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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rethinking Nature Study

I was inspired to start Wild Days (nature study days) after reading the book Wild Days by Karen Skidmore Rackliffe some years back. However, with the demands of school; trying to keep our core subjects on track... we have been neglecting nature study.

For a long time, our occasional outings with our friends were passed off as our Wild Day. Deep inside me, I know I am deceiving myself! Worst still "cheating" my boys of the benefits of nature study.

After some evaluation, I decided to restart nature study by taking smaller steps. Scaling down our former Wild Day to a Wild Hour seems like a more realistic goal.

For sometime, I have been perusing this site by a homeschooling mother, Barb-Harmony Art Mom. She started this blog to challenge homeschoolers to start nature study, as described by Charlotte Mason, using the book Nature Study Handbook by Anna Botsford Comstork. (eText available here.)

I had this books for years. It is a thick book of about 2 and a half inches. It was written in the 1930s by the founder of the Department of Nature Studies at Cornell University. It aims to provide possible observational points for those who are attempting nature studies. One can tell by thumbing through that this can be a very useful book. But the big question, at least for me, is "HOW do I use it?". This is where Barb-Harmony Art Mom comes into the picture. She has kindly provided a framework to use this book. It is the kind of "guide you by the hand" help I need now.

Enough said. I will begin by following her weekly Outdoor Challenges starting from Outdoor Challenge #1 which was posted in February last year. (Her latest is #45!) I will try to follow through the challenges as closely as is possible. At least until I am comfortable enough to stray off and use HNS confidently on my own.

I like it that she even provided a way for people like us to blog about what we did for the respective Challenges and link it back on her site. This not only serves to make me accountable, but also gives me a chance to take a peek at what others are doing. She is simply ingenious! (We really need more of such helpful homeschooling mothers!)

I am so excited! Can't wait to start!!

Visit Rumphius Wild Days Webpage to get an idea of what my original plan for Wild Days was.

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