Good morning, Nature friends!
Hello, my name is Julie Kelchner and I’m a homeschool mom of four who loves nature! I haven’t always loved nature, in fact, I was always squeamish and wouldn’t even consider holding a worm (so, if you are like me, you too can change). This is my 6th year of homeschooling and I’ve learned to put aside my natural instinct to run and hide from nature and bugs, to being astounded by and in awe of God’s beautiful and intricate creations and creatures. For example, last year my husband shot a deer during hunting season and when he showed me the heart, I quickly replied “Wait! Science project! You can dissect it with the kids.” After watching a YouTube video, they dissected it and learned about how the heart works. They even learned how different their little sister’s heart works because of her heart defect. It was pretty amazing! What I love about homeschooling, is learning can happen anywhere and everywhere! Hands on learning rocks!
We have always taken family walks through the woods, but Nature Pal Exchange has taught us to look a little closer and observe the world around us in a deeper way. My two older children have had some adjusting to do because, as I said, I was not a nature girl prior to the last few years and we lived in the city so they weren’t used to it. Our family adventures are not perfect and not always without complaints, but I know that the more that my children see their parents be excited about nature, the more they will become excited also. The last few years, we have lived in the country and my youngest two have always played outside and been in-love with nature, because that is all they have ever known. As the amazing Charlotte Mason has quoted, “It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation… I only wished that I had heard of Charlotte Mason sooner.
Here are some pictures of a recent hike that we did.
I just want to encourage you that even though there may be complaining, (“I’m tired. Can you carry me? Are we almost done?”) don’t give up. You may see people’s lovely squares on Instagram and think “why don’t our walks and hikes look like theirs?” But, remember, their little squares aren’t showing the whole picture.
(I’m crossing my arms and I’m angry. Haha. My three year old)
My little six year old is so keen and observant to nature that within minutes, she has handfuls of wonderful finds. (I think it’s also because she is so close to the ground) Oh, the eyes of a child!
I like to carry a basket with me to collect, for reasons including, all of my kids think I’m the designated carrier of the rocks, mushrooms, leaves, ect.… so it just makes it a bit easier.
And the rewards are well worth the effort.
Especially with this view at the top of the mountain.
And there was even a little of complaining from big sister. Although, the reason she was so tired was from way too many sleepovers with cousins. (They live out of state so, of course, the sleepovers were necessary) Just roll with it. Sometimes the trips can be frustrating and tiresome, but you won’t regret them.
You could end up leaving the trail with these goodies…
Or seeing something that you’ve never seen before, like this little guy….
Adventure is out there waiting for you! Just go.
Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life… C.M.
~Julie Kelchner / @julie_kelchner