Hi Everyone, I have two children who are preschool aged. The oldest is 4 (will be 5 on November 27th). And the youngest is nearly 3.5. When this summer started, I had all of these lofty goals for studying nature with the kids. I was going to plan to take them out on a hike once a week, get out to a park, etc. etc. I had visions of happy kids surrounded by green. :) And well...it is mid july and I have only been on one hike with the kids.
When trying to analyze why I have been falling short in my goal, I realize that the problem is two fold:
1) We are blessed to live in a place that has a very active homeschool community and these great opportunities are always coming up. Like a trip to a nearby aquarium, a visit to a bee hive, a visit to a museum, and things like that. So our weeks suddenly become very filled very easily. We have been doing some neat things. However, I feel guilty for not just getting the kids out into nature more often. Just more free time to explore. About the only outdoor time they get is time spent in the backyard playing. (Which they get a lot of.) However, we live in suburbia...so there is a limited amount of nature to explore. (Just our bird feeder and our flower garden.)
2) Another issue is that I am not really sure what I am supposed to do when I get out in nature with the kids. Usually I will bring them out on the path or to a nearby park. And the kids will kind of walk along the path without really making any observations. Is this OK? When I try to direct them to things, I get the feeling that it is kind of taking the fun away from the walk.
Part of me is thinking that I need to add in more structure to our week and actually schedule a day devoted to nature study. I think that that is doable. And while I would love to do it everyday, I don't know if that is something I would actually stick to. Is once a week enough?
As far as the "what to do" issue, maybe I need some type of formal nature study program? Maybe if I had a game plan in advance I would be more likely to stick to it. I was looking at the Outdoor secrets book and companion and wondering if that might be a good fit for us. If so, do you think it could be modified for a once a week thing? Do you think it would be something suitable for the ages of my kids?
The other book I was thinking of using for nature study was one of the burgees books. And just reading it to the kids to supplement their play. (Maybe the bird book. Or perhaps the seashore book since we are going to the seaside for vacation.)