We are new converts to Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. I stumbled upon this via my UU Homeschooling group where the owner of Intellego Unit Studies is a member and somehow I came from there to this website which is dedicated to that very book, Handbook of Nature Study.
I love nature anyway, and we do have daily outside time for the kids, and we take enough walks with them to make them really strong hikers. They can walk for miles and miles. We haven't had as many walks in Chisinau as we would have wanted but now we have nature right in our backyard again, a good time as any to start with a more intensive version of our nature study.
I read a few chapters of the book and I have to say, it's lovely. Make no mistake, this is a hefty volume and cannot be touted around during walks. The Blogspot site says very clearly that the book is not a field guide, and it isn't. But it shows you what's important and it's a bottomless pit of interesting information. The book is quite aged, it is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. But nature doesn't change so quickly, and many views that Anna Comstock holds are surprisingly modern:
During many years, I have been watching teachers in our public schools in their conscientious and ceaseless work; and so far as I can foretell, the fate that awaits them finally is either nerve eshaustion or nerve atrophy.
In my belief, there are two and only two occupations for Saturday afternoon or frenoon for a teacher. One is to be out-of-doors and the other is to lie in bed, and the first is best.
She encourages to say "I don't know" when one doesn't -- a concept that must have been very strange in the early 1900s. She doesn't paint nature in rosy tones and doesn't glorify, a tendency of tree-huggers that I've always found a bit strange.
Jacob is doing a new program and his unit right now is about habitats. This tied in nicely with the nature studies, so we decided to do the outdoor challenges that the Blogspot website suggests.
Yesterday, we set out for our first tour of discovery. Our chosen nature study spot is right around my Dad's cabin in the woods. It's lovely there and the kids love it so much. There's tons to discover, like a hidden pond with lots of carp, and the remains of a settlement given up hundreds of years ago. It makes me happy to see my kids roam through the forest, picking up stickss, climbing rocks. Doing this with a bit of reflection afterwards can only be good for them.
We found last night's frost in the shade.
Leah found pine cones and when I showed her from where they came, she was stunned by the enormous trees towering over her.
We found different types of lichen on trees:
We found a dead tree with a curtain of bark hanging down:
We found lots and lots of beech nuts:
Trees. There's something about them, no?
Mommy got to play around with some sun flare:
The kids very gamely posed for a memory photo on what they insisted was the old city wall of the abandonned town:
The plan is to go to this spot every week and observe the changes. Let's see how that works out.