Monday, April 9, 2012

Nature Study at the Library

In honor of National Library Week, I am going to share how we did science this year for pennies...thanks to the library! 

Inspired by Anna's nature study idea, we decided to focus on Trees this school year.  Our study consisted of two parts: reading and drawing.  After reading a book (or a passage from a book), we headed outside to observe and sketch.  {Disclaimer: When it was cold or rainy, we observed from the window, and sometimes the kids went outside alone while I stayed in with the little ones.}

With our book list almost exclusively retrieved from the library, it was one of our "frugal-ist" subjects this year (next to poetry). Not only did we save money, but we had access to some wonderful out-of-print material. 

Nature Study
Tree Book List

Biography of a Leaf by Burke Davis
Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro
Discovering Trees by Douglas Florian
Trees and Forests : a Voyages of Discovery book
The Big Tree by Bruce Hiscock

Younger Kids:
A Tree Is Nice by Janice Udry
A B Cedar: an Alphabet of Trees by George Ella Lyon
Leaves Fall Down by Lisa Bullard
Mighty Tree by Dick Gackenbach

The Hole in the Tree by Jean Craighead George
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwood Bailey

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We're planning to take a similar approach to studying astronomy next year.  We also used library books to study American history.  (I can post those lists if anyone is interested.)
Do you utilize the library in your homeschool?

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  1. Thank you for the wonderful list. I'd also love your American History book list.

    What age did you start nature study? I'm thinking of starting next year, but just with the younger books and maybe pick a new nature topic every 3 months. How often a week do you do nature study?

  2. I love the library! And I love this approach. We've been doing everything science and social studies (history, geography, etc.) this way. I pick a topic (usually a science topic and a SS topic for each two week time period (the length of time we can have our books) and we "study" that subject by reading books. Some I read aloud, some my little guy just reads on his own. If there is a chapter book that goes along, we get that and I read it or it's his chapter book to read aloud for that time. This is a great way to work "reading" in too.

    In fact, the only two things we do "officially" these days are handwriting and math. Everything else is through library books... whether borrowed or our own.

  3. Okay, I'm SO intrigued! Especially since I've been reading my way through the Rainbow Resource catalog. :) And noticing how much first grade could set me back! How do you find your books? I mean - do you just go check out a bunch of books randomly or do you have some guidelines? How do you know you're covering all that you need to cover {that's probably my biggest fear!}? How does that work for your younger ones? Neither of my boys are much into drawing and/or all trees they draw would pretty much look alike. I LOVE the concept, but I guess I'm not sure how to bring it all together. I'd love to hear more!


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