Nature Study: Mission Impossible?

 

meanwhile, the kids continue with their fascination with plants, animals, bugs, and other creepy crawlies. they caught one unfamiliar insect and demanded that we sketch it in our nature journals. 

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i’ve been neglecting our time out in nature. need to refocus and push myself out the door to breath in the fresh air. it’s always good for me and the kids to have that daily dose of the outdoors or at least a focused study every week; to explore and enjoy nature. there are a lot of factors that are keeping us indoors. one of which are the pesky mosquitos especially now that it’s the rainy season. another factor is the thought of bringing all 4 kids out in the not-so-kid- friendly outdoors. there are not much play areas here in Manila where kids can run and climb. instead, indoor playgrounds are built in malls with limited space. it’s just not the same as having the real thing under the sun.

lack of parks and trails have been one of the MAJOR adjustments we had to deal with since we came home from the US. but i realized i’m the only one uncomfortable and always coming up with reasons not to go out. the kids don’t need a playground to enjoy the outdoors. i can always prepare and keep mosquitos away. i just have to put my mind to it and plan it out.

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fortunately, the kids have grown to love exploring and discovering. it has become second nature to them. they get excited whenever they see bugs or a plant that looks a bit different. they question why moss is usually seen in shady parts or why millipedes are suddenly everywhere during the rainy season. little observations and questions like these, done daily, hopefully add to their growing appetite for knowledge. i guess being outdoors is a natural way of encouraging curiosity. i shouldn’t stop them from exploring just because it’s inconvenient for me.

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but i need more energy and more “manpower” to do this every week, rain or shine.

so, this was my solution: i asked dear husband to help me by taking over this “subject” :) at least, the going-out-to-explore part. i tend to over plan things and if the situation is not ideal or not close to what i’ve planned - then it usually doesn’t happen. but with husband's spontaneity, he gets things done even if the situation is far from ideal. 

of course, he agreed.

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every monday morning, he will be in charge of leading us to see, smell, feel, hear and maybe even taste the outdoors.  

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for those of you wanting to start nature study with your kids, here is an outstanding resource: Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock. it’s more for the parent teacher than the child. it is a “living science” book, as opposed to a dry textbook, that is meant to guide, encourage, teach and entice the reader to explore and know more about what is out there. 

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and you can download it here for free.

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but more than anything, just take those little ones outside and enjoy what nature has to offer.
 
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Charlotte Mason was quite clear about not *teaching* science during the early years. instead, she encouraged hours and hours of outdoor time and close observation of creation. the objective being to nurture curiosity and a sense of wonder. the idea is to establish a relationship with nature first than right away give scientific facts about all sorts. but since homeschooling here in the Philippines is somewhat regulated, i have to comply and teach science the way most traditional schools teach it. apart from nature studies, we are using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU). unlike other textbooks, the focus of this resource is conceptual understanding not on memorizing scientific facts. it is not a textbook but more of a resource for the instructor. we try and do *science* daily for 10 minutes (short lessons do wonders!). dear son loves it. i will write a post about BFSU soon.

 

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