Year Long Tree Study-Our Oak

Children should also become familiar with trees at an early age. They should pick about six in the winter when the leaves are gone, perhaps an elm, a maple, a beech, etc, and watch them during the year.”
Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume 1, page 52

Way back last August of 2007 we started our first tree study out in the woods. We took a piece of yarn and staked out a big square around the tree and did observations within that square and then also about the tree. The oak is really big and has lots of interesting things about it.

Here are a couple of the older entries to compare with this entry.
August Tree Study
Our Tree In The Woods: October

Here is our yarned off square. You can barely see the purple yarn unless you click and enlarge the photo.

Not much there except a few new little baby oak trees.

And near-by there was this poison oak turning red… out for that stuff.

Then we noticed that as we walked we were being stuck by this plant….star thistle. I would consider this a WEED! Our backyard had this plant growing all over the backside when we moved in twenty years ago and my husband has very lovingly removed it all one plant at a time. We found you have to pull it up roots and all in order to get rid of it. It is an invasive weed in our area.

After we got back to the car, we realized our shoelaces and socks were covered with stickers of all kinds. They stick like velcro.

Well that wraps up our year-long tree study for now. We will probably keep our yarn up and continue through another year to see if we see any more changes.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #21 Notebook Challenge

Outdoor Hour Challenge #21
Keeping a Nature Journal

“As soon as a child is old enough, he should keep his own nature notebook for his enjoyment. Every day’s walk will give something interesting to add–three squirrels playing in a tree, a blue jay flying across a field, a caterpillar crawling up a bush, a snail eating a cabbage leaf, a spider suddenly dropping from a thread to the ground, where he found ivy and how it was growing and what plants were growing with it, and how ivy manages to climb.”
Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume 1 page 54

Outdoor Time: 
Use your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time to casually observe whatever comes your way. Many families are finding that if they are diligent about keeping their eyes alert to things around them, interesting subjects come up while going about their everyday life. Try to view your whole week as outdoor time and if you are out running errands, keep alert to anything you can observe as you walk along. Children can over time start to see more and more details and as their skills and senses are trained, your outdoor time will become more of a way of life.

After you have your outdoor time, provide an opportunity for working on a nature journal entry. My son was around three years of age when he started making “entries” into his journal. He would draw and I would label for him. You can help your child think of something to draw after discussing the day’s activities. Here is a link to the Outdoor Hour Flickr group with examples of nature journals done by participants.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #20 Our Summer Tree Study

We have had hot smoky weather for the past two weeks with all the fires burning in our area. It is very unusual for the wildfires to start so early but my husband says that the fuel in the forests is so dry that it doesn’t take much to get it going. We had several dry lightning storms and two weeks ago we had extremely high winds. All these factors together make for extreme fire danger.

We have been enjoying our outdoor time both in the garden and out on hikes in our local area. First of all though, here is my son’s summer tree study.His tree doesn’t look that much different from our last study. There are lots of green leaves which my son thinks are darker than they were in the spring but it is hard to tell.

Here is a close up of the leaves.This time he measured around the trunk and found it to be 28 inches in circumference.

This is what he noticed had changed the most about the tree. It had these sprouts coming up from the bottom of the trunk. We usually snap these off as they sprout but my son wants to leave them just to see how they grow.

We are anxious to compare our summer tree with our autumn tree!