Because we are out more, I figured I would finally get a chance to do more of a traditional Charlotte Mason type nature study. The concept is simple... Go outside, spend time observing, ask questions about what you see, use a guide to learn about what you experience, and then journal/record the info with a drawing. That seems reasonable, right? I had envisioned my children and I sitting on our picnic quilt, reading stories and drawing together. I anticipated them having eager and intelligent questions that provoked really wonderful discussion. I thought I would be patient and have all kinds of enthusiasm.
Um..... Then there was the reality of it all.
My children are so distracted outside, I end up with one child practically memorizing the nature guide, one drawing pictures of stop lights, one rolling down a hill, and one pouting and glaring at me. Pretty close, right? Of course, I handle it with grace and love every time.... orrrrr I loose it for a few minutes, and threaten public school, chores, and dictionary copying. Maybe I chill and switch topics, and we end up searching for shapes in the clouds and forgetting our frustrations. Sometimes, it actually goes well. It works even better when you don't all get eaten by fire ants. Sometimes nature study works when you aren't necessarily OUT in nature.
We had an animal scavenger hunt, in which the children had to learn about the habitats, physical characteristics, and anticipated care of many pet shop critters. Thanks to an experience with a large green lizard this spring, I have 4 little reptile obsessed students. I have never seen (read:paid attention to) so many reptiles in a pet store! There is a chameleon at our PetCo that I couldn't stop looking at. It was beautiful... ish. Have you ever seen their feet? This little guy was having a blast showing us how his weird feet worked. He even changed colors twice!