After attempting different ideas since September, I am now inclined to have a monthly theme as a basis of our nature study. I think having a theme to work on each month will help us to have a more focused purpose in our nature exploration (well, for the ones that I do with Tiger anyway), and for me to organise learning materials more efficiently.
Our November theme was Evergreen. My jump-off point these days has been a nature book by Enid Blyton. It is one of the rare living books about nature written for children in the UK.
This book is written has 12 chapters - one for each month of the year. Each chapter contains descriptions of two nature walks that three children take with their very knowledgeable uncle. There is a surprising amount of detailed and well-observed nature notes being woven into the stories, so that makes a very good pre-walk reading for Tiger and I. I read the first part of the November walk at the beginning of this month, afterwhich we went out for a walk to observe what we had just read about: fog and mist. It was certainly very damp that day!
Our second walk in November, according to the book, was to observe evergreens on a sunny day.
This was easy to do, since by now most of the deciduous trees have shed their leaves.
We didn't have to go very far to find numerous evergreens.
Observating and identifying evergreens is a good start. We went a little further by taking some samples home to learn for ourselves why and how evergreens have leaves all year round. The answer is in the texture and shapes of the leaves, compared to those of deciduous leaves.
Along the same theme of evergreen vesus deciduous plants, we did an experiment to see whether we could 'trick' a deciduous plant to hang on to its leaves a little longer than it would have if left out in nature, by placing a branch with a few remaining leaves in a glass of water indoors with good light. As this experiment was done after our second walk, it took us a long time to find a branch with any deciduous leaf left since nearly all the decidous trees have shed their leaves by then. The idea for the experiment came from yet another Janice vanCleave book.
|Day 5 - leaves still intact but going more brown and brittle|
|Day 13 - leaves are turning very brown, but still hanging on to the branch!|
The best part of our nature study efforts this month has been seeing Tiger reading more of the Enid Blyton book by himself after our formal lessons were done.
This post is linked up to several blog hops, where you can visit to see what other homeschoolers have been busy with. It is also linked to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Music and Composer Study edition.