Thursday, June 6, 2013

laid-back summertime learning

One of my goals in life is to pass on my love of learning to my children. One of the most endearing aspects of homeschooling is that we're able to make all of life our classroom. I really try to be intentional in shedding the boundaries between school-time and everything-else-time. Although there are times at which workbooks are written in and math facts are practiced, much of our other learning is done through reading living books and just getting out and living life.

I find the summertime to be even more conducive to this kind of learning. We're finished with our more "official" agenda, and can focus even more on interest-led learning. This is the time of year we head out with our nature journals to observe and record. This is the time of year my children learn about gardening and harvesting, something that is very useful in life. This is the time of year we take trips to experience some living history through war encampments and museums.

This is also the time of year that I tend to focus more on science and nature since it's more easily accessible to us during the warmer months. There are so many things to learn about right outside our backdoor. Whether it's the forest and its trees and creatures. Or the pond and its crayfish and snakes. Or the beach with all of its wonderful life and cycles.

I have accumulated quite a few books that we tend to use more during these more relaxed seasons of learning. All of these books I share here are ones that our family actively use and love. You may notice that I did not include history. And for good reason, we do all of our history learning through the use of reading both fictional and nonfictional time-period living books. We have read so many books of these kinds of books that there really are too many for me to list here. If you would like a nice list of living history books, I suggest you check out Ambleside Online. Not only does this give a great list of history books, but also books on other subjects as well. This is a free online resource.

We love the "One Small Square" books, and have most of them in our personal book collection.
One Small Square: Woods
Seashore (One Small Square)
Cactus Desert (One Small Square)
One Small Square, The Night Sky

Our nature journals have been a wonderful addition to our science learning. Keeping a nature journal is keeping with the Charlotte Mason style of learning. Here are three of the resources we have and use on nature journaling...
My Nature Journal: A Personal Nature Guide for Young People
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You

We also keep some tried-and-true nature study help books on hand. Field guides (especially the pocket-sized ones) are wonderful to have when you're out hiking or walking.
HANDBOOK OF NATURE STUDY (This is a thick book filled to the brim with nature study ideas and information. It is an AWESOME resource.)
Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America
A Field Guide to Eastern Trees: Eastern United States and Canada, Including the Midwest (Peterson Field Guides)

And for you fellow Pennsylvanians, these are the two guides we use for trees and birds...
Trees of Pennsylvania Field Guide
Birds of Pennsylvania Field Guide, Second Edition

Story Starters: Helping Children Write Like They've Never Written Before
Rory's Story Cubes
Rory's Story Cubes Actions
Games for Reading: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Read

Family Math (Equals Series)
Life of Fred Elementary Series Complete 10 Book Set (Life of Fred)
Think Fun Math Dice
ThinkFun Math Dice Jr.

Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists of All Ages (Lab Series)
How Artists See 6-Volume Collection I: Feelings/ Animals /People /Families / The Weather/ Play
Color Your Own Van Gogh Paintings (Dover Art Coloring Book)
Handel at the Court of Kings (One of the many Opal Wheeler composer books we own. We LOVE these!)

Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices
The American Boy's Handy Book: What to Do and How to Do It, Centennial Edition
The Dangerous Book for Boys
Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival
Sewing for Children: 35 Step-by-step Projects to Help Kids Aged 3 and Up Learn to Sew
Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make
Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder

Educating the WholeHearted Child -- Third Edition
A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning
When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today
For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School
The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity
The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children
Seasons of a Mother's Heart, 2nd edition
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition)

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no spring chicken said...

Oh how I do love home schooling. So many of your books are on my shelves and so many of your pictures brought back memories of our younger years. Precious times teaching a life-long love of learning. Priceless.

Blessings, Debbie

Anonymous said...

What would we do without summer, it is so much fun and so much to learn from nature! Nice pictures! I want to come to your house for summer!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Oh I just love this! Great photos. I like how you keep the learning going all day long. I think that's very important.

In Wonder said...

we love summer learning too! happy day to you Amber :).