Spring Nature Study on Ponds | Charlotte Mason Style | Making Her Mama
Spring Nature Study on Ponds | Charlotte Mason Style

Welcome to the Spring Nature Study on Ponds!  

If you’re just joining us for the first time you may want to check out the first post in the Spring Nature Study series (Spring Nature Study- A Lesson on plants | Charlotte Mason Style).  We’ve made a slight adjustment to our series; the boys are enjoying nature study so much that we’ve decided to not rush through topics so we will be posting once a month and not weekly. This month’s focus will be a spring nature study on ponds.

 

A Charlotte Mason Style Nature Study

 

Our nature studies are based around a Charlotte Mason style nature study guide (one for each season) that I got several years ago on CurrClick.  I love these guides because they are broken down by season, and then each season into monthly increments.  Each month has 3-5 topics that you can focus on with suggestions for readings, activities, and teachings.  

I also appreciate (being a recovering type A mama) that it’s not a check list style of book.  I can’t complete the lists because there are none.  And I can’t own every resource because I can’t find a lot of them.  So, I can venture into homeschooling in a way that I’ve wanted to for a long time, no pressure.  You can take a look at the Spring Nature Study Guide at CurrClick where it’s currently on sale for only $6.50 as a pdf!

For more information on Charlotte Mason and why you would want to use her teaching methods visit Simply Charlotte Mason

 

Nature Study Topics for the Month of April


  • Vernal ponds
  • Pond life
  • Weather
  • Fish

This month we are going to focus on vernal ponds and pond life.  If you want to study the other two topics and need some ideas, check out my Spring Nature Study board on Pinterest.  

By the way, are you wondering what in the world a vernal pond is?  A vernal pond (also called an ephemeral pool) is a seasonal wetland.  They are often formed over bedrock or hard clay and the winter and springs rains fill them with water.  These pools provide a habitat for some amazing creatures and plants that we’ll look at in this month’s study.

 

Teaching Resources

 

First of all, I really value being able to teach my boys in a conversational manner while we are out playing, on a walk or just living life.  So, I use the Apologia Exploring Creation series to top up my knowledge.  The information in these texts is simple to follow and reads like a story!  

For our lesson on ponds I will be referring to Exploring Creation with Botany as well as
Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.

I can’t recommend this series highly enough.  They would make a valuable addition to any homeschool library.  If you’re looking to purchase these books, Christianbook.com has them for a great price (you can click on the links above to see the latest deals!).

Our reading for this series will be a bit more varied as we are going to use what we can get from our local library.  There are some great book reviews on my Spring Nature Study board on Pinterest if you are looking for some recommendations.  As usual, we will try to stick with living books as Charlotte Mason would recommend. {For more information on living books, see my post How do you know if a book is a living book?}  

 

Great Books for Read Aloud Time

 

A few that I have my eyes open for are: Frogs by Gail Gibbons, Pond by Donald Silver & Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman.  This last book is just wonderful to read and look at!


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The pictures are beautifully illustrated with warm, colorful scenes of pond life. The poems teach about the habits and uniqueness of each of the pond creatures. There are snippets of information about the creatures featured as well. This is definitely a great book to add to any home library for reading year after year.  It’s no wonder Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems it is a Caldecott Honor winner!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Language Arts

 

Poetry is excellent for memorization, copy work and dictation.  This month our first poem is from Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems.  You can get a printable version of this poem for your students to copy and for use with dictation.  We put ours in a picture frame above our desk in the classroom.  

I’ve created a free resource library where you can access all of my printables, including a copy of the poem below.  I have also included a notebooking page for your copywork and dictation this month.  To get your free copy, sign up below to receive instant access to my resource library for free! 

 

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Joyce Sidman is an American Children’s writer who was runner up for the 2011 Newberry Medal.  She has many books of poetry that are based on nature.  You can find out more about Mrs. Sidman and her writing at her website JoyceSidman.com

 
Another form of poetry is Haiku.  

This is a Japanese form of poetry consisting of 3 lines.  The first line has 5 syllables, the second seven syllables, and the third five syllables.  Haiku is a great way to teach children about syllables and to get them practicing clapping out the independent sounds they hear.  It is also a fun way for children to practice writing a poem as it is much shorter and very specific.  

