I attended our local Homeschool Convention in July. It was a small convention by convention standards, but I simply cannot resist the lure of inspirational speakers and vendor halls. Imagine my surprise when I noticed a familiar name on the list of speakers. I had been reading Cindy's blog for a couple months doing research into incorporating nature study into homeschool. I had no idea that she was from my area. I attended REALLY great sessions on Saturday, including one on nature study taught by Cindy and Melissa. Let me tell you, these ladies and their blogs are gems!
At the session, they mentioned starting a Creation Club. Cindy describes a Creation Club better than I could. But basically it's a nature study group. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I don't mix well with nature. I can still remember vividly standing on the shore of a lake when I was about 6 screaming at the top of my lungs, frozen in terror as my two older sisters pointed and laughed because there was a bug on me. I recounted this story with my sister recently and how they refused to help me. She said, "Well, we were afraid of the bug too."...yeah, they looked terrified.
Even now, I rarely go outside to just be outside. We lived with my mom for a couple of months one summer while our house was being built. We pulled into the driveway one afternoon. The sun was shining, everyone was outside doing outside things, the kids jumped out to play...and all I wanted was to go inside, down to the basement and curl up on the couch under a heavy blanket in the air conditioning. I know this unhealthy, you really don't need to tell me.
Nevertheless, I believe in the importance of nature study and letting the kid's explore God's creation. I also know, that left on my own, I would procrastinate and never get around to doing this with the kids. I thought the Creation Club sounded like a great idea and I contacted the homeschool group I'm a part of. I had well over 20 families respond. Several of us met in August to decide how we would operate the club.
Luckily for me, these wonderful moms were willing to help. We decided on meeting monthly at parks and nature centers all around our area. Each month we will meet on a different day of the week and at a different location, since we have a lot of families interested and there is no way to make everyone happy. Two moms will plan the event, pick the date, and location. The next month will be planned by someone else. Also, we focus on a different theme of nature each month. Like this:
Sept. - Insects
Oct. - Trees/leaves
Nov. - Animals/How nature prepares for winter
Dec. - Evergreens
Jan. - Birds
Feb. - Fossils/Rocks
Mar. - Ponds
Apr. - Earth Day (focus on ways to be responsible with God's creation)
May - Wildflowers
We met this past Wednesday for our September meeting at a local park. Two women who worked at the park designed an educational program about insects for our group.
I was so excited to see more than 25 kids from little babies to teenagers!
Our wonderful teachers taught us about the anatomy of insects and prepared some fun activities for the kids.
Insects find each other by using their senses of smell and hearing. So each child picked up a film canister that had a nail hole punctured in the top. Inside was a different scent (mint, peanut butter, etc.). There was two of each scent and all the kids had to walk around smelling each other's canisters to find their match.
They also had canisters filled with different small objects (sunflower seeds, candy, thumb tacks). This time they had to shake the canisters and try to find their match without opening the canisters to see what was inside. This was really hard.
This is my H3 and E5 shaking and listening.
Finally we went on a scavenger hunt looking for insects to catch and view up close. Here A6 looks closely at an ant.
Another young man holds up a wasp.
Some of the insects were drawn in nature journals.
Then we released the insects back into nature.
All the kids had a good time. Here E1 poses with a big stick. What is it with boys and sticks?
He just got his hair cut that morning.
Baby L was content with Daddy.
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