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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relying on who you’re not

IMG_4447IMG_4454 Last weekend we had our friends over. Both of these friends are artists.  I’m talking about painting and drawing type of artists.  That’s not something I would classify myself as “accomplished” at.

My friend asked me if they could bring over supplies to make slime with.  Supplies like beads, sequins, and glitter.

I admit that my insides tightened at the mention of loose glitter coming into my house.   Ever since Olivia poured chunky glitter into her eyes as a toddler twice in one week, glitter of the loose sort has been banned from our house.

Banned.

Glitter glue…okay.  Flaky, loose glitter that sticks to you for weeks…nope.

Here we are, years later with glitter of every shape and color on our kitchen table.

Why?  What has changed in me to allow this abominable craft medium back into our household?

Nothing, really.

Nothing has really changed in me and my thoughts towards glitter.  What has changed is my perspective on what I believe about how my kids are shaped by others.

What’s important for me to remember is that I’m not the only person that has something to teach or offer my children. Everyone that my little peanuts are exposed to have different gifts, experiences, and learning opportunities they can absorb.  I’m not always the “fun mom” that I idealistically want to be.  I can get around this deficit in my personality.  I can allow people who are gifted and passionate about horribly messy crafts and activities the blessing of sharing their excitement with my kiddos.

I know I’m not alone in this distaste of glitter.  The husband of said friend called loose glitter the “herpes of crafts”.

Spreads, can’t get rid of it.

You get the idea.

I was thankful that God pressed on my heart to let someone else do the “fun” thing with my kids. Even my teens couldn’t resist the sparkly mound of activities. Do you have friends like this?  Are you that friend yourself?

I’m happy and grateful to rely on people that I’m not.  It’s truly freeing to rest in who and what I am, and let others do the same.  I believe we all have great things to offer each other.  I don’t need to be all that things myself.

Are you feeling this in your life?  I feel it’s so tempting to try to be the “superwomen” mama.  I find that role so exhausting and unfulfilling. Instead, I want to send up a bat signal when I’m noticing something the kids need that I can’t provide.  I want to call for help and have someone else meet their need alongside me.  I aim to use my resources to expose them to things I would put off or avoid altogether.

You know what?  I am totally willing to do the same for people in my life.  Just as a marriage is made of two different people working towards a common goal, friendships and child-rearing can be the same. Two gifts or talents being exchanged to better the children we long to raise as well as we can.

Don’t carry every burden of this perfect mama illusion you see plastered on the internet. You are enough for your tiny humans.  Every has a special gift to offer another.  Rely on who you are not. That mama is plenty.