Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning Nature-ally

I may have mentioned before that part of the benefit of (f)Unschool becoming a Nature Club program is that we will have opportunities to have local experts join us on our outings. Bob Turner, an inspired geologist and also our local mayor, is one of those experts. Last month Bob joined us and some of Island Discovery's kids and parents to explore a clay-bank full of sea-shells. Discovering fossils first hand and learning about the history and geology of the earth is amazing anytime, but when one has the opportunity to learn about one's own home in such a manner then we internalize that learning much more deeply. It creates a spark of wonder and personal inspiration for further learning, in the future.

It is with great thanks to Bob for his gift of time, spirit, and knowledge that I publish this video of our clay-bank exploration:

A couple of weeks ago, during (f)Unschool, we were talking about the history of the forest we were hiking through: springboard notches in old-growth cedar stumps, burnt-out cedar shells from the long-ago forest fire, various edible plants and the benefit of the spring flooding to the ecosystem. I try not to talk too much, especially to the kids, but let them wonder and explore ideas, adding bits of information when it seems appropriate. And usually the kids share their own diverse knowledge with each other, deepening their relationships and their desire to understand the world. In all of this, Andra, who attends our local mainstream school, looked at me intensely and waved her arms around. "I didn't know all this, before!"

I laughed, and said that she knows lots about the island; we all have something to share.

She did not smile. "No. Seriously. They don't teach us this. If I brought my friends out here, they wouldn't know anything about this place! There's so much to know, here!"

I like to imagine her out in the woods sharing her newfound forest with her friends.


This week we're looking forward to getting back out to Nature Club (f)Unschool, after 2 weeks' break. It will likely be raining, and I'm beginning to think we might head right out into the water and really relish it. Maybe the mossy rainforest on the other side of the island. Hmmmm... Or up the bluffs if it's sunny.


When I talked to the Nature Club directors about making (f)Unschool a Nature Club activity, Will Husby (a very knowledgeable and friendly entomologist, educator, flautist and father who also happens to be my neighbour) suggested I look into David Sobel and Richard Louv, whom I'd never heard of...

Well, needless to say, I did look into them, and can now sharehere some really very excellent reads:

Article from Yes! Magazine: Beyond Ecophobia, by David Sobel
Article from the Boston Globe: Nature Nurtures Learning, by Peter Dizikes
Richard Louv's Blog: Fieldnotes from the Future

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