A year of nature study

The Charlotte Mason method of education places a huge amount of emphasis on nature study and of being outdoors, especially in the early years. CM has been the method we’ve adopted most really, but the nature study was always hard to implement. Last year we made a big push to try and do as much as we could. We love being outside, but sometimes just getting there is hard.

So what have we done in the past year? Well…

* mammal trapping
* bird watching – at coasts, lakes, rivers and general countryside
* moth trapping
* bat walks – lots of these!
* feeding and watching the birds
* wildflower walks
* mini beast hunts
* pond dipping
* owl pellet dissection
* waterfall watching
* outdoor photography
* orienteering
* fungi walks
* fun in the snow!
* astronomy evenings
* close studies of stuff
* Alex made a pond
* hedgehog spotting in the garden
* lots of arts and crafts
* butterfly surveys
* our monthly home ed groups
* we started going to a new monthly wildlife walk, not aimed at kids but we’ve been welcomed there.

Wow – quite a lot really! I think I can safely say that we brought nature study to the forefront of our home ed this past year (when to be quite honest, we’ve been fairly relaxed on every other front).

I do think we could improve more on the frequency of being out, and trying to spend longer outdoors. Maybe this year we can try and eat outdoors more and spend more time in the garden. But other than that, I think another year like this one would be pretty good!

There are some things that we have outgrown. We went to the local nature reserve the other week to do a mini beast hunt, but it was pitched at way below M & A and actually their knowledge wasn’t that far off the rangers that day! We now go to a ‘wildlife wander’ once a month that isn’t aimed at kids (as it’s on a school day) but we’re welcome there and it has a very knowledgeable ecologist (retired I think) who runs the walk. So even though we’ve outgrown some stuff, seems like there might be more if we keep our eyes peeled.

Our local home ed nature reserve day is going to be changing too, we won’t be getting the ranger anymore for free, but possibly we’ll all still go along and try to do some nature inspired stuff if we can work it out. Such a shame though and definitely the end of an era – I was looking at our very old blog and saw this post from 2005 when we had been before. I hope we can continue in some way.

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3 Responses to A year of nature study

  1. janhmmn says:

    That all sounds fantastic stuff. I’d love to do more nature stuff, but struggle with lack of enthusiasm from the children, with (usually) the exception of M.

  2. Michelle says:

    It’s amazing how much of any subject you do over a year when you write it up but that’s a seriously impressive nature stuff list.

  3. Wow! You did do a lot! I need to write all of ours down in one list at the end of the year, because I know it’ll feel like we did more than I think we did. We’re planning to get back into doing more nature study on a more regular basis — ideally, weekly.

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