Monday, March 30, 2009

A Few Spring Nature Study Ideas

"A girl who knows something about wildflowers, for example, will
be a popular walking companion with all kinds of people in various
This Charlotte Mason quote perfectly describes how I felt this past weekend. I went for a nice hike with some friends at Table Mountain near Oroville, CA on Saturday. (The photos in this post are from my hike.) Wildflowers are my favorite part of spring and summer. I love all the varieties and colors. As we were hiking I was able to identify some of the wildflowers for my friends. When we came across ones I didn't know, I wished my mom had been there. Knowing the name of a flower can be a very powerful thing. Spring is the perfect time to get outside for some nature study, and wildflowers can be a fun and interesting place to start.

If you are looking to add a little nature study to your homeschool this spring, here are a few ideas to get you started.
  • Go on a spring nature walk scavenger hunt using my free PDF download.
  • Go on a photo nature walk and take pictures of all of the different wildflowers you see.
  • Go on a nature walk looking for flowering trees.
  • Go on a nature walk looking for trees with new growth.
  • Identify one wildflower growing near your house.
  • Make a press and press some wildflowers.
  • Sketch a wildflower that grows near where you live.
  • Or see if you can find coloring pages for the wildflowers you have in your area.
  • As you are driving around town, see if you can spot any wildflowers growing alongside the road.
  • Look for migrating birds- I saw a whole flock of Canadian geese the other day flying in formation.
  • If you just get outside, I am sure you will find something worth observing.

And just a note: I am aiming to have my Hearts and Trees spring kit up for sale this week. Things are taking much longer than I expected with this kit. I will have more information about it later this week, so be sure to check in for that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trees Art Show

This Hearts and Trees online art show focuses on trees. I encourage you to share this art show with your children and to have a discussion about the different ways these artists saw and painted trees.

If you would be interested in a set of notebooking pages/mini unit study like the ones I am offering for my clouds and still life art shows let me know (you can find links to my other art shows as well as to my notebooking pages in the sidebar). If there is enough interest I will put them together.

Meanwhile, here are some suggestions of questions you can discuss with your children as you examine each painting.
•How did each painter see trees differently?
•Look for cool and warm colors.
•How many paintings have people in them?
•How many paintings have animals?
•How many paintings have buildings?
•Decide on the "mood" of each painting- how does each painting make you feel?
•Use the canvas measurements provided to see just how big or small a painting is.
•Decide which painting is the most realistic and which is the least realistic.
•Which is your favorite painting?
•If you could change the name of a painting, what would you name it? Why?
•If you find a painting you like, take a minute to look at some other paintings by that artist. (Artchive and ABC Gallery are where I found these paintings.
•You could make your own version of your favorite garden painting.
•You could sketch your own garden in the style of your favorite artist.

Vincent Van Gogh
Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background

1889 Oil on canvas
28 1/2 x 36 1/4 in. (72.5 x 92 cm)
Collection Mrs. John Hay Whitney

R. B. Kitaj
The Oak Tree

1991 Oil on canvas
60 1/8 x 60 in. (152.7 x 152.4 cm)
Private collection

Sigmar Polke
Two Palm Trees

1964 Artificial resin on fabric
90 x 75 cm
Private collection

Egon Schiele
Autumn Trees

1911 Oil on canvas
79.5 x 80 cm
Private collection

Vincent Van Gogh
Roots and Tree Trunks

June-July 1890 Oil on canvas
50 x 100 cm
Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam

Pissarro, Camille
Pear Trees in Bloom at Eragny, Morning
1886 Oil on canvas
21 x 25 1/4 in (54 x 65 cm)
Isetan Museum, Tokyo

Piet Mondrian
Avond (Evening); Red Tree

1908 Oil on canvas
70 x 99 cm (27 1/2 x 39 in)
Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Schiele, Egon
Little Tree (Chesnut Tree at Lake Constance)
1912 Watercolor and pencil on paper
18 x 11 5/8 in. (45.8 x 29.5 cm)
Private collection, New York

Paul Gauguin
Blue Trees
1888 Oil on canvas
92 x 73 cm (36 1/4 x 28 3/4 in)
The Ordrupgaard Collection, Copenhagen

Asher Durand
Study from Nature: Rocks and Trees

c. 1836 Oil on canvas
21 1/2 x 17 in (55 x 43 cm)
The New York Historical Society

Gustave Caillebotte
The Garden at Petit Gennevilliers in Winter

c. 1894 Oil on canvas
73 x 60 cm
Private collection

Emily Carr
A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth
1932-35 Oil on canvas
112.8 x 69 cm
Vancouver Art Gallery

Claude Monet
Garden in Bordighera, Impression of Morning
1884 Oil on canvas
25 3/4 x 32 in. (65.5 x 81.5 cm.)
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Peasants Under the Trees at Dawn, Morvan

c. 1840-45 Oil on canvas
10 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.
National Gallery, London

Just some notes:

***I am busy putting together my Spring 2009 Hearts and Trees Kit. Look for pre-ordering March 19th!

***And if you haven't already checked it out, be sure to look at the Outdoor Hour eBook!

***And I have four Winter Kits left at the discounted price if anyone is interested.