I struggle with the nature walk aspect of the Charlotte Mason education. I agree with it completely philosophically. One of the reasons I want to homeschool is so that my children can see their connections to the world around them, and that definitely includes the natural world. It is when the rubber hits the road that I have problems. My kids whine. They would never choose to take a nature walk. And here in New England, it is extremely hard to motivate ourselves to get out in the winter. I did finally put up a bird feeder this year, though, and that has been a good addition to our days.
Last Friday I saw an opportunity to get them out -- we took a walk before I dropped them with Grandma. That way I didn't have to pack food, which made things easier. We went to a new place, too. I had one unhappy boy, but the other two were okay, and found things to see on our forty-five minute walk. We saw curled fiddleheads, a stream running next to a stone wall, a man made stone bridge, leaves and blossoms just emerging, birds (we heard a woodpecker making two distinct sounds, presumably on two different trees). We walked uphill to a pond and saw a little life in that, as well as a huge pile of logs on the other side of it. My four year old told me that beavers have their doors underwater and have long sharp teeth. He would also walk a few steps and then say with amazement, "Look, Mom, another part of the lake." And I would have to look before he would move on. On one stop we saw a pile of large branches under the water and he decided that it was the beavers' playground. My oldest was fairly observant also, and particularly drawn to the stream. About halfway through I did have to make a rule that there are no bad guys in the woods -- they are constantly building stories around bad guys! My middle guy was happier once we turned around. Strangely, he's the one who seems to like nature best, but not, apparently, on this day.
I hope to have more of a nature walk routine through the summer. We do have plenty of outdoor time, but not a whole lot of observation. I also have Wild Days, and would like to get them started with nature journals. My six-year old hasn't been much of a artist, but that is changing, and I think he could do a nature journal now.
I'm tempted to add the moral of the story, but in Charlotte Mason fashion, I'll hope that the writing itself makes it clear!