• Kristin Hankins

Nature Exploration

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education." - Mark Twain

As long as I can remember, I've loved beautiful sights. I have driven through 30 states, had my toes in the sand of east and west coast beaches, stared in awe at the depths of the Grand Canyon, and looked up in admiration at those larger than life faces of Mount Rushmore. I've admired the glory of God through a kaleidoscope of colors as leaves changed before me on rolling mountaintops; I've been amazed by waterfalls, endless plains, and sharp, jagged cliffs. I have seen so many wondrous, breathtaking sights, and yet, until recently, I said I wasn't a "nature person." "I don't like to be outside." True, I don't like the muggy heat or even the frigid cold. I don't like the mosquitoes and ticks at all. But, just recently, I realized I LOVE the outdoors. I LOVE nature. I am happiest when I've been out exploring. I feel most in touch with My Creator when I've been intentional about looking at what He has created for me to explore. From the smallest insect to the highest mountain, He has intricately created all of this for me to admire.

And I've realized it just in time to make sure my children know what He has created for all of us.

Bernheim Forest and Jefferson Memoral Forest hikes, KY

The more we go out, the more observant my children become.

"It is our job to protect and nurture their innate craving for outdoor play and wonder, lest they ever lose sight of that allure, and stop chasing after their Creator amongst His creation."

-Eryn Lynum, 936 Pennies

Tioga Falls hike, KY

My kids have never given plants, flowers, or seeds a second look. Now they stop and see the intricate beauty in every one. (I almost have to hurry them along, ha!) They pick up acorns, seeds, rocks, and anything they don't recognize so we can take it home, research it, draw it, and learn more about it.

We are slowing down and absorbing all that is around us. Nature doesn't have to be grand and magnificent to be special and important.

We used to shy away from bugs. Now we pick up SOME of them. We try to see them better with a magnifying glass. We come home and we try to learn more about them, too. This is such a big change for some of my kids, who've been so frightened of spiders and bees before.

We have delved more into bugs with Lift-the-Flap Bugs & Butterflies. We studied bees, ants, cicadas, and caterpillars.

Even my youngest kids play in the dirt, get muddy, and explore grass, sticks, rocks, leaves, and flowers. While my big kids are reading books "their size," my littles get to explore books for them.

A little over a year ago, I started desiring a slower, calmer, and more relaxed atmosphere in our homeschool. I started looking into books recommended for science within the Charlotte Mason community. I fell down the rabbit hole with my Charlotte Mason research, and the more I read, the more I wanted to try this method with my children. We were already reading a lot of books and practicing some narration, so it wasn't a very far stretch for us. Our family absolutely loves reading, listening to, and playing with books, so the Charlotte Mason style was immediately a good fit.

And now, here we are. We are reading even more books than ever, and we are spending more time in nature. Most importantly, we are noticing. There are so many tiny wonders in our world that we never truly notice, let alone appreciate.

"Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking --- the strain would be too great --- but all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest."

-Charlotte Mason, School Education

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