My ‘flip’ answer would be…. tell the boys to open their eyes while outside!
Okay, maybe we’ve just been incredibly fortunate to have spent the past few years living in locations that have nature pretty much in our backyard.
For 16 months, we had a fantastic rental in a small community surrounded by state park land at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. Within minutes, we could walk down to the Elk River or onto state park land, including a nice walk down to the Turkey Point Lighthouse. Just walking along the river bank at the community beach area provided ample learning opportunities. It was a very “Charlotte Mason” friendly location according to one friend out there.
Now, up in Alaska, we are blessed to live in a house with just over an acre of land. Most of the property is wooded, so we can learn about mature forests literally IN our backyard or within a few minutes walk into more dense woods with a stream that runs down the mountain. A short drive brings us more opportunities to get out and enjoy the natural world. Heck, in the winter you can see moose walking down the main roads in Anchorage!
But, I realize that not everyone is able to do this. I’d argue that even in what seems like the antithesis to nature, there is something to be seen and observed. I remember taking walks with my biology class during high school to go bird watching. We were walking in a subdivision with trees and plantings. But, it wasn’t what I’d consider a commune with nature kind of place. Yet, we were able to see a variety of birds. We just needed to have our eyes open!
So maybe my seemingly flip answer isn’t too far off the mark. If we take the time to observe the world around us, we might be amazed at what we can see. All we have to do is OPEN our eyes and focus in on what surrounds us. Look up, look down, look all around. Everywhere we go we can see God’s handiwork.
Who knows…one of these days, we might even expand learning from nature to include sketches and writings. I almost feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. But, if the bear start getting too close and personal, it’s back to visiting the zoo and watching nature shows on TV!