A local homeschool group recently started nature study outings. Our first one was last week. We met up with a group of about 8 moms and their kids at Lee Canyon Meadow on Mount Charleston about an hour outside of Las Vegas.
I want field trips to play a prominent role in our homeschooling journey and at her age I would like to start introducing the idea that these are fun and also educational outings where she is expected to pay attention. You can read about her experience with this during our first field trip to the Bellagio Botanical Garden. For our Mount Charleston adventure I wanted to introduce her to the idea of keeping a nature journal by drawing what she sees and telling me about her experiences so I can write it for her. Well, that didn’t quite happen.
I brought along some basic nature study printables that I found on the internet. Most of what I found was geared toward older kids and writing about their experiences. The drawing ones I found had small spaces to draw to make room for the writing portion. I need to keep looking for something more age appropriate for Storyteller, or better yet, make my own for next time. I also brought some blank paper for her to make leaf rubbings. I forgot that we’re not back in the California anymore. The only trees up there are pines…not exactly what you want for leaf rubbings. But she found a tiny leaf from a bush. She did a rubbing with that and quickly lost interest. I can’t say I blame her.
A close friend of hers was there. They hadn’t seen each other for most of the summer so they had a blast running off by themselves. They were definitely declaring their independence by insisting that we (the adults) don’t follow. It was fascinating to watch them create their own games with what they found in the meadow and woods even if it was only from a distance. Storyteller found a fallen log across a small dry stream bed that she used as a balance beam. They explored a teepee-like structure previous visitors had built out of fallen logs. Another area had logs propped up against a tree and the kids turned that into a house with a place for the different rooms. Obviously, I knew a lot of this free exploration would happen but I just couldn’t break that interaction and lead her in the different direction that I had planned. The older kids in the group did structured nature study activities but Storyteller and her friend had no interest. So, there was no introduction to journaling or nature drawings but it was still a great educational experience. It gave her a whole new backdrop to use for her imagination. That was more important than my other plans. We’ll work on that other stuff another day.