Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Nature Study

When I first read about Charlotte Mason's teaching method, I was very enamored with the idea of nature study. What better way to get the kiddos outside, paying attention to their surroundings and learning at the same time! I've scheduled nature walks for Wednesday afternoons, and we've been hit and miss about taking them for about two years now. You can read more about Charlotte Mason and nature study at these websites:

At the beginning of this school year I found the blog at handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com. Harmony Art Mom has put together a great online "Outdoor Hour Challenge" using Anna Botsford Comstock's "Handbook of Nature Study". She has links to some great nature journal notebooking pages, coloring pages, nature identification pages, etc. She has also created e-books containing her challenges if one wants to purchase them. We've been slowly working our way through some of her challenges, with some periodic breaks in between.

Last week we were to pick a focus area to study and the kids picked birds; there's not much else out and about this time of year. The only bird they saw last week was the crow. We were hoping to see something else this week.

This week we were on challenge #6-Collections. (See, I told you we were slow) The weather was decent today, so armed with our binoculars, camera, and field guide, we went outside to see what we could find. They kept their eyes and ears open-most of the time-and were able to identify some additional birds:

  • Yellow Billed Magpie
  • Western Scrub Jay
  • Turkey Vulture (they think-it was too far away to really tell)
  • American Crow
  • Anna's Hummingbird


They also discovered a nest and alot of little birds flitting around so fast that we weren't able to identify them.

Conman took the collection part seriously and carried his plastic baggie along to collect specimens. He found:

  • A feather (in keeping with the bird focus)
  • A Douglas Fir Cone
  • What appears to be an Austrian Pine Cone-however my i.d. skills are lacking!
  • A White Pine Cone
  • A Prickly Ball from a Sweet Gum Tree


About the only speck of color we saw was this little yellow flower (weed?) It remains unidentified at this time:

When we got home they listed their finds on their running list of birds. They list the date, location, bird name, Latin name & any comments they want to make. If they want to they can draw and picture in their nature journal or color a coloring page.

The only other unusual and interesting thing I came across on our walk was this:



He also still remains unidentified.....


















2 comments:

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Hi Shannon,

Thanks for sharing your link to your nature study entry. I really enjoyed reading how the OHCs are going with your children and seeing your lists of things you are observing. Your hummingbird looks really familiar and we have several that Anna's that still frequent our feeder even though it is winter.

I think your yellow flower is a wild radish. I spent some time two years ago trying to figure this flower out: http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com/2008/01/winter-wildflower-identified-california.html
It is an early bloomer and it can be yellow or purplish too. It is considered an envasive species and you see it along the highway a lot.

Have a great week...in between rains. :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Shannon said...

Hi Barb-

Thanks for your comments and for the link to the wild radish information. It does look like that's what it could be. We found it growing on the side of the road.

Shannon

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