Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A fine morning to study wildflowers

In all places then and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.

This morning we enjoyed a lovely nature walk. It was just a little cool, maybe the lower 60's or upper 50's and there was absolutely no wind, a most delicious and rare treat at our little home school on the farm. Our goal was to learn to sketch in detail as a scientist might do. So we gathered sketch books, clip boards, pencils, mud boots and jackets, and strapped the baby onto my waist with my moby wrap.

We found many things to explore, but we were all drawn to the wildflowers that are blooming this time of year. We found that our honeybees were also drawn to them as well. They were buzzing happily from flower to flower just as my kids were. We collected several specimens to study. 2 wildflowers that are unidentified as of yet, Colorado Potato Beetle eggs from the garden, Kermes scale from the oak tree, Indian Paintbrush and Bluebonnets - two of our favorite Texas natives.

We originally planned to draw outside, but the large amounts of dew made that a little difficult, so we came inside to finish our sketching and studying. Mr. C plugged in the microscope and they were all delighted to see that what appeared to be eggs in the galls were really, miniature bugs with legs and antennae. In the same way, they were delighted to find pistils in their wildflowers and pictures of the beetle eggs on the internet.

As we finish up our nature study this morning, my breakfast bar is still covered with samples, some neatly cut in half, others in mason jars with water to preserve them so we can enjoy them all day. Our water color pencil colors are working overtime and I'm enjoying hearing their comments and discussion on what they are learning. More than once I've heard the comment, "I'm going to be a scientist when I grow up!"

So I leave with this quote from The Handbook of Nature Study:

"The only right way to begin plant study with young children is through awakening their interest in and love for flowers. Most children love flowers naturally; they enjoy bringing flowers to school, and here, by teaching the recognition of flowers by name, may be begun this delightful study."

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