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  1. #21
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    5 years stationed in Florida and I miss it! Loved the wildlife there! And I would prefer that weather to Portland weather. We did a lot of fishing when we lived in FL. and shrimping. I agree though, it is hard to understand snow, cold, Fall, etc. when it is green and lush all year around.
    Quote Originally Posted by TFZ View Post
    Love it! Can't wait to read more

    We have been wagon-ing around parks and our yard going on ABC Nature Walks. DS loves it, though we don't usually get past g or h, haha. We've found a cricket and a gecko, tons of ants, and too many bees! DS won't let me go out of order!

    I've been so frustrated trying to find resources for our type of climate. We are in South Florida. My kids have never seen snow, spring is in the 80s, and summer is the time to stay indoors.

    Reading and learning about the seasons is tough when they've never experienced a day below 60 degrees (Florida problems, lol). Even a simple book on the seasons requires a lot of explanation: "Our trees don't lose their leaves. Or change color." "That thing is called a scarf. No you don't have one." "Well, it won't start to cool down here until January." Our winter is 4 weeks long...

    If anyone knows of some good resources for seasons in tropical climates, I'd love to hear them.

    The great thing we have is very diverse wildlife. Alligators and snakes alongside the squirrels and bluejays. Your bluejays are down here now, lol. And tons of butterflies and dragonflies. That's the fun part.

    If only I could convince DH to go camping. I'm almost tempted to start hoarding camping supplies. He's afraid of mosquitos. And the heat.
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  3. #22
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    That is how I feel personally! I NEED that outside activity! Gotta have it. I can't wait until Spring arrives and we dry out enough to get out and garden. We have been lucky and had 2 weekends in a row that it was dry. I cracked the whip and got things moving. I am all ready to plant veggies, just need to wait a couple more weeks to make sure weather holds.My younger son is more like me. He is outside a lot! He will frequently go for bike rides to clear his head from school.
    Quote Originally Posted by muddylilly View Post
    Great topic!!!

    I have two boys that definitely NEED the outside activity. I also think that being in touch with nature/animals is being in touch with reality....life, death, reproduction, the effect that we humans have on our environment. Nowadays it's so easy to become self-centered.....and I think if it becomes easy to be out of touch with nature, then it is easy to lose compassion for people as well. My boys (and myself) have benefited so much from being outside and observing nature, gardening, and raising animals. So much to learn Yea Earth Day!

    Last Child in the Woods is a wonderful book, too.

    Love to post more, but gotta get tomato plants into the greenhouse today
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  4. #23
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    That is the best way to get kids and DH to understand where their food comes from. We do a huge garden here and I get the daycare kids involved. Plus they get to pet the chickens, collect eggs, and we eat from we grow!
    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    This is so much my husband as well, although we dont have a basement.

    My bringing the outdoors to our life is consisting of my effort at a little garden this year. Im shocked at how little DH or the boys understand about food they eat. I told hubby we had 3 cucumber plants (I love cucumbers), and he asked if they grew underground.
    Oh man, Im such the expert at this in our house - because I knew that answer!

    Im going to launch a worm-raiding party soon - if I could just figure out where they live. But Im pretty sure its outdoors - somewhere.
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  5. #24
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    Those are all good starts! Nobody has to be all outdoorsy, all the time! My boys LOVE fishing! We don't get to do it as often as like though. Not many places close to the city.
    Quote Originally Posted by MissLemon View Post
    We do some outdoorsy things, but we aren't specifically outdoorsy people. Todsy, DS chased a bunch of chickens around our yard, and is busy piling up rocks in a corner of the chicken pen, (no idea why, it was something he wanted to do). We play at the park once or twice a week, and he gets to run around in the trees and grass, and collect rocks. I have some vague plans of gardening, and I think we will make some birdhouses this spring. DS likes watching the hummingbirds at the feeders. He wants to learn to fish, and we said once he learns to swim, he can go on the boat with daddy and start fishing. There is a hiking group that meets once a week, and we might start going to some of their hikes.

