Tips on Using the Handbook of Nature Study


Tips on how to use the Handbook of Nature Study:
1. Don’t carry it on your nature hikes. It isn’t a field guide so you will more than likely not pull it out anyway.
2. When you come indoors from your nature time, pull it out and turn to the index to see if something you saw that day is covered in the book.
3. Quickly skim the information in the book that talks about the subject you observed.
4. Share a few points with your children.

Try those steps as a good place to start until you get more familiar with the book.

Are you ready for more?

Some more advanced tips:
1. If you find a subject that your interested in covering with your children, read the introduction to yourself. Make pencil notes of anything you want to share.
2. Take a few minutes and share those points and then help your child make a nature journal entry using those points.
3. If you want to make a more in depth study, turn to the end of the section and use the suggested activities or just pick out one or two items to try.
 

Winter Wildflowers: Violets

This week as part of the Winter Wildflower blog-a-thon at Wildflower Morning, we were asked to come up with some literary connection to wildflowers. I remembered that I had just the thing for this entry.
I recently read a really interesting book about flowers. 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names by Diana Wells was a quick, fun read and was packed full of interesting tidbits about how both garden and wildflowers got their names.
According to the author about the violet:
Common Names: Violet, pansy, heart’s-ease, Johnny-jump-up, love in idleness
Botanical Name: Viola

She also relates the story of how violets became associated with love. Let’s just say it has something to do with the Greek gods Zeus, Hera, and a heifer.

She includes literary connections to violets by referring to works that violets play a part in like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She also relates a story about violets that has to do with Napoleon.

“When Napoleon was banished to Elba, he said he would ‘return with the violets.’ When he did return, Josephine was dead, and he picked violets from her grave before being exiled again to St. Helena. They were found in a locket, along with a lock of hair, when he died.”

We are going to keep this little book handy as we enter the spring term and our study of garden flowers. Each flower has a small illustration at the beginning of the chapter. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in short accounts for many common flowers. I got my book on bookmooch.com but you can find it used on amazon.com for less than a dollar.

Some other flowers included in the book: dahlia, daffodil, daylily

Winter Wildflower Identified: California Wild Radish

California Wild Radish

Thanks to my blog reader, Shelly, I have now been able to identify my winter wildflower as California Wild radish. (see my original entry) I appreciate all her efforts to help me figure out what my find was. When I had originally observed this plant from 60 mph along the freeway, I did think it was mustard. It wasn’t until I got out of the car and looked up close at it that I realized that it wasn’t just yellow like mustard and that the flowers were very different and a variety of colors. The article that I linked to above explains that many times it is mistaken for mustard.
California Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum)

More interesting reading on the California Wild Radish. This will fit in with our current study of biology very nicely. I love it when we can make connections like that.