Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nature Study at Rossmont

This week's topic on the blog cruise is: How do you do nature studies where YOU live?

While I was growing up, my parents were pretty thorough in instilling a love of nature in my brothers' and my hearts. My mom took us "birding" many times. My dad took us backpacking in the Smokies as often as we could. They took us to The Outer Banks of North Carolina, camping....and chasing the ghost crabs at night. They allowed us to have nearly any kind of pet you can imagine.

When I was at boarding school, during my high school years, we had Sabbath afternoon hikes every week. I went on those hikes every week that I did not have Sabbath duty in the nursing home connected to the school at which we students worked as part of our vocational education.

I would also "soak up nature" on a daily basis, when I would walk to and from the nursing home, or any where else on campus, and I would share my enjoyment with my roommates, friends, whoever was close enough to listen! ;) And I would write poems about nature, and photograph the things of nature.

My first husband (who was my high school sweetheart) was also as much into nature as I was. So it was pretty much an unspoken understanding that we would be passing that love of nature on to our children.

I began that education while those babies were still in the womb!  And after they were born, while we would take walks, I would ask them: "Who made the trees (or other things in nature)?"


"Why did He make the trees?"

"Because He loves us!!"

We would take walks in nature, point out birds, trees, flowers, and other beautiful things. We would take drives to the majestic mountains in Montana, and hike out in the peaceful wilderness.

Then we moved to Florida, where my folks live in an area surrounded by woods. Mom and Dad have bird feeders which attract all kinds of birds...Squirrels and other wildlife are attracted as well!! ;)

I have also tried teaching them about conservation, and endangered species. While in Florida, we would attend the Whooping Crane flyover in our town every year. (To learn more about the Whooping Crane migration, go here. It is about time to start keeping track of the Whoopers, because they are now in training for their flight south)

A couple years ago we moved to a little town in rural Mississippi. We are blessed with around three acres of land...and a dogwood tree just outside my bedroom window (which also has a garden swing sitting underneath it!).

So now we have bird feeders at which we can observe birds. My favorite time of the year is the hummingbird migration season....which is right now! We have hummingbird feeders on all sides of our house, but they seem to like the one at my bedroom window the best. They swarm it by the dozens! They will even come to the feeder if we are standing right there, or even when I am holding the feeder.

The children and I work on our life bird lists. I even recently began posting mine on my nature blog, in the side bar.

We don't live far from national forest land, so occasionally we drive there, to take a walk in the forest. Now that each child has a camera of his/her own, they are free to take photos of what they find. I try to encourage them to also share their experiences in words/verse...but we are still learning how to do that.

We also read a lot of books, and watch videos, to learn about the things of nature. Currently, one of my favorite resources would be the nature study guides that Mrs. Jane Lambert has put together.  We've also used Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You.

I really hope, and pray, that my love and enthusiasm for nature is being absorbed by the kids, and that they will realize that nature is truly God's second book (the first Book is the Bible), and that they will learn to read nature's pages in order to learn more about God, and His infinite love for us.

I hope you will be inspired to incorporate nature study in to your home school, or in to your personal daily life.

To read what my fellow TOS Crew mates have read, go here.

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