organic learning: nature walks

A decade has passed since I first heard of nature studies. Nature studies are very popular in the Charlotte Mason school philosophy.  I admit that I never really did nature walks.  When my tiny humans were even more tiny, I had no energy to make it out-of-doors much.  I dreamed of the day I would actually enjoy the idea instead of feeling the burden of packing a picnic lunch.

For the most part I do believe we have arrived in my formally imaginative ideal.  If you are in the mind-set of my formal self, please do not feel judged that your children do not know all the species of trees.  Mine either.

I was surprised that after all the avoiding of the outdoors, my kids shocked the pants off of me today with their knowledge.  They identified racoon tracks, deer tracks, coyote scat, bat remains, bat guano, dragon flies, cranes, black birds, gopher skulls, and owl pellets. This is just around the corner from where we live.  We are very fortunate to have a free nature conservatory so close to home.  We really scored on our observations.

While I wasn’t brave enough to adventure with the kids when they were small, I did expose them to lots of wonderful books and some long documentaries. Thank goodness they love to read and learn.  I recommend this method if you want to expose your children to nature and the love of it, but nap times for babies and mental health for mama aren’t making these outings common.  They’ve gotten older and more self-sufficient.  Nature outings aren’t as taxing on me these days.

When they were smaller, I tried to point out beautiful things whenever it came up in a regular day.  All I really taught them was to be aware of what is out there.  Their natural interests and book reading takes the credit for all else. I’m just in awe of today, and how much they all knew and saw.

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Today was amazing because we got to spend this day in nature with our dear granny nanny. She has taken some time off from being with us, and it was so nice to see her again.  We are so blessed that God has brought her through some tough years, and brought her to the place where she speaks so much truth and love to us.  She is amazing.

Today was a good day.

 

 

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Book picks for homeschool

I have scoured the internet for books to purchase this school year.  I’m a huge lover of books, but not a fan of clutter. I have gone through all the books in my house over the last year, and gotten rid of about 70%.  That being said, I was choosy about what to purchase and what to borrow from our beloved library.

Also, a lover of our amazing local library.

We have finally picked our supplemental books for our 2018-2019 school year.  These books are one I know my kids will read over and over.  Since we are going through lots of American History and Marine Biology there is a theme.  This summer we are gearing up for natures walks/studies as well.

I am stunned by the quality and beauty of these amazing books.

Science: 

This year all kids are learning about Marine Biology from Apologia Science. I decided our water-color time and free art time should be filled with not only some wonderful nature books, but also some sea life inspiration.  Perhaps you didn’t know this about me…I love the ocean.  I also live in Arizona.  Until that ocean front property becomes available here, books get me through my time away from the big blue.

20 Ways to Draw a Jellyfish

1000 Things Under the Sea

Nature Anatomy

The Curious Nature Guide

Wildflowers of Arizona

History/Geography

This year we are going through the Good and the Beautiful History 1.  There is an emphasis on US History.  These books are wonderful supplement the kids can enjoy anytime.  They love quizzing each other.  I’m a huge fan of placing books in the living room and not saying a word.  They just migrate towards them and learn.  Shhh.  They didn’t know I did that on purpose.

The Presidents

The 50 States

I hope you check out these titles for your kids too.  Supplementing curriculum with rich and beautiful books is one of my favorite purchasing endeavors for homeschool.  What books have you loved in your house lately?  Please suggest some in the comments.

 

 

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patience and promises

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I have a little friend that saved my schedule everyday. This friend reminds me what I need to do, things I need to mail, work training events, doctor appointments (there are always those).  This little friend is my planner.  It’s a paper planner.  I learned of my need for one of these in high school.

I used to forget things all the time. I’ve shown up late and a week early to events more than once in my life. Only in the last four years have I gone back to the planner. Although I’ve always had a home calendar with all things written, I needed something I could take with me.  Enter my recent planner obsession.

My best-laid plans still fail.

A few day ago Josie had physical therapy.  We signed in, waited a few minutes, and out came the therapist to inform us that we were an hour and a half late.

Perfect.

Thankfully, he had another patient not show up at all.  We had our session.  Driving an hour to see the PT didn’t turn out bad.

The very next day I wasn’t so lucky.  I drove another hour to take Isabel for oral surgery.  This time the mistake wasn’t my fault.  They informed me that we were a week early when I know that I didn’t schedule it on that day since I am scheduled to work then.

My favorite.

Isabel wasn’t too sad about it.  She hasn’t been looking forward to the surgery.  I for one was not excited. I could think of nothing but the fact that I on;y came to town for this.  I wasted two hours of my life driving for nothing.  Nothing.  I was so upset by this mistake.  I have so little “extra” time in my life right now.  Shall I mention how disrupted school was because of this?

Driving home I was reminded that I’m impatient.  God is always reminding me of this in His gentle way.

He reminds me that I need to release control. I need to relax.  He whispers to me to let things be.  To rest.  His soft prodding compels me to sabbath.  I’m so task-oriented.  What I took from the hour drive on the way home was the promise of his presence.

He’s there when I’m checking things off my list.  He’s there when I’m sharing moments with the kids.  Still, He makes himself known during a scary call at work.  He’s there when I royally mess up.   He gives me victories through his grace.

His promises never fail.

He promises to never leave me or forsake me.

He knows that plans He has for me to strengthen me and prosper me. To give me a hope and a future.

He is with me, even to the ends of the Earth.

I know these truths.  These are the thoughts and verses that come to mind when life seems overwhelming.  Life is so hard, and busy, and tiring.  God is so easy, and still and restoring.

Our lives aren’t meant to be flawless.  The Holy Spirit guides and directs us the The Father through all situations, if we are keen to listen. Do you need to hear this now?  I know I do.   I constantly need the reassurance that I’m not stepping out-of-place in my walk.

I thrive on knowing that patience is being worked in me through all the hurdles that come my way on this race of life.

I rest and refresh in the promises of God.

Just when I am at the peak of frustration and inconvenience, God paints a rainbow across the farm.  Our happy place of the world that he has provided so well for us.  The peace of coming home after a day’s travel to see the reminder of all that hope that is in Him, works just a tad more patience in this wild heart of mine.