The focus of this article is on prepping for children and adolescents on the mid to lower functioning end of the autism spectrum. If you are the parent or caretaker of an autistic child, I’m sure you have already considered your child’s or adolescent’s special needs and planned accordingly. This article is intended to serve as a general overview and resource for those who are less familiar with the needs and capabilities of these unique individuals. Autism- A Prevalent Disorder Based on the prevalence of Autism spectrum disorder and autism, it is likely that either your family or a family …
We are a family of nature lovers. Each one of us would prefer to be outside than indoors. We hike all the time. As we hike, we talk and explore and learn.
And, sometimes, we come home and do an activity or read a book that is somehow related to the day’s discoveries.
But… we don’t do an Official Nature Study.
I’ve always wanted to, mind you. I love nature! I want my kids to grow to love and understand the plants, animals, and insects that are in our own backyard. But I never get around to actually planning and organizing the Official Nature Study. So, instead, it ends up being a hodge podge of stuff that I find around the house and a quick Google search. And I keep telling myself that I’ll be more organized soon and that soon we’ll have an Official Nature Study of our very own.
I always feel guilty that we don’t do something more official over here, especially because we spend so much time outdoors.
But a few months ago, right around Thanksgiving-ish, my friend Kara introduced to me to a nature study curriculum. And not only is it fun, but it is incredibly easy to use.
It was love at first sight!
Today, I’m going to share it with you and tell you why you will love it too. Whether you love to be outside, like us, or whether you know nothing about nature but feel the need to incorporate it anyway- this curriculum fits!
Disclosure: I received Exploring Nature with Children: A Complete Year-Long Curriculum at no cost in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only share products and resources that I would use with my own family.
EXPLORING NATURE WITH CHILDREN: A COMPLETE YEAR-LONG CURRICULUM
Exploring Nature with Children: A Complete Year-Long Curriculum was created by Lynn Seddon, a fellow homeschooling mom and blogger. It is just what is says: a complete, year-long curriculum. It contains 48 weeks of material, starting in September and continuing throughout the year, but you can jump into the curriculum at any point during the year. We started using it in late November.
The book is completely self-contained, housing all the information you need to make nature study a part of your family’s routine. It would work for both those comfortable in nature and those new to nature exploration.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
Some of the specimens we collected earlier this winter.
The first chapter of the book explains how to use the book in your homeschool and also includes the following:
An overview of nature study
A page for each season, complete with a list of materials required for each weekly nature walk.
A chapter for each month, including four weekly themed nature study lessons for each month.
EACH WEEK’S NATURE STUDY INCLUDES:
A nature walk activity
A reference to a section in The Handbook of Nature Study (a fantastic book that I should have had in my library years ago!)
A reading list
A piece of art to study
A poem to study
Extension activities related to the week’s theme
WHAT THIS HOMESCHOOLING MOM LOVES ABOUT EXPLORING NATURE WITH CHILDREN
There are so many things that I love about this curriculum. It encompasses so many of the qualities that I look for when purchasing a curriculum.
It is affordable
It is simple, yet filled with great content
It is easy to use- you can jump right in immediately
It works well with multiple ages
It meshes into our lifestyle perfectly
It incorporates other subjects, such as science, writing, music appreciation, art, and poetry.
Oodles of fun crafts
We all learn something from it
Can be used for multiple years
All I needed to do was to download and print the curriculum and put it in a binder. Then, we were good to go! We started that very day!
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
You could honestly get by with this curriculum and your library card alone, but I did invest in a couple additional items:
Nature journals for each of us
The Handbook of Nature Study by Anne Botsford Comstock (this had been on my wish list forever and it has already become a classic in our home).
Plus, I made use of our DIY Nature Explorer Packs on each hike.
Here’s a confession, guys. Sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants over here. I intend to plan, but sometimes I don’t. What I love about this curriculum is that you can pick and choose what to do each week. Did you forget to pick up the recommended reading for that week at the library? No worries! Search the internet for a read aloud of the book (we have such great luck with this), substitute another book on the topic, or skip it altogether and use a different extension activity.
EXPLORING NATURE WITH CHILDREN HAS BECOME A PART OF OUR WEEKLY ROUTINE…
… and we love it! Here’s a few examples of the many ways we have enjoyed this curriculum:
BIRD FEEDING STATION
CELEBRATING WINTER SOLSTICE
LEARNING ABOUT, AND RECORDING WEATHER
SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS
STUDYING THE PHASES OF THE MOON
AND THIS WEEK WE WILL BE CELEBRATING CANDLEMAS DAY (ONE WEEK LATE!) BY MAKING OUR OWN CANDLES!
This curriculum even inspired our children to create a nature-themed I Spy game that we pack on our hikes!
I’m so thankful that Kara introduced me to such a simple-to-implement, fun, year-long nature study. Our family has enjoyed it every single week since late November. We like it so much that we even brought it on vacation!
It is a perfectly fine, pleasant Tuesday evening. You are playing with your children in the park. Your son is climbing up to the slide while your daughter is whooshing in the air on the see saw. A perfect day until an Earthquake strikes! One minute, this one minute will be changing your entire world. Your evenings may never be this perfect again.
When we are in our happy moments we never realize that they may never last forever. It is always good to be prepared for the worst, to be prepared for survival in situations filled with despair. As adults, survival for you may not be this big of a challenge as opposed to your young children in the same situation. As elders, parents and guardians it is our duty to prepare our children- teach them how to survive. The question however is, how to prepare them?
Children can sense the urgency in a parent’s tone. Take survival preparation seriously but let it not scare your children. If they are scared they might not pay attention to your instructions or be involved the way you want them to be.
