Rainy Days and Fridays: Winter Nature Walks

Nature study has always been a major component of our homeschool. I must admit that when the kids were younger, we ventured outside more regularly and they sketched in their nature journals every week.

Now that they are older and are more involved in extracurriculars as well as social activities, it takes a little more planning on my part to assure that we continue to venture out for leisurely walks.

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Here in Northern California, we are in the midst of a drought. The water levels have been so low at Shasta Lake that old bridges and railroad tunnels that had been flooded when Shasta Dam was built in the 1940s are now visible again (see my post Feast or Famine: An Historical Nature Study).  We have been praying for rain and these past couple of months, our prayers have been answered.

Winter Nature Walks

When I shared with our local homeschool community the date for our winter nature walk outing, their response was, “But what if it rains?”

In the words of Charlotte Mason, “The fact is, that rain, unless of the heaviest, does the children no harm at all if they are suitably clothed.”

I assured everyone that we would proceed forth in drizzle and chill – just come prepared in wellies and layers. The rains provide us with the opportunity to make wonderful observations .. to study erosion, sedimentation, plant adaptations, and of course weather patterns. Muddy or snow covered ground makes tracking animals so much easier.

Norwegian Proverb: Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær. 
[ There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing. ]

What I love best about these rainy nature study days is the abundance of fungi we are able to observe. imageWe have seen so many fascinating fungi over the years; our favorite is Fly Agaric.

Nature nevers disappoints and this last month we observed several species we haven’t seen before – at least not here in NorCal. It can be a challenge to identify them sometimes, but that is the educational reward upon our return home.

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Submitted to the December Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge.

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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