When exploring outdoors, be sure to pack your children nature journals (blank journals or sketchpads) and art supplies. Encourage them to find at least one interesting natural object to illustrate in each new environment your visit. Have them sign, date, and even provide a bit of background information on each illustration, and they’ll have a beautiful record of their adventure to look through once you get home.
To further incorporate art into you nature explorations, look up famous works of art featuring natural landscapes and visit similar environments. Have your children sketch the landscape you’re visiting and then compare to the artist’s rendering. This presents a great opportunity to discuss technique. Without criticizing your child’s effort, you can point out the different techniques employed by famous artists. For instance, you might find a pond of water lilies, show your children some images from Monet’s water lily series, and discuss the techniques employed in Impressionism
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Clint and his wife Debbie have taken their homeschooled children on many educational adventures, even living overseas for a while. Here, Clint shares why they value traveling as a family…
Taking trips allows students to have a real life experience, rather than just reading about it. They are able to visit locations where historical people or activities took place. They can walk the same ground as Patrick Henry, George Washington, Sam Houston, etc. Beyond history, they can see art or nature in the flesh. It is beneficial because they make it their own, rather than just a fact to learn. No longer is ”Red Hill” a historical footnote. It is a place they have been (Patrick Henry’s house).
Anytime we take a family vacation, we plan in some ”educational ” activities. I have two favorite events that we have done.
1. We took a vacation a couple of years ago and visited Dodge City, KS. Honestly, it was just a place that we included in our trip because it was on the way, but it turned out to be the best thing from the trip. Tommy still talks about it. We got to visit the Sante Fe trail, which can still be seen. We got to see a real ” Western ” town, which really cemented those things into the kids ’ minds.
2. About five years or so ago, we visited Polyface Farms in Virginia. This is Joel Salatin’s farm, which has grassfed beef, etc. It was our first experience with such a place. Anyway, they allow you to go anywhere you want on the farm (besides personal space, like homes). We walked all over the place, saw cows, chickens, pigs, etc. It was a great learning experience for all of us.
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