Matsuo Basho was a poet during the Edo period in Japan.  The Edo period, also known as the Tokugawa period (1603-1868), was the final period of Shogunate or military dictatorship in Japan.  During this period Japan experienced internal peace, political stability and economic growth.

Matsuo Basho was the most famous poet back then, and still today he is considered the master of Haiku.  His most famous work was An Ancient Pond

 

Some Fun Weather Lore

 

These are some fun sayings created from observing nature over years.  They are great to help develop pattern relationships and observational skills over a period of time.  Will they prove true this April?

 

 

Art Study

 

We learn to see things when we see them painted. – Charlotte Mason Click To Tweet

What better piece for a study on ponds than Water-Lily Pond by Claude Monet.  You can view this picture in a book, in a museum (even better!), or online (try to print it out if you can).  Have your child look at the picture for a few minutes.  Once they feel like they have really taken a good look, remove the picture.

Have your child narrate to you; let them tell you what they saw in the picture.  After their narration, bring the picture out again, and look together.  What other details can you find?  I have a printable version of this art piece along with a note booking page on Claude Monet available in my resource library.

 

Nature Walk

 

For our nature walks this month we will be looking for ponds and vernal ponds.  Do you have any big ponds in your local region?   They would be good to visit now.  Also look for local birds, insects, and other animals.  

A nature guide specific to your local region can be really helpful for this!  We have  Wildlife & Trees in British Columbia by Lone Pine publishers.  This one is for British Columbia, however, Lone Pine also makes field guides for many different regions.

Penn State has an excellent resource guide on vernal ponds; how to identify them, what wildlife to look for, how to protect them.  (You can read that here.)  We are lucky to have a vernal pond in the woods at the top of our road that we can check out.  Do you have any areas that might get these seasonal ponds?

We’ve also been playing “signs of Spring” when we are out and about; we take turns pointing out new signs that Spring is here.

 

Activity: Frog Life Cycle

 

The frog life cycle is an intriguing one to study with children.  There are not a lot of species that go through such a complete metamorphosis that we can observe!  Finding frog eggs can be tricky, but if you know where to look it is definitely possible.   

This post from Nature North covers how to identify the eggs and everything else you need to know about gathering and rearing them.  Before you go and get eggs make sure you check your local legislation as many places have laws prohibiting the removal of wild life from nature.

 

Art and Nature Study

 

Because we used Monet as the piece for our art study this week, this art project ties directly in!  Deep Space Sparkle has a great lesson, Paint Like Monet, on teaching about Monet and recreating his piece The Isle Grande Jatte, 1878.  This is one of Patty’s free lessons and a great way to round out our study of ponds.

 

I would love to hear how your nature study is going!  What have you been doing for a nature journal?  Were you able to find any vernal ponds in your area?  Leave me a comment below – I love getting comments and read and respond to each one personally!

If you enjoyed this Nature Study, you can save it for later or share it for others to enjoy, using this pin below.

This Charlotte Mason spring nature study on ponds includes teachers resources, lesson plans, language arts activities, nature walk ideas, art study and project ideas, and more.

 

And finally, if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of the nature study series, you can subscribe to my blog below and get instant access to my resource library as well as get all new updates straight to your email inbox!  

The Spring Nature Study on Ponds printable pack has a copy of both poems for language arts, plus note booking pages for copywork or dictation and creating your own haiku.  As well as these great resources is a copy of Monet’s painting and a note booking page on Monet for further study on this great artist.

 

Cheers, Nadine

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2 Comments
  • susanhomeschooling says:

    We love nature study! We should do more of it this summer, once we have more time now that the weather is better!

    • Nadine says:

      The weather is so much better here too! We are on the other end now. We went straight from damp and cold to hot and humid. We even have the AC running now. We currently have tadpoles growing in an aquarium on the kitchen counter and are picking up painted lady caterpillars tomorrow! What are your favourite things to study in the summer?

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I am a follower of Jesus, SAHM, THMer, and homeschooler to my 4 boys. I love to garden and am a wanna be homesteader. I also LOVE organizing.

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