Nature Study

Nature Study and Scientific Thinking

After about a couple of months of not having intentional nature study, we revisited the nearby college campus where we found plenty of little tree frogs. To our surprise and disappointment, we found not a single frog, although at our last visit, there were dozens of them everywhere. At not finding anything else interesting to observe, we were about to leave to go to our next errand, but suddenly, we noticed these little things that looked like mushrooms:


We had also seen them earlier that day when we had lunch under the trees in another part of the campus, and during that time, I had casually pointed them out to the boys, assuming they were just some part of a tree and not really interested in it.


This time, I picked one up, and to my surprise, it was full of prickles! My 6yo boy pricked his finger,  and exclaimed, “Daw hedgehog!” (translation: “It’s like a hedgehog!”) And my 10yo started speculating what they could be: first he wondered if they were part of the seeds of the mahogany tree, which were plentiful around. But we could find nowhere for the pieces to go into the puzzle of a mahogany fruit broken open.

Then he realized out loud that they were plentiful where we had our lunch right under several huge narra trees; could they be parts of a narra tree? But the trees under which we were standing, where we had seen the frogs, were not narra, they were mahogany. But because we had seen so much more of them under the narra trees, my son started looking up at the trees to find if any of them was a narra tree. Interestingly, a few feet away, I spotted a small narra tree, and sure enough, more of these little mushroom-like things were strewn about! When he cracked one open, he indeed found a seed inside; and while we were standing about, one of these things flew down, right under the narra tree we had identified.


We were able to sneak in a little bit of nature journalling before we had to head to our next errand.



And here’s a glimpse into my nature journal and my 6yo Year 1 son’s:


As we headed off to our next errand, I couldn’t help feeling amazed at how the years of nature study has helped my son develop his scientific thinking skills. I think, more than the fact that we were able to identify the item we found, I was happier about witnessing his analytical skills at work! 🙂


And it reminded me again of how most of the skills developed through the Charlotte Mason philosophy takes years to bear fruit, and how I need to be consistent to water the rich soil of ideas in my children’s minds with constant exposure and exploration! 🙂


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