One of my goals for this summer is to embrace learning in the moment, particularly with nature study; and I had my first opportunity to do that the other morning during our school time.
We’ve been doing a lot of our school out of the school room lately—at the kitchen table, in the living room, on the couch—since I’m usually feeding the baby and since it’s so much more comfortable to do that on the couch than in the school room.
My oldest was at the table completing a worksheet, the little one was doing her Reading Eggs lesson, and the baby was getting his fill when a couple of birds flew back and forth across our porch several times. The kids immediately ran to the window to watch them, and fortunately, the lively pair paused for a breather right in front of the window. We studied them quickly. I pointed out the coloring of the birds and the unique forked tail. Then, they flew off once again.
Of course, the kids wanted to know what kind of bird they were, so I opened up my laptop. It was my first time to try to identify a bird using the internet, but I knew that it was bound to be possible. I googled birds in our state and found a site that provided pictures of a number of birds that could be found in our area. We talked through several similar birds until we found one that matched our porch friends—barn swallows.
Next, I visited AllAboutBirds.org and looked up barn swallow. We read about the bird and listened to it’s call. Then, I printed off some notebooking pages (that I’d actually just downloaded that morning). The kids were thrilled, and I felt exuberant. Not only was it the perfect opportunity to instill the wonder of God’s creation, but it was an opportunity to embrace learning that wasn’t on the lesson plan.