Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nature Study and Art Plans 2016-2017

Nature Study

We are not doing a formal science study for the 6th grade and under crowd until 2nd semester (January). That means for 1st semester we plan to do some nature study. It is actually an ideal time of year to focus on regular nature study because we'll go from summer to fall to winter. That is a whole lot of change to observe. Our nature study happens just about any time, I don't schedule it so much as I watch for opportunities when getting outside will breathe life into our day. I have a list of topics to pick from as we go. I'll share an overview, just know there are quite a few specific options in each of these that I'm just not going to list out.
  • Plants: Wildflowers, Trees, Pumpkins, Apple trees, Weeds, Seeds
  • Pond study: Plants like cattails, animals like frogs, fish, dragonflies
  • Clouds and Weather
  • Rocks, Minerals
  • Birds: Geese, sparrow, birdfeeder/birdwatching, woodpeckers
  • Insects: Bees, moths, butterflies, crickets, ants
  • Night Sky: Constellations, creatures like bats, owls, raccoons, phases of the moon
  • Mammals: Squirrels, horses, rabbits
  • Nature Walks: In town, forest, fields, early morning, night hike, photo walk


We have a split among the children. Some adore art and have passed my skills in specific disciplines (including areas I simple have no knowledge or skills in). These people are handed books or given online video based classes and materials to pursue their passion. Makayla, for example, will be doing a couple video based courses on Craftsy this year including Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters, Draw Better Portraits, and a photography course or two. She asks for books or picks up books I just happen to add to our shelves (ahem) to try new art like Manga. Emma is great at handicrafts, diving into things like wool felted animals or clay charms. A great place for a crafty kid to begin is with Klutz book kits because they are very clear on instructions and come with the materials to get started.

The art lessons that I will be leading this year cover a variety of materials and techniques aimed at kids from K-6th grade. Have you seen any of the lessons at Deep Space Sparkle? Patty has free lessons, a huge store of lessons to purchase, a blog, and more. I happened to get in on her first round of openings for The Members Club subscription. Each month we get tons of PDF art lessons centered around an artist and more centered around a theme. SO many! Then the new month arrives and we get more PDFs for a new artist and a new theme. There are some for grades K-2, some for grades 3-4, and others listed for grades 5-6. Some cross over the age ranges, or can be adapted to cross ages.

Twice a week I'll be working on projects from this vast collection with my children. It's that simple. I grab the materials listed, pop open the PDF or the video on my laptop, and we go for it. A couple times a month we'll have another homeschool family join us to work on art projects too, which is going to be tons of fun! For that my plan is to do a mix of working on projects that take more than one session to finish and shorter projects that finish in one day, so we've always got things working for the next meet up but the kids also complete things at each meet up as well.

We also have art appreciation built into our Morning Basket.

Did you miss any posts in this series?

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