It was a beautiful spring day and we studied our very young maple tree.
We planted the maple sapling last summer and it had made a lovely show in autumn. Then it stood, small, bare and forgotten the entire winter.
Now, with the warmth and longer daylight, the leaves just budded and the tree looked tender and vulnerable in its spring awakening.
Before we went outside, we studied leaf shapes and terminology with biological terms, just to offer a richer vocabulary for accurate descriptions ~
leaf blade, leaf tip, veins, petioles,
shapes like palmate, ovate, lancelate,
leaf arrangements such as even, compound,pinnate
leaf edges such as serrated edge, scalloped, entire and so on.
Barb’s OHC Spring Maple Tree Challenge required us to carefully observe the leaves and blossoms.
So, with our indoor work done in just a few minutes, we took our notebook page, clipboards, pens and pencils and went outside. We sat on the grass very close to the tree, looking, listening, quietening … and then journalled.
I love these sketches!
My middle-schooler journalled first. Then she outlined the one little leaf I allowed the girls to pull off the tree and so she captured the exact size. She drew in the veins in detail. Then she did a leaf rubbing.
When her younger sister saw the leaf juice made a mark on the paper, she also took the leaf to make a rubbing …
Then she made a rubbing, but her rubbing was different. She placed the leaf on top of her page and rolled her pen firmly across the leaf blade.
Then she traced the marks the veins had left on the page.
I focused on the leaf edges, veins and leaf arrangements in detail.
Then I sketched the small tree as viewed from a distance.
I really love our time outdoors.
It is so important for me to appreciate nature with the kids. If I don’t take part in this discovery, I become the teacher/ observer, taking photos and reading the study guides, which is partly why I think we stopped doing regular nature walks when we first started our homeschooling. I have to admit that my best efforts in “making it educational” and “teaching the facts and details” have caused more harm than good. My over-zealous approach has often caused my older children to withdraw.
Now, trying it again with my younger children, I tell myself,
“Keep it simple, take it slow, enjoy and savour this time with them.”