Nature study is such a wonderful opportunity for learning no matter where you live. The main thing is to keep your ears and eyes open to the natural world around you and be willing to explore where it takes you.
Bek M. recently did just that. Here is her story.
We were in our school room finishing up some copywork when my youngest daughter, 6, ran to the window and craned her head to identify a strange buzzing sound.
In the neighbour’s yard we saw a dark brown fluid shadow—bees were swarming!
We watched safely from the window for about half an hour, when they decided to settle on the cherry tree in our own yard.
Not knowing much about swarms, I was a little concerned for the children’s safety so continued to take peeps through the window, but they lingered on and looked well settled for a lengthy stay.
The next day, we decided to look up bee swarms and found out about the ‘scouts’, and the life-cycle of the drone, the Queen and how she cues the rest of the hive, and the correct weather requirements for moving on.
We also learnt that if sensible precautions are taken, the bees will not attack and so we got a lot closer to take a look with the binoculars…..The bees in the swarm open up a sort of ‘portal’ that the scouts enter to communicate their findings. The children noticed that they went into the same living doorways each time.
Swarms are generally regarded as being in transit until they find a new home for a maximum of three days, as they do not gather nectar during this time but survive off the honey stored in their stomachs. However ‘our’ bees stayed a whole week and survived! There were a few casualties—the ejected drones whose time was up—but we collected these, examined the difference between them and the female worker bees, and drew marvelous sketches for our journals.
My children developed such a genuine concern for the safety of the swarm and would be constantly checking the weather forecast for sunshine, and also would warn off the neighbourhood children who wanted to throw sticks and disturb the swarm.
No amount of book learning would have made such an impression on them, and they were happy and satisfied that it was something that they had discovered ‘in the field’ being little students of God’s creation.
Happy Results Stories
Do you have a Happy Results story about seeing Charlotte Mason’s methods work with your children? It might be about living books, narration, music study, picture study, poetry, handicrafts, nature study—any of her simple and effective methods. Let us know about your encouraging experience—your Happy Results story—so we can share it with others.