What Violet Taught Me on Our First Nature “Study”

As I write this, the windows are standing wide open and a cool breeze is wafting into our stuffy house.  It seems like the air conditioner has been running constantly for the past two months.  Or is it three?

There is no doubt, Summer has been upon us for quite some time now and Autumn is knocking at the door.  Personally, Fall is my favorite season, but I always feel a certain measure of anxiety at the end of Summer.  How did it pass us by so quickly?  Did we do everything we wanted to do this Summer?  Probably not.

So often, I find myself getting caught up in all the little projects and tasks that “need” to get done and not taking enough time to appreciate the beauty of every day.  In a nutshell, I don’t spend enough time outdoors.

Sure, we have a garden.  Quite a large one.  But I have never been very tolerant of heat (nor bugs), so as the season gets hotter I find more excuses to stay inside during the heat of the day.

If it weren’t for Violet I would, most likely, happily continue in this way of life.  But Violet changes everything and I have consistently felt guilty for depriving her of the wonderful experiences awaiting her in nature.

Earlier this week, I came across a blog post that immediately captured my attention and spoke to my heart.  I found it on a homeschooling blog and it contains an extensive collection of articles about nature study.  I stayed up late into the night reading the articles (I still haven’t read them all) and becoming more and more certain that nature study will have a permanent place in our future home educating endeavors.

The next day, Violet and I went for a hike in a park near our home.  These are some of the photos I took.

As we stood admiring the creek, Violet said, “The water is going that way.” (Current!)

Violet pointed out that this tall tree had fallen over. We could see its roots. (Erosion!)

One of the articles that I read regarding nature study suggested that the parent not talk too much during the walk.

“The questioning should be very relaxed and gentle. It shouldn’t be turned into a “lesson”, nor should it be regurgitated later for another parent.”

When I followed these simple suggestions, Violet made observations on her own and pointed out things like the current in the creek and the erosion of the tree roots.  Of course, she doesn’t know words like “current” and “erosion” yet, but she can see them in nature clearly enough.  How exciting!

Violet loved our hike and wanted to continue to “explore” even when I said it was time to turn around.  I promised her that we will come back again soon.

I intend to keep that promise.

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7 responses to “What Violet Taught Me on Our First Nature “Study”

  1. I love the pictures, Jen! I especially like the one where Violet is looking up at the giant trees. It looks like an awesome park. I love you guys.

    • We love you too!
      It is an awesome park. I would have liked to explore further (as would Violet, believe me), but I got creeped out by how far back we were walking and silly me I left the dog and the pepper spray at home. Next time, I will bring one or both.

  2. Lovely, Jen. What a lucky little girl. I too share your love of fall, balanced by the “oh no, summer is almost over” panic. I have two boys with completely different interests, so it can be challenging finding that balance. Good for you.

    • Thank you for the lovely comments. 🙂 I must say, I am enjoying the cooler air these days. Air conditioning is nice, but fresh air is the best.
      Bring on Autumn, I say!
      …P.S. Our nature walk may have to be through the garden this week. In case you haven’t heard, I’m up to my neck in tomatoes. LOL

    • Thank you! 🙂 Unfortunately, it has gotten warm again here. Not too hot, but I much prefer temps in the 70s. The trees have started losing their leaves, though, so autumn can’t be far away.

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