Winter Nature Walk-Boy’s View

I was sick with the flu this weekend so my boys decided yesterday afternoon to talk a walk without me….the afternoon was bright and sunny in between a cloudy morning and a snowy evening.

Here are some photos they took on their walk to share with me when they returned home.

Love the sky in this one!

Here is a view coming down the walking trail with a beautiful perspective of someone’s house with a horse in the yard. (click to make the photo larger and you will see the black horse by the house)

That fits our mammal study. We haven’t ever really learned about horses but we can now in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 274-280.

Anna Botsford Comstock says:“Begin this study of the horse with stories of wild horses.”

I have the whole collection of Marguerite Henry books on my shelf and I don’t think my boys have ever read them. I know we read Brighty of the Grand Canyon on a road trip to the Grand Canyon but other than that, they have not tasted the delights of King of the Wind, Misty-Stormy’s Foal, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, or any of the other wonderful books about horses that I read as a child. I need to dust those off and encourage the boys to read them. You can see my sidebar to find some of these wonderful horse stories that you can use along with your nature study with your children.

One last photo from their walk. Here is the llama that I have shared before but this time he was way down by the fence so the boys could take a photo of his head peeking out from the bushes.

Even though I didn’t get to go with boys on their walk, I did get to enjoy the stories and the photos.

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 but you can find it used on for less than a dollar.

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