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

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nature Journal - Native Florida Wildflowers

Summer Wildflowers
On our nature walk today, we went out looking for wildflowers around our house.  We like them because our bees do, and we are all for feeding the beehive, as we look forward to our first honey harvest.  We saw the bees feeding on Spanish Needle, the ones in the vase with the white petals.  Last spring, I planted some Blanket Flower seeds which have grown and multiplied all summer around a bird bath.  Those are the big ones with orange and yellow petals. 
"Skunk Flower"
The girls love going out and making a little bouquet of wildflowers.  They are learning the names and uses of many of them, if we can find them in our nature guides or online.  There are some we haven't found yet, mystery flowers like the "Skunk Flower" named by Emily who claims they smell just like a skunk.  We took her word for it and didn't get too close. 

Emily's Wildflowers
Learning how to use a nature guide to identify a plant is a valuable skill to have.  It teaches them how to do research on a particular subject, where to find the information, and what kind of information is available to us either on our own bookshelves, at the library, or online.  When they learned that bees are attracted to some of our native wildflowers for food, they understood better why it's important to allow wildflowers to grow along with our roses and other ornamentals.  We studied the importance of making sure we don't destroy the balance of God's creation by carelessly putting out chemicals that harm other creatures.

Sketching the flowers draws their attention to details.  I saw Emily counting the petals on one of the flowers, so she could get them just right on her picture, and she realized that not all flowers have the same number of petals.

Michelle's Wildflowers
 She then read a short paragraph with my help about flower visitors from Usborne Complete First Book of Nature (First Nature) which reinforced our lesson and gave her some reading practice that was a little more advanced and challenging than what she gets form her 1st grade curriculum.  After that, she recited back to me what she remembered from her reading, that helped cement the information, I copied it down, then she took my paper and re-copied it on her nature journal; which gave her more practice with reading and writing.

The girls love doing some of their work together, and nature journaling gives them a chance to learn and share an activity.  When they sit down to do their drawing, I don't let them see each other's work, as they tend to copy each other.  I tell them that I love both their styles and drawings, and that it would be boring for me if they gave me two identical pictures.  I know that Michelle is more advanced than Emily and has had more art lessons, but Emily's has a style of her own that I would want her to develop and not stifle away. 

Nature journaling is a very well-rounded and rich learning activity with opportunities to integrate many subjects - reading, writing, art, history, bible... and of course science!
We also watched a beautiful (and educational) video filmed by the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative.



I participated in The Wednesday Window Linky!
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3 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm a new follower and I think your blog is great.

    I love your organised school area and the red lockers are awesome. (In another post)

    I love that you homeschool and take the time to teach your children.

    I love all the Bible verses around your blog.

    I think you are doing a fantastic job!

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  2. You have a great blog!! I am really enjoying looking around. Thanks for sharing!! I am now a new follower!! Nicole @ colieskitchen.com BTW I found you on a blog hop!

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  3. I love your post! I always tell my kids that I would rather have them pick flowers from the wild than any store bought bouquet.

    In our city they are beginning to get some of the Florida native plants back, and it is so great to see.

    Thank you for participating in last week’s Wednesday Window @ Frugality Is Free. I would like to invite you to this week’s The Wednesday Window . It is the place to feature your favorite blog post of the past week or so, for more details check out Frugality Is Free. The Wednesday Window linky will open up around 10 p.m.

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