Nature Study

Homeschool Nature Study:: The Outdoor Hour Grid Challenge

This months OHC newsletter’s theme is Fish. The Grid Study is always a wonderful way of introducing a new theme.

 Looking through the newsletter and formulating a plan to help us get maximum learning out of our OHC time, a moment of spontaneous home-school mom madness came upon me! One way that we could get maximum benefit out of this months focus area, was to re-populate our now empty aquarium with some new residents ;o)

Our tadpoles have gown up and are now living happily {I hope} down in the pond nearby. Why not get some goldfish and really turn this into a real living-learning experience?

DH didn’t have any objections, in fact, I think he was secretly pleased with my suggestion as he loves fish {not fishing but the keeping of}. So on Sunday, after church, we headed down to the local pet store. The girls had no idea what we were doing and were suitably thrilled when we told them that they could each pick out a fish. Goldfish was the only option as they are quite easy to take care of, are fairly hardy, and of course, are the topic for one of the grid studies this month. Enter Toby and Bubbles…

This new venture has pretty much seen us cover a two of the grid’s suggestions already. We have:

1. Watched our fish swim and discussed how it moves – and noticed lots of little quirks due to being able to observe them all day during lessons.

2. We have fed our fish and watched them eat.

 We have also learned that they are quite good at pretending to be absolutely ravenous. Initially, the girls wanted to feed these ‘poor-hungry-fish’ every hour or so. Then I read to them from The Handbook of Nature Study …

‘Goldfish should not be feed too lavishly ….. these fish are more likely to die from overfeeding than from starving.’ – pg145

So the girls have quickly toughened up and ignored the pleading looks from Toby and Bubbles.

I spent some time preparing our school room for our months study. I loved Anna Botsford Comstock’s recommendation of putting up a labelled drawing of a fish – 

‘Before the pupils begin the study {of fish}, place the diagram shown on p. 145 on the blackboard, with all the parts labelled; thus the pupils will be able to learn the parts of the fish by consulting it, and not be compelled to commit them to memory arbitrarily.’ – pg.147

The next thing I worked on was our Nature Board for July. This is a new addition to our schoolroom and is changed monthly. This month’s board is in the shape of a fish of course!

Our board is added to throughout the month. It starts off with a copy of the months grid study and of the months grid of topics. Slowly we add photographs and notes from our nature adventures and finds – both from our OH time as well as any other nature experiences we have that month. 

Already I need to add a picture of a Blackbird that we rescued from the cats. Unfortunately the poor thing died and I felt odd about taking a picture of a suffering animal, so I am going to have to ask one of the girls to draw an illustration of a blackbird for me. I know – a bit silly but my heart was so sore for this poor pitiful creature. It just felt wrong to capture it’s last moments on camera!

I will try to remember to check back in at months end with our filled up board for you to have a look at.

And so our OHC studies for July were launched. I’m looking forward to lots of learning and discoveries and have a few fun things planned – all going well.

If you have enjoyed this Outdoor Our Challenge and would like to follow our nature study adventures then please do subscribe.

(3) Comments

  1. Creative Life Studio says:

    Hi Shirley! It's funny you just got some fishies; I have been thinking of getting a small aquarium again for myself for our schoolroom. I used to have a 30 gallon one, but I just want s little one this time. Perhaps I'll get one for my birthday in September. 🙂 Your monthly board is great; I love the bubbles!

  2. Creative Life Studio says:

    Btw, I've been trying to figure out a way to send you a private message with a request to perhaps be pen pals if you have an interest. By that I mean actual snail mail. I haven't found you on Facebook or Ravelry to send you a message,so I guess here will have to do. Perhaps you can leave me a response on my blog and if you are interested we can go from there. I realize not everyone likes or finds time to hand write letters, but if it does interest you please let me know; I think it would be fun! 🙂

  3. Unknown says:

    I love this entry and seeing how you are personalizing your fish study. Great observations of your goldfish too! Thanks again for sharing your ideas with the OHC blog carnival.

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