I'm learning so much being a homeschooling mother. The past weeks have been spent immersing myself in the writings of Charlotte Mason, doing much research online, and in general educating myself about nature study. It has been such a blessing to take this time to learn, for myself for my children. We are trying to develop units much as she would have. In doing so, I've seen my children's love of learning grow, so much that they are just seeing this as our way of life. God is good.
My first unit in earnest is one on the nineteenth century American artists, John James Audubon. Last week was technically spring break for us, but this gentle study didn't seem like "school". A study of John James Audubon seems appropriate for this time of year, with all of the many birds returning to our area, and so many of them visiting our feeders in the yard. It all started with this sweet book, A Nest for Celeste.
This is the story of a mouse, Celeste, and her sweet relationship with John James Audubon's young apprentice. This book has captured my children's attention from the very first paragraph, and the pencil illustrations are exquisite. If you are adding to your library, I would suggest it.
We supplemented with a free reading online, Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans, picking out the chapters about Audubon. Looking at pictures painted by Audubon along the way has also been integral to our study.
A bird viewing area was set up on our deck (I placed the feeder on the table, rather than hanging so they could see the birds better!), hopefully spurring the children to think about what Audubon was thinking when he observed and painted birds. At first we had times in the morning to sit and watch the birds, but over the next several days my children would come get me to show me birds they were observing during other times as well. I cannot tell you how happy I was!
This week will include more Audubon resources, and notebooking about birds and the artist. If you study Audubon, your first stop should be this full unit, which includes everything you will need to know - a wonderful resource for free. We will continue to study and learn about Audubon for the next 6-8 weeks, immersing ourselves in a different painting or two each week.
What amazing gifts God has given us, if we just slow down to enjoy them.