Thursday, April 29, 2010

Outdoor Hour

For the longest time, I have been wanting to do more nature study with the children. Charlotte Mason knew what she was talking about when it comes to spending time outdoors and discovering the riches of nature. In our modern and rushed lives it does the soul good to spend time outdoors.
Today we began the process by beginning with our own "Outdoor Hour". You can go to to access this amazing site. There are various challenges to complete and one can slot in at any time of the year. We will use the "Handbook of Nature Study" by Anna Botsford Comstock as a text book and nature as the classroom.
For today, we had to go outside and the children could pick something interesting to them. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were splashes of colour here and there that attracted the children. K picked marigolds and Z picked Nasturtiums.

In the Handbook of Nature Study we found an amazing entry on Nasturtiums. We all learned so much about them!
"It is quite fitting that the Nasturtium leaves should be shaped like shields, for that is one of their uses; they are shields to protect the young nasturtium seeds from the hot sun and from the view of devouring enemies.....but they were never meant to shield the flower which thrusts its brilliant petals out between the shields and calls loudly to the world to admire it ."
In our veggie garden we have planted them to deter caterpillars from munching on our cabbages and broccoli. I know most regard them as weeds but I love the splashes of rich orange, red and yellows that they provide in the garden.
The children delighted in discovering that the long spur on the posterior sepal of the flower had a "delectable nectar well at its tip".

Z enjoyed making little boats of the leaves and discovered that the leaves turn silvery when immersed in the water. I love to see drops of water on their leaves, shining like jewels in the sun.

The children made entries in their nature journals. K enjoyed labelling her entry and writing about all the interesting facts she discovered.

"The Nasturtium is among the most interesting and beautiful of our garden flowers......its combinations of colour are exceedingly rich and brilliant."


This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more. You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!


  1. Great drawing. We just started doing nature study too - about twice a week.

  2. What a lovely post! I loved the nature journal entry - so detailed and filled with careful observations. I look forward to using the "Handbook of Nature Study" for more structured nature study when it comes soon.

  3. Hi Wendy, I've always wondered if the Handbook to Nature Study book is relevant to South Africa? Have you found that there are lots of nature finds that you can read about which we can also find in South Africa? You're the first South African whom i've found who is using it and sharing about it on your blog, so I thought I'd ask. Thanks for sharing!


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