    I don't have specific plans to incorporate nature studies, though. We talk about natural things as we experience them, like why bees are important, or how plants use the CO2 we exhale and we use the oxygen they produce. I am trying to show DS that nature and the outdoors isn't a "theme", that it is everyday, that it *IS* life, not just a 2 week unit study that is set aside and forgotten, (not a dig at anyone that does unit studies! They just don't work for us at this point in time. Maybe one day!)
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  6. #25
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    Sounds like me. Grew up in country, live on outer edge of city. Would love to move to more of a farm but not going to happen so we make do with our large city lot! We are always looking for nature stuff. We were cleaning up the yard 2 weekends ago. All work stopped because my older son found a small snail and we sat and watched him come out of his shell. We also were thrilled to see that our Mason bees made it through the Winter and were busy!!
    Quote Originally Posted by irishlasstn View Post
    We do as much outdoors as possible. I grew up in the country and have such great memories from my childhood. We live on the outer edges of a city now, so DD isn't quite so surrounded by nature as I was, but I want her to experience as much of it as possible. We have a patio garden where we're currently watching our first strawberry plant bear fruit. I introduced her to bird watching, which she has completely fallen in love with. We hike on a regular basis and she recently started a nature box where she keeps the little treasures she finds on our hikes. We went on an impromptu toad hunt at the park after sunset last summer when they began popping out of the timbers surrounding the playground. We also went searching for frogs and salamanders at a local sink hole last spring, where she found 2 salamanders. She now examines every puddle for signs of tadpoles. We take an inexpensive child-size butterfly net from the dollar store to nearby streams and creeks and use it to examine what can be found there. This past fall she discovered puffball fungi and had fun watching the way the dry ones emit spores like puffs of dust. Not only does she learn new things every time we're in the outdoors, she reminds me of how fun it was to be a kid and explore there, myself.
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  7. #26
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    Oh I am so envious of your property size and farmhouse!! Would LOVE a pond. We had a small one on the patio. After being cleaned out of fish for 3 Summers now, we are changing things up. My parents live out in the country in Northern CA. and every visit we get to see Deer and Jackrabbits come right up into the yard. That is one thing I truly miss living in the city.
    Quote Originally Posted by steel0906 View Post
    We have always had lots of animals, but no land. We now love in a 150yo farmhouse on 49 acres. Only about 5 acres are cleared. The rest is woodlands and protected wetlands. Moving here has been life changing.

    We have a pond filled with frogs, tadpoles, and lots of interesting bugs. We have rabbits, butterflies, deer, flocks of wild turkey. We have a maternal colony of bats in our eaves. We're planning on building a proper bat house on our property, so that we can encourage them to move out of our house, but stay on the property. We have an above-ground pool; from there we bird, butterfly, and rabbit watch all summer. We ride 4-wheelers into the woods, follow tracks and learn about the animals that live with us.

    Most of our property is untamed, native vegetation. We've begun identifying and studying the trees and plants around us. Our plan is to create a book of drawings that helps map the property. We're learning which plants are edible, have health applications, and which to avoid.

    Inside we have 9 cats, 3 large dogs, 2 bearded dragons (from different regions of Australia), a ball python, and a chinchilla. I really want a goat or two and some chickens, but we're not there yet.

    We also heat exclusively with wood, which we cut down and split ourselves. It has instilled responsibility in the kids (my youngest is almost 14). They help haul and stack wood; they check the fire in shifts to ensure the temperature remains relatively constant.

