Finding Nature to Study

It’s not very easy to do nature study in a neighborhood where everybody keeps their lawn manicured and most houses only have one little tree in their front yard. But we manage to find some ways.

These first two guys came to our house and made it easy for us.

We have had two families of goldfinches fighting over our goldfinch feeder. It is fun to watch them chase each other around the feeder. The males come first and make sure the coast is clear before a female will show up. Then another beautiful, bright yellow bird lands on the top of the feeder, and we know that the other family has decided it’s their turn to eat. There are lots of holes in the feeder, so I don’t know why they can’t all eat at the same time, but I guess that’s just not the way they do things. The female usually flies away and then her husband flies away, too. I call them Mr. and Mrs. Goldfinch (both males are Mr. and both females are Mrs. Goldfinch).

This little praying mantis was impossible to see. When Katie first pointed it out to me, I thought it was a little spider or something. I never would have looked closely at it to see what it really was. But Katie has a gift for spotting things that others don’t see. She’s the one who found my birthday caterpillar 2 years ago hidden inside a flower. It was teeny, tiny, but she saw it. I guess that’s why she’s a good artist and a good writer. She’s very observant. We took pictures and had to magnify it many times to see the detail of his little hands folded in prayer. It looked like this from a distance.

I wouldn’t have even noticed it if Katie hadn’t said something about it. She constantly teaches me that it pays to be observant.

One fine Saturday morning last month we ventured out into the countryside where the York Home School Association was having a fundraiser for the homeschool library. They had garage sales that 16 families participated in, a petting zoo and other animals to look at from a safe distance. All the children went except for the three oldest.

They got to pet a sheep and some rabbits, and they each got to hold a rabbit on their lap. It was in a dark barn, and they didn’t let me in, so I didn’t get any pictures. But they got to feed the sheep in the outside pen, and I was able to get some cute pictures of that.

My kids even got to socialize with other children

Kelsey talked and talked with these two girls while the rest of us waited patiently for her to finish.

The little girls got to socialize with other girls in a play house that came apart in the middle. I think somebody might have been trying to sell it, but it made a nice diversion for the little girls there. I don’t think they made any new friends, but they played side by side with some other little kids. I’m sure it was a very rewarding experience for all, and I counted it as socialization in my grade book (not really – I don’t have a grade book!).

We even saw a monkey in a tree!

And a gazelle racing across the grasslands!

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