Natural Nature Learning

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Our family hasn’t been blessed with acres of property off in the country for our children to frolic to their hearts content. But a small city lot and many local parks have offered us tremendous opportunities for outdoor learning activities.

PARKS

To make up for the lack of open natural space in our neighborhood, we go to various local parks at least two to three times per week. We don’t go to the parks for the play equipment but for the exposure to a more natural setting. We are about half-an-hour driving time from Puget Sound so we often frequent parks with direct beach access. Continue reading

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Nature Study for City Dwellers

by Catherine Levison

Even in the city, children should get their knowledge of nature first hand and get into the habit of being in touch with nature.  Here are some simple nature and science ideas for city (and rural) families to share together:

1) Press and mount flowers on cardboard. Write the names of the flowers, and where and when you found them. I recently saw a photo-album used to store pressed flowers. Having a field guide to identify flowers and flowering trees is very helpful. Continue reading

200+ Summertime Boredom Busters for Kids

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Since we try not to use the phrase “I’m bored!” in our home, I usually don’t hear my kids complaining about being bored during those long days at home during the summer months.But I have to admit that we’re still an incredibly normal family. Even without the “b-word” in their vocabulary, there are still those times when my three children just seem to be at a total loss for something constructive to do. Continue reading

Taking Your Homeschool Outside

by Geoffrey Moore

Like anything else in your life, your homeschool can be in a rut. You wake up every morning, crack the same books and do the same lesson plans. After a few months of this, both you and your kids are yawning and dreading sledging through the drudgery.

The good news is that you have the power to change this! You don’t have to do school-at-home. Do you have an outdoor fire pit or other fun area you can gather? Put down the plan book and break away from the textbook rut.

Here are a few tips to get you started. Continue reading

Homeschool Planning – Don’t Wait Until August to Begin !

by Angie McFarren

Who wants to think about school during the summer? The most common answer is no one. Homeschooling families are no different from their counterparts. After all, the whole point of a summer break is fun and relaxation.

Before we get into the purpose of this article, let us review this past school year. Did you feel overwhelmed and frustrated Continue reading

Nature Study for City Dwellers

Even in the city, children should get their knowledge of nature first hand and get into the habit of being in touch with nature. Here are some simple nature/science ideas for city (and rural) families to share together:

 1) Press and mount flowers on cardboard. Write the names of the flowers, and where and when you found them. I recently saw a photo-album used to store pressed flowers. Having a field guide to identify flowers and flowering trees is very helpful.

 2) Keep a nature calendar. A calendar devoted to nature observation could be kept with simple entries on when the leaves first fell or the fruit tree in your yard first ripened for the year.

 3) Leaf identification. Children should know the leaves of their neighborhood. For example they can begin to notice that some leaves are heart shaped, some are divided, and some fall off in the winter.

 4) Give children a pocket compass, a magnifying glass and possibly a microscope. We like using the magnifying glass better. Buy the best magnifying glass or microscope you can afford and check it at the store — they seem to vary in how they focus.

5) Learn about the wind. A weather vane mounted on the housetop or porch railing is not only a decorative object but also a learning tool. Charlotte Mason said to teach children to notice winds. Tell the children that the wind is named by what direction it comes from; for example, if someone is a Mexican because they were born in Mexico, they don’t become a Canadian when they visit Canada.

6) Even children in the city can observe natural animal life. City dwellers can try to feed and observe city birds such as sparrows. Children can place a caterpillar in a box with a netting over it and watch it spin. Keeping an ant farm is fun and educational.

7) Swamps and ponds are an excellent resource for science learning. Have children go to the pond, gather some frogs’ eggs, and place them in a large glass jar. After the tadpoles begin to form legs, take them back and release them at the pond.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Catherine Levison is a popular speaker to parenting and educational audiences throughout the United States and Canada. She’s the mother of five, a grandmother, and the author of the book, A Charlotte Mason Education: A How-To Manual, the sequel, More Charlotte Mason Education, and A Literary Education. Catherine resides with her family in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Visit Catherine online at: CharlotteMasonEducation.com  Catherine Levison’s books can be browsed at:

Frugal Family Field Trips

Family field trips are a simple, fun, and fairly inexpensive educational enrichment activity you can enjoy regularly with your children.

Here are some quick ideas to get you started:

  1. Many manufacturing plants offer free tours to families or small groups, and any free samples given out make great souvenirs when on vacation. Call ahead to find out about tour availability.
  2. Field trips to local attractions such as zoos or aquariums can be expensive, but purchasing an annual family pass pays for itself in just a couple trips. Knowing you can come back again and again, frees your family to thoroughly enjoy themselves without feeling the need to hurry and see everything in one day to get your money’s worth out of the admission price. Return to the same site whenever you want a family outing, and then buy a pass to a different educational attraction next year.
  3. If your family enjoys attending live performances, check for free concerts, plays and other cultural events in local parks during the summer months.
  4. You can also contact college or community performance groups (drama, ballet, orchestra, etc.) to see if they’ll allow you to watch them rehearse for free.
  5. Many local theater groups need volunteer ushers for their live performances. Volunteering in this manner is an excellent way for the older members of your family to gain free admission to a wide variety of cultural events, plus it provides a useful service to the local arts community.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Taylor-Hough is a full-time mother of three, free-lance writer, and author of several bestselling books including, Frozen Assets: How to cook for a day and eat Visit Debi online at: http://www.SimpleMom.com