Friday, April 11, 2014

Planning Our Nature Study with the OHC Newsletter

I have to say that over the winter our nature study seemed to take a bit of a back seat. I was just so uninspired! The weather was wet - which I can handle, but along with the wet came hurricane-force winds - which I can't handle. So allot more time was spent indoors - which is unusual for us - but, that's the way it was :o)

However - spring is here! Yay! and with it a new enthusiasm for nature study. So I thought that perhaps a short post on how I use Barbs OHC newsletter to prepare our nature study lessons would be worth a look at. I for one am always interested in how other homeschooling mums go about planning. {Barb has very generously offered every reader a free copy of her monthly newsletter this month. You usually have to subscribe to her blog in order to receive it - which is free anyway, but if you have not yet subscribed why not download this months newsletter and see what it is all about}

Once Barb sends out the blog post which has the link to the newsletter attached for her subscribers, I print off the page which outlines the months challenges as well as all the actual challenges that she links to within her blog.

I then grab my copy of The Handbook of Nature Study and any other field guides that pertain to the topics. Because we live in England there are a few things that are different, but I have discovered that often there are closely related species to the U.S ones that we can focus on. For example the Chickadee is a close relative of the Coal Tit etc...

I then start reading through the challenge to get a feel for what we will be doing. I read the pages that are recommended in the challenge to that I am familiar with our focus area. If we have already covered a topic - for instance this months newsletter has a dandelion study that we have already done, I will choose another spring flower to look at. In this months case I have chosen the Cowslip. I could not find the Cowslip in the Handbook and that's where my field guide comes in. Cowslips are found in Europe and Asia so it is not a native plant to the U.S. However it is part of the Primrose family which can be found in the U.S - see? Connections!

 I make notes as I read. Things I want to bring to attention while on our walk, facts to slip into conversation etc. I might find a YouTube video that would compliment the lesson. You can check out our 'Fern' study and 'Great British Weather' study to see an example of this.

 I do all this planning at the beginning of the month for all challenges. This way I can just pick up my notes on our nature study day and off we go :o) 

This month my planning has me all excited about making our OHC time a priority. We have enjoyed two walks so far this week - which I will be sharing with you next week :o), but for now I will be on my merry way. The sun is shining (a rare occurrence this week) so I am keen to get out and feel it's warm rays on my face :o)

Have a lovely weekend and I'll see you back here very soon.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Shirley! I subscribe to the OHC newsletter, but hadn't really used it. This post inspires me to start planning some nature walks and incorporating nature study more regularly into our school day! :)


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