I am starting a new blog to really focus on scenes from homeschooling. It’s meant to encourage and share the lifestyle that we lead as a Catholic home educating family. My hope is to focus on particular books and methods we have used over the last 16 years. and talk about what has worked for us, and still works for us.
I have mentioned to many that Charlotte Mason has inspired a lot of my home education philosophy. Something she espoused as rather important were nature walks. I have to admit, sometimes this is a tough one for us. Due to a lot of medical issues, consistently getting outside can be challenging. We go in spurts, sometimes spending the summer at the beach and going for long hikes, others tethered to aerosol machines and seeing more of clinics and ER’s than beaches and trails. BUT…this summer….we are grabbing the moments when we can, going outside, right in our neighborhood, and taking short nature walks. After a brutal winter, both health and weather wise, we need time outside!
For Lily, this means grabbing my old camera and taking pictures of bunnies in other people’s yards….crawling up a driveway to watch a cat drowsily bat at the air and Lily’s little outreached hands…..and stuffing her tiny pack full of flowers, weeds, and seeds to explore under her handy little microscope.
This is nothing fancy, but oh did it delight Lily. At first glance, a “nature walk” seems almost too simplistic to be of value for “education.” What I see, though, over the years, in spite of our uneven efforts and execution, these little moments really are important. Slow, steady observation of the world (without a lot of input from us) is so soothing to our young ones. My kids need to breathe, walk slowly, see the clump of weeds with pretty flowers, the drainpipe that’s so cool, listen to the birds calling out to each other…..it all sounds so easy, but it belies a deeper meaning than just gathering flowery weeds and taking pictures of cute rabbits. My kids, both young and older, need to step out of the bubble of lit screens and I-somethings….to take in the one is I AM. And you know what? I need it, too. No agenda, no whipping out field studies or making drawings of all we studied, just breathing and “noticing.”
Now for some logistics. I’ve tried to do nature walks for years with my four older boys, and I have to admit, Lily, my tiny pink caboose, takes to this concept more naturally than the boys. Perhaps it is because I insisted on having our nature journals and, by golly, we were going to get some nature drawings down…now…because that’s what CM says we are suppose to do. Now, I focus less on the journals, and more on the “getting out there.” I look back at all of the times spent in parks, playing, exploring, going for walks…and we haven’t done too bad on that account. So, don’t despair if your nature walks don’t “look” like they are “suppose to.”
See you outside!