Do you ever go a few days and realize that you have not noticed the world around you? Not the cars, red lights and people..but the birds, the squirrels, the breeze, the leaves, the clouds and everything natural? I did not realize how much I missed in the world prior to homeschooling. I drove the kids to school, headed to work or to run, picked the kids up, cooked dinner and headed to the kids’ activities. I knew that the trees were changing colors and that the flowers were coming out but I didn’t take the time to stop and appreciate the changes taking place.
My kids have always had a keen sense of nature and been very observant of the natural world. While eating breakfast, I always thought my daughter was day dreaming-well, it turns out she is looking around the backyard looking for anything new. (That is why she saw the bard owl sleeping in the oak tree but I-sitting next to her the whole time-never saw it until she pointed it out.) In reading Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, I learned about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences-including naturalist intelligence. Maybe my kids haven’t been tainted by the world of technology yet, but I think they all fit well into this category. They all have an amazing sense of the world around them and changes. My son says he can smell rain coming-and he is usually correct.
We were lucky enough to have friends taking classes at latta plantation last year when we began homeschooling. The first class my children took started an amazing journey for them to learn and explore their environment. Without my intervention, they have taken the quote in my title and run with it. As I look at the subjects they have chosen to research over the past year, the majority of the ideas are dealing with the earth, the animals, and natural resources. They observe, collect, research, create and live in their environment in a way that has taught me a ton.