    Of course, we have one child who prefers the city, but the other three have flourished. I don't ever want to leave. The house needs tons of work and so does the property, but I've fallen in love with it. It's a fabulous place to homeschool.
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  8. #27
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    Awwww. We did a small patio garden when we lived in an apartment. We grew tomatoes and strawberries. Do you have a park nearby you could maybe use?
    Quote Originally Posted by alwayssmile View Post
    We definitely have not been doing much with nature in many months. We're definitely lacking! The winter here was too harsh and now the spring air quality is so poor that we can't be outside very long. We do live in the middle of a city in a high rise apartment. It's been really tough on my kids because our previous place had us living backed up to woods. Now they're crying to go outside, but we can't even open a window without respiratory issues! We're not really the most outdoorsy people ever normally, but this situation is a bit much even for us.
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  9. #28
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    OH same here! When I moved off the mountain(parents divorced, Mom sold the house and we moved) I swore I would be back with my kids to let them grow up with the same life I had. WRONG. Life costs too much and there isn't much for us in the way of work there. So, we do outdoor things in the city suburbs. Not quite the same but it works.
    Quote Originally Posted by hippiebutterfly View Post
    I grew up outdoors. Hardly ever came inside, no matter the weather, except to eat, drink or use the bathroom. I envisioned this for my children as well, but somehow, I gave birth to fair-weather kids. Getting them outside to do anything has always been a struggle. My son especially. We've done our best to go camping quite a bit in the summer and skiing in the winter, but other than that, the daily stuff just would not come without a fight.

    I've always dreamed of travel/road schooling, learning science by actually going outside to learn it, and have lots of field trips. It's just NOT what my kids want to do. I have felt discouraged. My husband is a work-a-holic and although we do plan small vacations to the mountains, the daily trips didn't and never will include him.

    I'm nearing the end of my homeschool journey. My youngest will be the only child in a year when both her siblings head off into the world. I've thought about doing some seriously fun things during those last 2 years of high school - including outdoorsy stuff. But I'm keeping my expectations low.
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  10. #29
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    Yep. Once fair weather hits here, we are out and about whenever it is dry and sunny!
    We used to do a big family camp in a tent. As we have aged, not so much our thing. Prefer a trailer or something.Too old and tired to get up and down off of the ground!LOL Good luck getting back to nature! Sounds like you have a plan!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by dottieanna29 View Post
    We are outdoorsy people in general but the past couple years between both of us working full time and lack of time/funds, we've gotten away from it. We're hoping to get back to it this year. I'm just waiting for it to get warmer since at my age, all the old broken bones and injured muscles hurt when it's too cold.

    We used to camp 4 or 5 times a year. Tent camping but at established campgrounds (usually wooded sites though). We're planning to go to a lake for Memorial Day weekend and hope to go back to Delaware Water Gap, stay on the river and take a rafting trip. We were in Florida in February and did a kayaking trip where we saw manatees. We join a lake every summer and live on a river. We just bought a canoe and have kayaks for the kids and are hoping to canoe on our river.

    Despite being in suburban NJ, we live on a wildlife habitat-certifiable property. Not huge, just under an acre, but we're on a river and most of it is fairly untamed and wooded. We see all kinds of birds, deer, foxes, opossum, raccoons, coyotes, and bears on a regular basis. My dad is a big birder so I grew up hiking through all different county/state/ and national parks. We have a decent size garden and across the river is a county park that we can hike to the top and see NYC. Our local county parks run lots of events for homeschoolers, so we're hoping to do those frequently.

    At home, I have the Nature Connection book and Exploring Nature with Children. I'm hoping to do activities from one or the other or both at least once a week.

    Right now I'm still working on plans and getting back into routine after someone else being their primary teacher for 2 1/2 years. Nature study is one of those things that is high on my list.
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  11. #30
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    NICE! I love those! Sometimes you find some great info! Our Community Centers offer teen hikes a lot throughout the Summer. My boys usually attend at least 1.
    Quote Originally Posted by irishlasstn View Post
    I just discovered the best resource by thumbing through one of those free regional parenting magazines you sometimes see at grocery stores. There are several state and county parks in my area that have nature centers. At least 2 offer nature programs for homeschool families. There are no less than 3 coming up within the next 2 weeks! There are programs on salamanders, mice, and fish. I'll definitely be signing DD up for at least 1. She'll love the salamander program, especially.
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