants and long sleeves for protection, in 88F weather, and I still got bitten, through clothing.
Meanwhile, I am trying to rise to the challenge of spending at least two hours outside with the kids, every day. I have been spraying our clothes with repellents of the “deep woods” variety and mosquitoes still bite us. Continue reading »