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Summer Holiday 2016…Is Here :)

I always like to have some sort of plan for summer: last year we made a “sunshine list” (basically a bucket list written inside a sun, with activities to bring a little bit of sunshine into even a Scottish summer), and on other years we have done traditional bucket lists. This year after reading Sally Clarkson’s latest book “The Life-Giving Home” I was inspired to do a historical summer holiday. In “The Life-Giving Home” Sally and her daughter Sarah share how they would do historical road trips in the summer. Where they would chose a theme and visit historical sites linked to that theme, for example the Civil War. This would enable them as a family to immerse themselves in a particular time in history. Although we are not going to do a road-trip, we are going to choose a period of Scottish history and explore it by visiting locations linked to that period. This year we have been looking through Scottish history, so I thought it would be good to visit sites linked to Mary Queen of Scots. This was a period in Scotland’s history in which the country went through tremendous change: both religious and political. It can be a complicated period for a child to learn about. By visiting various sites the memories created will, hopefully, bring history to life. The idea is not so much rigorous academic study into a subject, but the development of our minds, the creation of memories, and the building of a heritage rooted in where they are from. We learn a lot about ourselves from studying history. To prepare for this I have drawn up a list of sites which have played a key role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Some of these we have visited before, so may not visit at this time- concentrating on new places. This has the added fun of two boat trips. The young Mary was kept on a small island on the Lake of Monteith, to protect her from the English who wished her to marry the young Edward VI. And another boat trip on Loch Leven to the site of the Queen’s imprisonment for a while. In doing the list I have found that we have enough sites to go to at least one per week over the summer holiday. In visiting our first castle, a ruin on the east side of Edinburgh, as well as learning what role the castle played in Mary Queen of Scots’ life, they also had a jolly good time. They had the joy of...

How to Go About Homeschool Nature Study

Since I was at school myself I have marked the end of summer with the seeding of the Rosebay Willow Herb. As the pretty pink flowers faded, and were replaced by the floating white seeds I would know autumn was on it’s way and soon the sound of the geese migrating would be heard over head. Nature study is in it’s most basic form is being in nature and observing. For the younger child it is looking for signs of changing seasons, searching under rocks and bits of trees for mini beasts. This year we are planning to formalise nature study a little more… as the children become older. We will look at: 3 birds per term 3 plants per term (this includes wild flowers, and trees) 3 animals per terms This term, which will take up from now until Christmas we will look at, and try to find: Birds Pink Footed Goose- this migrates to winter in the UK Buzzard- bird of prey easily spottable throughout Scotland Wood Pigeon Plants Rosebay Willow Herb Horse-Chestnut Tree Yew Tree Animals Seals- Scotland has an abundance of seals, and autumn is the season they give birth! Squirrels- grey and red, although it is highly unlikely we will be able to see any red, sadly. Hedgehogs- again it would be lovely to see them, but may not be possible. But autumn is the time of year that they prepare for hibernation. To study nature we will have a journal, which we write and draw our observations in. As we go in search of each thing we will prepare before hand by doing a little research into habitat, behaviours, etc this will hopefully maximise our chance of seeing the animals we are looking to study. They choice of animals, birds and plants for this term has been help by the places I know we will be going, for example our homeschool group is planning a trip of watch seals in November, this means studying seals is an obvious choice. Other equipment, books that can be useful are field guides, a camera and binoculars. Field guides are available from the local library, there are also many excellent websites with information on wildlife. My hope is not only to educate my children as to their rich natural heritage, but that they will grow to love, appreciate and value what is on their door step. So one day they will mark out their year by the changing signs of nature through the seasons. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Walking With Young Children Part 1

I am passionate about nature and taking children into beautiful places. I believe the glory of God is made manifest in creation, and therefore being surrounded by nature can only be good for a child’s soul (as well as healthy for their body). Science bears this out. Being immersed in nature has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health. Scotland has many beautiful wild places to explore with children. I look forward to the day I can take them hiking up more adventurous places. But until then we content ourselves with more tame adventures. As Scotland is relatively small, you do not have to travel far to find somewhere wild and beautiful. Therefore I am always looking for new and exciting places to take the children: wild and beautiful places where they can run free. Locations I chose do have a theme of woodland, and rivers… what can I say I like trees! One problem I do have is finding such places that are buggy friendly! Searching for new places to explore throws up many amazing places, but I need them to be accessible to little legs and a buggy! Here is a list of my recommendations, for wild beauty in Scotland: 1. Lord Ancrum’s Wood There are many lovely walks around here. The River South Esk provides opportunity for wading in welly boots, and plenty of trees to climb. And a large part of the wood is buggy friendly. Map and more information from the Forestry Commission 2. Pentland Hills Glencourse Reservoir Walk This walk is nestled amongst the Pentland Hills. Very pretty. For More information see my previous post: Walking in the Pentlands 3. Vogrie Country Park Another great place to walk with children, also has a fantastic adventure playground. Situated outside Edinburgh. Has many paths suitable for young children and pushchairs. 4. Mugdock Country Park Situated not far from Glasgow, this country park is huge. There is a variety of different habitats from moorland to woodland. Great for walking with children of all ages. It is also on the West Highland Way. 5. Innerleithen: Pirn Hill Pirin Hill is the site of ancient Iron Age Fort. I have pushed a buggy to the top- hard work, but satisfying! This is an easy hill for little legs to manage. Around the foot of the hill there are also tracks which are a bit less intense than pushing a buggy up to the top! 6. Glen Garry Pine Wood The Pine Forests of this part of the Highlands consist of remnants of the ancient Caledonian...
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