I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but... we are not really all that outdoorsy. Sometimes I feel like we should be, but the truth is that we're not. Oh sure, we like to spend time in our pool (or we did, before this year when the liner was beyond repair - *sigh*), go to the lake or waterfalls, hang out on beaches while on vacation, and go on easy hikes on occasion. And we really like having bonfires in the backyard. But we are not hardcore hikers or campers, and we don't even do nature journaling! *gasp* We don't DISLIKE the outdoors, we are just not "enthusiasts".
However, it only makes sense to see and experience the world outside rather than just read about it, so when we find ways to go outdoors for learning, we definitely try to do it.
Last year, our science study was about ecology so we did a few things outside. In our own backyard, we marked off a square yard to see what happened in that tiny little ecosystem over a period of weeks. And that was about the extent of our attempt to do a nature journal. It was interesting though!
When discussing different ecosystems or biomes, we called upon our memories of trips to mountains, beaches, and lakeshores, and we spent a day exploring the local deciduous forest biome.
This year our science is astronomy, classical style. Classical astronomy focuses on what we can see in the skies without telescopes, and what we can learn from it. So once again, instead of only reading about the sun, moon and stars, we are finding opportunities to go outside and see for ourselves. We now have our own backyard compass (the stones still need to be dug down so we can mow easier), and we regularly head outside to observe the sunrise (which we all agree we'd enjoy more if it happened later in the day), the sunset, noon shadows, twilight and the moon and stars. We are learning to identify the constellations and are getting better at it.
Even though we're not doing outdoor school or wilderness camping every week, we love the freedom we have to step outside any time we want to during our school day, or to adjust our school hours and days to include the things we want to experience outside. Science class at midnight so we can look at the constellations on a clear night? Not a problem. Twenty minute science class right at dawn so we can see the sunrise? Works fine, because we can go back to bed if we need to before going to history class! Science class on the front porch observing the subtle changes in lighting over the course of the sun setting and twilight transition to the night? This has turned out to be a favorite class! Partly because we already have a habit of sitting on our covered front porch which faces northwest to watch storms roll through.
We don't need to be card-carrying outdoor enthusiasts to be enthusiastic about the outdoors. The creative works of God are there for us to enjoy, to discover, to explore, and to point us to the Creator.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Tuesday, October 9th) to see what other Crew members have to say. You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see the reviews we are working on, past reviews, and past blog cruise topics.