I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Nature Journal - Spiders

Don found a spider this morning on his way back from milking our cow. I used the opportunity to have the girls come and check it out.
Black-and-yellow argiope
from Emily's nature journal (1st grade)
Michelle and Emily have been learning about spiders this week, reading from the Christian Liberty Press Science Readers. I really like these readers for early elementary natural science. The first one is just right for Emily(6), and the more advanced ones have comprehension questions that I can use with Michelle(8) to reinforce whatever concepts she is learning in her English lessons - punctuation, spelling, etc. But the thing we’ve enjoyed best has been nature journaling. I read several books about Charlotte Mason’s classical teaching methods when I first started homeschooling twelve years ago, and nature journaling was one of the ones that I adopted for the long run. The idea of going out in our own back yard and studying what God has created, first hand, is a great way to teach children about the wonders of His creation. There are a multitude of lessons to be found in nature about who the Creator is, why He made it all, why we are here…  The girls drew a picture of the spider, then they added their observations and what they learned about it.  I helped Emily by writing down what she said, so she could copy it correctly. 

We tried looking it up in our Field Guide of Florida, but they didn’t have this particular variety; so, we went to the internet and found what it was and that it is more commonly found in Texas. We also used another great internet tool I’ve been taking advantage of lately – You Tube! I love You Tube because it gives me quick access to short video clips about the lessons I’m teaching.

This one was about how a spider spins its web, and it answered Emily’s questions better than I could have described the process – a picture is worth a 1,000 words, and a good video… maybe more.

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