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Outdoor Hour Challenge

February 28, 2008
We’ve decided to join Barb at Heart of Harmony’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.  I’ve noticed this around on other blogs in the last week and finally (way too late Tuesday night which is what happens when I can’t sleep because my mind is racing after a solid three hours of Mahler rehearsal) decided it would be a good thing for us.  We’re still going to continue our animal studies in science for the next few months, but this will get us thinking more about nature in general and plants in specific which is what we will study after animals.

Anything that will get me out of the house and into nature is a good thing.  Our weather here (at least for me) falls into three categories–too cold, too hot, or too much pollen out there and I can’t breathe so let’s just stay inside (pretty much April to October.)  With three boys though, I go stir crazy being in the house for too long so we’re going to go outside more.  (There, I said it.  I can do this.)

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that I love a good plan.  Just saying we’ll go outside and do nature study has not accomplished anything so far.  Having someone else come up with a good plan is just the thing I need.  Barb is coming up with a weekly challenge to do every Friday as well as readings in the Handbook of Nature Study.  We do the challenge, then blog about our experiences and add our link to Barb’s blog.  I got frustrated trying to read the handbook online and figure out the page numbers Tuesday night, so I finally just ordered it from Amazon.  I’m not worrying about challenge #1, we’re jumping into week 2.

Green Hour Challenge #2

Read page 15, and 23-24 in the Handbook of Nature Study.  Challenge yourself to take another 10-15 minute “excursion” outdoors in your own yard again this week. Before setting out on your walk, sit with your children and explain to them that when you remain quiet during your nature time, you are more likely to hear interesting things.

Well, I’m already behind on the readings, and keeping these three little boys quiet outside on a walk is going to take a lot more practice!  We tried though.  I had to stop them a few times and tell them to be quiet and listen.  C said, “I hear an airplane!”  It will take a while to learn to listen to nature.  We’re so attuned to mechanical sounds, dump trucks, fire engines, and traffic noises from living in the city.  We really need to do this challenge! 

We had a good walk while at Grandma’s house yesterday.  It is still definitely winter here, though the snow is beginning to melt, creating some wonderful mud that D went right through up to his ankles.  Not much green out there, though. 

We explored the river and checked under rocks to see what was there (ants).

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One word to describe something they heard: 

  • A–rushing (river)
  • C–airplane

Two words for something they saw:

  • A–giant rock, noodle-like worm (under a rock)
  • C–animal footprints

Three words for something they felt:

  • A–hard, rough acorn, and pokey, prickly pinecones

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Our research question for the week is “Why are pinecones prickly?”  A came home and we got out the Childcraft volume on The Green Kingdom.  We still need to research this a bit more.  There is so much that I realize I still need to learn.  I’m looking forward to it!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2008 4:28 pm

    I have been reading Pocket Full of Pinecones and I keep thinking I need to buy The Handbook of Nature Study. It looks really interesting. I think I will have to join in the Green Hour too. It will nice to have an assignment each week to give us a little direction.

    Looks like your walk was fun.

  2. February 28, 2008 5:26 pm

    Wonderful post! Seems like you had a successful walk.

    I too needed the guidence that Barb challenges provides. I have had the HNS for YEARS and never did anything with it. I am happy to be putting it to good use.

    I am learning so much from this. It is a blessing to me and my child.


  3. February 28, 2008 5:52 pm

    I’ve seen this around a few blogs too. Kids just love being outside and exploring.

  4. February 28, 2008 6:09 pm

    I love this. How nice that it is all set up and scheduled for you. I think I’m going to have to look into this for us as well.

  5. February 28, 2008 6:14 pm

    What a lovely nature walk, it looks like you had a great time! I admit it’s hard for me also to force myself out on those brrrrr cold days! Thanks for sharing your day and pictures.

    Happy Nature Adventures,


  6. February 28, 2008 8:22 pm

    I am so glad you joined us! It is nice to see a new face and to know a real cello player. I *love* the cello and it is my dream to play one. My son plays the violin and I truly enjoy that too.

    Anyway, you did great on your challenge and the blog entry was fantastic, love the photos. They came up with good words too.

    Hope to see you next time.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  7. Sheila permalink
    February 28, 2008 9:00 pm

    I just wanted to pop over and say hi! We had our stake RS night with Bonnie Parkin, and your dad spoke as well. It was excellent! Your dad is just so neat.

    Anyway, I was reminded that I hadn’t been to your blog for a long time, and thought I would just say hi!


  8. February 29, 2008 8:34 am

    My kiddos asked the same question about pine cones… My struggle is to NOT answer their question immediately… but to hold off and to allow them to research and investigate the answer (with help) once we get home. 🙂

  9. February 29, 2008 9:59 pm

    The Handbook of Nature Study…..definitely one of our most used books in our schooling!

    Hey, I also wanted to say thanks for your kind words the other day. Things are looking up for me, and I am ready to jump back in to the blogging world! 🙂

  10. March 2, 2008 5:16 pm

    Wow, I just love this idea. It has been hard for me to make time for nature walks. We’ve done one this year and it was so great, but this will help me immensely. Can’t wait for spring weather too!

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