Monday, March 7, 2005

Nature Studies

So today I decided I would make the effort to take my children on a nature walk a la Charlotte Mason. It was a noble idea. We drove out to the lake and parked by a popular picnic area with several trails around it. We pretty much had the place to ourselves this early in the season. The air was on the "crisp" side, but with sweatshirts and brisk exercise it wasn't too uncomfortable. I took along a sketchbook and a couple of pencils, and I told the kids that we would be making notes of things we observed along the way... fondly imagining early wildflowers and cunning wildlife...

Well, the first thing to be noted in our journal was a "mystery"! There was a picnic table at the bottom of the bluff right by the lake. It looked like a fun place for a picnic but we couldn't see how people were supposed to get down there. We speculated: Was the idea to just slide down the hill on your bum? Or perhaps come in by boat? We made a note of the mystery and continued along the path. Soon we came to a path leading right down to the picnic table! So much for the mystery! I don't know why we couldn't see that path from where we were standing before.

About half-way up the hill was a view-point with mounted binoculars. We excitedly peered through them, scoping out the lake. Oh, look, Mom... see that house across the lake! Oh, and there's a car on the road over there! And, the very coolest thing, the cell phone tower on the top of the hill across the lake! Oh, yeah... and trees and stuff. LOL!

Finally I did get them focusing in a little more on the things right close to us. We found a couple of brave, tiny wildflowers, which we sketched... multitudes of pine cones which my youngest wanted to bring home with us... the mummified corpse of a long-dead bird... some dried animal droppings of some sort...

We decided that was enough for one day, but we had fun and agreed we would enjoy doing that again soon.

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