Make it Engaging
To gather the interest of children it is important to keep them involved. Involvement for kids comes in the form of fun. You can make prepping fun for your kids by starting a prepping story. Build a story where they get to be the characters. Put forward survival challenges and show them how to succeed.
Let them know where to head to in case things go wrong. You can also the kids for a weekend in the woods, a family trip. In this camping trip show them how to connect with their surroundings, look for food, learn to fish and learn to hunt. Kids of today are dependent on technology. On this trip show them what life without technology is. Engage them in maps and compasses!
Prepare a first aid kit and teach them how to tackle small emergencies such as cuts and falls. Moreover, find survival books for children and discuss stories such as that of Robinson Crusoe. These stories and books will inspire them. Hear them out. Talk to them. Listen to their fears and comfort them. Their opinions may give you some ideas too.
Let Them do Some Storage and Cooking
When you head out to the store to shop for your survival food storage, take them along. Let them select the food. Foods such as dried food, vegetable powders, fruit powders are survival essentials, tell them why they are important. One of the best ways to store food is to grow vegetables and fruits in your back yard.
Involve them in the gardening so that they know why that this is their essential to survive. Moreover, involve the kids in cooking too. Teach them recipes that are easy so that they can survive on their own when need comes. However, do not assign everything to them. Take it slowly. Too many responsibilities may push them away.
Let Them Master the Art of Hygiene
Germs and bacteria are harmful species that affect humans. Children are more prone to them due to their weak immune system. In survival situations getting sick can be harmful.
The best way to prevent falling sick is to take care of hygiene and sanitation. Talk to children about the importance of hygiene, the importance of washing hands, showers, why towels should not be shared, why using sanitizers is Important, wiping themselves, teach them about the skills to use a public bathroom and other such skills.
Healthy children can survive germs. However to be healthy, children must know why hygiene is emphasized on.
While preparing your children, you have to realize that you job as a parent is not over. While they prepare for survival, you have to make the necessary arrangements for them too.
Children have a different dietary requirement. Look at your children and store the food that you think will be the most important for them. For infants stock up formula milk as a mother may not be able to breast feed her child all day. For growing kids stock powder milk, dried fruits and organic food.
The stock you have may deplete thus you should know how to hunt, fish and gather so that with your assistance the children can survive.
Water is essential to survival. Staying dehydrated is very important. While preparing for survival make sure you have stored water enough to sustain you and the kids. Storage bottles are very handy for this job.
Pack Emergency Kits
As parents, it is your job to pack their emergency kits that will ensure their survival. Pack their clothes, blankets, one of their favorite toy (so that they feel safe), medicines and other such important tools. Carry cards or board games so that they have something to stay entertained. Also give them communication devices and radios so that they can be aware.
Having a family is the best feeling in the world, but imagining them in tough times can tear you apart. You cannot stop something wrong from happening but you can equip your loved ones with the power to tackle such situations. This power only comes from preparation. Hence to survive, teach them to how to prepare!
In 2010, the New York Times published an extensive report detailing the decline of hunting in America and its impact on conservation efforts. Throughout the previous two decades, most of the states saw significant declines in active hunting. The worst loss occurred in Massachusetts, where the number of licensed hunters fell by more than 50% between 1990 and 2010.
Those numbers are starting to rebound thanks, in part, to a strong desire for locally sourced food. More importantly, Americans are also beginning to find a new appreciation for nature in a world where technology seems to be running our lives. If you are already an avid hunter, good for you. Here are five reasons to introduce your children to hunting as well:
1. IT BREEDS APPRECIATION FOR NATURE
The average American hunter is not the drunken bum who mistreats the land, kills indiscriminately and hunts without proper hunting lease insurance. He or she is someone who truly appreciates nature. Passing hunting along to your children will instill in them that same appreciation for nature and all of its wonders. A child exposed to hunting is likely to be more interested in the great outdoors than sitting in front of the TV with video games.
2. IT TEACHES RESPONSIBILITY
Anyone with a little cash can walk down to the local supermarket and buy a piece of beef or a full turkey. Nevertheless, how many Americans could take responsibility for themselves in the event the grocery store shelves ran empty? Hunting teaches personal responsibility not only through the hunt itself, but also through other things such as respecting private property, making sure hunt club insurance is in place, obeying hunting laws, and so on.
3. IT STRENGTHENS RELATIONSHIPS
More than one hunter has told great stories of spending quality time in the field with parents and siblings. Hunting builds strong family bonds based on a shared experience and a common interest. It also builds strong relationships among other hunters who may not necessarily be blood relatives. The hunting community is a close knit one where everyone looks out for everyone else. These are the kinds of relationships all of us need from time to time.
4. IT HELPS WITH POPULATION CONTROL
As much as animal-rights activists do not want to admit it, hunting is one of the most effective means of controlling animal populations. Take a wild boar for example. With a tendency to prolific reproduction and no natural predators, the wild boar is running roughshod all across the U.S. and Canada. It is so bad in many states that boar hunting enjoys a year-round open season with no bag limits. Only active hunting is preventing the country from being overrun by these animals.
5. IT CONTINUES THE PRACTICE
As with anything else, hunting will fade away into obscurity if adult hunters do not pass the practice on to their children. And if that happens, society will be completely reliant on government and corporate interests to both provide food and control animal populations. The inevitable result will be a big mess requiring a lot of extra effort to clean up. Better to pass on hunting and keep it a viable practice for generations to come.
As a hunter, you know how valuable it is for wildlife conservation. Be sure to pass it on to your children. And while you’re at it, instruct them on the importance of good hunting practices, including obtaining hunting insurance. A smart hunter has insurance coverage in place before he/she signs a hunting lease or heads out to the field.
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