Thursday, May 17, 2012

Discovering Spring




 Around here, April does not really count as spring, 
since it normally snows throughout the month,
 so real spring
- to us-
 begins in May with May showers, jumping in mud puddles,
 and discovering critters of all kinds in our yard and the woods around.

 While flowers may be few at his time of year, 
amphibians are not.
  The children have found new slimy friends nearly everyday, much to their excitement. 
 Gabe, however, dislikes them greatly,
protesting and screaming at each new find. 
By this, even when I am in the house,
 I always know when some one will come racing to me to show me 
their wonderful surprise.








Observing these animals,
as well as birds at the bird feeder,
 listening for their individual calls, 
finding spring flowers in the woods, (such as every one's favorite- Trillium)
 and talking about Spring weather
 has constituted our Nature Journal for May.
 This is the most delightful time of year for Nature Journals. 
 Our 6 months of winter have furnished in us a passionate desire for
 warm sunshine
and green grass, 
so much so that we endeavor each day to find some way of doing our learning
 outside.

In our fast paced, entertainment driven society,
sitting quietly and listening for bird calls
 is a discipline that we need to teach our children,
one we need to foster in ourselves.
To escape all the technology,
 all that  screams for our attention,
and enter the solitude of the forest
 letting God's wondrous creations
calm,
soothe,
 inspire,
 and bring us to our knees in awe of
Him,
 to do this,
 is my idea of perfect education. 




Having ventured out for a beautiful hike overlooking the lake a few days ago,
 today we open the journals and books to write down our observations and finds,
 what we learned,  putting the entire event into a report or a story,
 or even a poem. 
With a passel of students, we can make one event translate into preschool, kindergarten,
 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade learning.
For example, we saw several Yew trees, which are used to make traditional bows.
I might have Joe research how this is done, and what other things Yew trees are useful for.
This is a great time to try using new vocabulary words, and build our writing skills. 
Jim is interested in flowers,
 so he will be looking up the different varieties we saw.
 It is always interesting to see each student's perspective, the same event from their individual eyes. 
 This can reveal a great deal of how they think and perceive.

 Preschoolers simply draw a picture, 
usually quite triumphantly,
 of our excursion. 
 Gabe and Bethany love to have their own nature journals
 to chronicle their learning just like the big kids.
I always write captions below their art work so that we know what it is.
(Smile.)
I also help them write the date and the weather, so they feel like it is real school.

Fairly often, we can spend a whole week writing after a nature walk.
  One day of drawing, 
one or two days for a report complete with any research that is needed,
 one day for story telling of how the walk unfolded, 
or a letter to Grammy describing the occasion.

If children are reluctant to wander outdoors,
 reading a book such as (our current bedtime story), 
The Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton-Porter
 is a great jump start to encourage them to explore and learn.
Our children have a new found interest in moths and butterflies since we began reading this book.
 They are much more careful to look at their surroundings 
in hopes of discovering a Caterpillar or cocoon.


In the past few months, I have learned just how important it is
 to do things that are energizing to me,
 and figure out new ways to handle the things that are most draining.
For a home schooling mama who would rather be outdoors, 
 nature walks, a hike, or just sitting and observing right outside the door
 makes for an invigorating way to spend my day.





" A shivering movement went over the moth. 
 The wings drooped and spread wider. 
 Mrs. Comstock sank into soft awed tones. 
 "There never was a moment in my life," she said,
"when I felt so in the Presence, as I do now.  
I fell as if the Almighty were so real, and so near,
 that I could reach out and touch Him, as I could this wonderful work of His, if I dared. 
 I feel like saying to Him:  
To the extent of my brain power I realize Your presence,
 and all it is in me to comprehend of Your power. 
 Help me to learn, even this late, the lessons of Your wonderful creations. 
 Help me to unshackle and expand my soul to the fullest realization of Your wonders.  
Almighty God, make me bigger, make me broader!"
The Girl of the Limberlost  - pp 283.


"This is my Father's world, 
and to my listening ear, 
all nature sings and round me rings, 
the music of the spheres."

O the glory of discovering Spring!

4 comments:

Mrs.Rabe said...

Gorgeous! We love the outdoors and hiking...

That last photo is stunning!

Deanna

Emily Fay said...

It looks like you are enjoying lots of nature's lovliness near you! We have been enjoying being out in it as well ~ Have a blessed weekend ~

Serving A Generation for Jesus said...

So nice to see your spring activities. I just want to transport myself away from my bustling Seattle life and spend a day on your mountain! Thanks for sharing your families stories and the beautiful nature around you. :-)

Aidyl Ewoh said...

Just saw your blog for the first time. Looks like you live in a very amazing place. All those little critters…. When I was younger I had so much fun being able to catch them! Well… Maybe I still do at times.
Mom’s who let their kids play with them are great. =)

http://aidylewoh.blogspot.com/2012/05/mom.html
(A post where I thank my mom for putting up wiht all my pets. ^)
~Aidyl