Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up - The One Filled with Nature Studies

We've had a week filled with nature studies, and it has been great! T helped me cut back some old, dead branches from these lilac bushes that haven't been taken care of for years (it appears). We've lived in this home for one year now, and there is still a lot of work to be done in our yard, but we are making progress.

There's a few signs of Spring around and that is really exciting! We've spent a lot of time out in our yard this week. It's very muddy with all the snow melting, but that's what boots are for (and washing machines)!

The children are pretty sure this is a chickadee, but more specifically a black-capped chickadee.

Here are the three bird feeders we have out right now. We have a toilet paper roll bird feeder, a birdseed biscuit, and a regular bird feeder. This weekend (February 18-21) is the Great Backyard Bird Count. We hope to be able to report some birds we see in our backyard. We sat out for 15 minutes today and saw NOTHING until our time was up and then we saw 2 or 3 birds, but they weren't still long enough for us to identify them.

This is our Christmas tree out in the woods behind our home. I had my husband put it out there to provide a habitat for the birds, but I am now considering moving it closer to our bird feeders to attract more birds to watch. We will either make more toilet paper roll bird feeders or some pine cone bird feeders to place on the tree.

We did more than just nature studies this week. We are almost finished up with our study on the Revolutionary War. We started a new read aloud book this week, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, and we are enjoying it so far. T and K are moving forward in their cursive writing, math, typing, Latin, and Spelling lessons. L is progressing as a reader and writer, and we are doing a lot of fun online math practice and math games together! K taught L this week a lot about geography (just two sisters playing school together). I was AMAZED at what L can identify on the globe now all because her big sister is a great teacher!

K is still taking weekly piano lessons, and T gets in a couple of drum lessons in each month with his Dad. K will be joining a piano guild this Fall, and she is excited about that because she thinks it will be like being a part of a club!

I am trying to make school more fun. I go through waves as a teacher - sometimes it's just all serious lesson planning, and other times I get creative and motivated and I make learning more fun for my children. For me, the easy road is to just read aloud to the children, do the oral or written narrations, have them do their daily work that is all written out for them on their daily checklists, and then just be done with it. I want to incorporate more hands-on activities for my children to enjoy, and I want to have more creative activities for my girls. I have been reading more about what Charlotte Mason called "handicrafts" and I'm talking to the children about things that interest them and will be making plans and purchases soon (I hope). This week with all the nature studies, it has been a breath of fresh air (figuratively and literally) for us as a family, and I am thankful.

I would like to close this weekly wrap-up post with a couple Charlotte Mason quotes about nature.

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things."

"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life."

Even if you are not a Charlotte Mason educator, I would encourage you to take a little time with your children, slow down, and explore God's beautiful creation together!

To read more weekly wrap-up posts, head over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!


Unknown said...

Stopping by from the Weekly Wrap-up! Definitely looks like a Black-capped Chickadee! (Check out the bottom of my Weekly Wrap-up post as I have a picture of one as well...They're Maine's State bird.) Looking forward to signs of spring here! (We still have 16-18 inches of snow on the ground.) LOVE Mason, but don't follow EVERYTHING - mostly just nature studies, art/music studies, short lessons, lots of real books, narration (we call it "discussion"), and copywork. Fun week!


Annie Kate said...

What a lot of nature! And how nice to have real spring! Our children couldn't stay outside today, because the wind was so strong it pushed them across the ice!

Thanks for stopping by!

Annie Kate