Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Homeschooling Is So Exciting For Me Right Now, Part 2: Nature Journal

"[C]hildren learn by example. Most importantly home-school teachers must serve, through their own behavior regarding their own work, as good examples for their students."-[Source]

Although my kids technically have science workbooks, I got very inspired by yet another fabulous post from LMLD called The Beginning of Science is Observation.

Her advice for getting young children started on science is:

A.  Use nature journals, with a space for drawing and a space for writing; go outside and have your kid record whatever he observes, starting with weather, temperature, etc.

B.   Get a stereomicroscope (instead of a regular one) because you can use it for things that aren't opaque, and it works at a level that is just beyond what you can see with the eye, but still allows you to see the connection with what is visible.

So I made sure we all had nature journals. And I bought the stereomicroscope1.

At some point I just decided that it would be easier to show them what I had in mind than to try to explain it. So we all went outside and sat in the grass and I started making observations, about how much of the grass was brown and how much was green2. I drew pictures of the different kinds of grass, and was surprised to discover grass that was green on the top and dead on the bottom. I tried to capture the green/dead split on the various kinds of trees, drew pictures of Ken's tomatoes, and so on.

It was awesome.

I had no idea that I would find it as exciting as I did to make all these observations. I'm looking forward to having an overall record of when seasonal changes take place, and I hope to be able eventually to identify the trees and grasses in the neighborhood by name. 

1. It was half-off from amazon. I was very happy about that part.

2. The grass isn't dying because it's winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the grass dies during the summer, when it's dry, and turns green again in the fall, after the rains start back up.

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