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For 27 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors
by Barry Stebbing
Great Thou Art
Drawing from the "How Great
Thou Art" Student Gallery.
For the art student, going out-of-doors to
study nature can
be very inspiring. In the beginning, however,
there may be some
obstacles to overcome.
For one thing, trying to draw everything
that is around us
in nature can be overwhelming.
Along with trying to copy every little
detail is the added
frustration of working in surroundings that
can be uncomfortable:
the wind will blow your papers away, bugs
will pester you, the
weather will be too hot or too cold, and
passing strangers may
try to see what you are drawing.
However, as you acclimate yourself, you
will enjoy working
sure to dress comfortably, suitable for the
climate or the season.
along a hat and chair and sit in the shade.
your artwork down so it doesn't blow in the
may be better to start with a small
sketchbook, keeping subject matter simple and
Most importantly, be thankful that you
have God's creation
for subject matter and inspiration.Creating Greens in Leaves
A simple nature study to start with is
Most young students go outside with one
green pencil and
color everything the same green. It is said
that Vincent Van Gogh
knew of over one hundred different greens he
could make when
See how many greens you can find in leaves
and then create
these various tones with your colored
pencils. Your tones of
green will not be exactly like the greens in
the leaves, but this
exercise will teach you the beauty of making
a wide variety of
and color each leaf, using various colors to
make different tones of green.
with one of your colored pencils instead of a
with a light color like yellow, and then add
outline your entire leaf with one heavy line;
instead, only outline certain areas.Make a Green Color Chart
While you are experimenting with various
greens, make a
color chart and place your new greens in it.
make a color chart, draw some small squares
with a ruler on a sheet of white paper and
then experiment with your colored pencils,
seeing how many new colors you can create.
experiment by blending yellow with blue.
important green is a light, bright
yellow/green. This is the color of grass,
bushes, and trees when the sun is shining on
them. To make this color, simply use a lot of
yellow and then place a very light green over
can also make a light green by using a lot of
yellow and adding a touch of blue. Another
green is a dark blue/green, made by adding a
lot of blue over green, making it darker and
richer. This darker green is found in many
a dull green, you can add the complement of
green to the color. A complementary color is
simply the color that is directly opposite to
it on the color wheel. Thus, the complement
of green is red.
See how many different greens you can put
in your color
chart, and write under each the colors you
used to make it,
starting with the color you used most, to the
next color, to the
least. For example, a blue/green might be Y +
G + B (yellow +
green + blue).Simple Studies from Nature
the beginning, keep your studies as simple as
possible: one leaf, one flower, one pine
cone, one branch, etc. Simple studies are
both educational and easy to comprehend.
by drawing each object lightly with a colored
pencil. Then squint your eyes to see how many
colors you see in the object.
those colored pencils in your hand as a
reminder, and then start placing a lot of
color into your drawing. Learn to see color,
and don't forget to use a lot of delightful
So, let's pack up our art materials and
venture outside! As you
are surrounded by God's creation, you will
sense its wonder and
Barry Stebbing is the author of How
Great Thou Art instruction materials.
A Nature Notebook gives your child
a record of his discoveries as well as a
journal of the places he has visited. It
can help your child become more
observant and extend your learning time
after your walk. Plus, it's just plain
A spiral-bound notebook that opens
flat with unlined, medium to heavyweight
• Pencils, Pens,
Good quality colored pencils or, for variety,
paints or watercolor pencils.
• Flower Press
Small types are available at craft stores or
you can make
own by layering smooth, thick paper
towels between pieces of
corrugated cardboard and stacking heavy books
on top. More
• Clear Contact
PaperWhat To Include
Use to protect pressed flowers and leaves
that have been
glued on the pages. Wait for the glue to dry
Your nature journal or notebook will be a
record of your
observations, using any or all of the
• Written record
of item, date and place found or seen.
• Drawing of item
in various media. This can be your original
sketch or a drawing from a field guide.
• Photo or post
card of item.
• Dried and
pressed flowers or leaves (if collection is
allowed by law or the property owner). It is
best not to pick up feathers.
• A rubbing of
tree bark or leaves.
• Added sentence
or paragraph about the circumstances of found
• An appropriate
quote, Bible verse, or poem.Resources
Nature Book for grades 2-6.
Field Journal. Suggestions for keeping a
nature journal, plus printable pages to
record information and make drawings.
and sample pages of a nature journal.
Study from Living Books Curriculum.
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The other day my 5-year-old placed his
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rose to life again. If we trust Him as our
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Copyright 2008 The Teaching Home
Planing Summer / Enjoying Spring
1. Stay Cool This Summer
2. Seeing God in Nature
3. Go on a Nature Walk
4. Plant and Animal Identification
1. Art: Nature Studies
2. Keeping a Nature Notebook
• Beyond Phonics
• Living Books Curriculum
• Christian Book Clearinghouse
Spring is here! It’s time to
get out of the house, go for a walk, and
enjoy nature. Along the way you will
find many opportunities to learn about,
appreciate, and wonder at God’s
May the Lord bless your family for His
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
Home is a home-school, family-run
business operated in our home since 1980.
Stay Cool This Summer!
It's Not Too Late for Poor Spellers!
All your children can now master
Spelling, Fluent Reading and Vocabulary
quickly and painlessly with character-building,
phonics-based word family stories for all ages.
Just one textbook covers grade levels
1-12; remedial for all ages. Compatible with
all curricula and all learning styles.
Examples: ie -
"Natalie ate her cookie as
she walked on the prairie with her
ey - "We didn't have the
money to keep
the monkey, so we took the
Beyond Phonics beyondphonics.com
No, this is not about air conditioning;
it's about scheduling. Actually, it's about
Since it is already time to consider and
sign up for many summer activities, here are
some thoughts to help you.
First, prayerfully consider your most
important goals as a Christian home-school
family, such as: • Spiritual growth
• Family closeness
Then, ask yourself questions like these:
1. Spiritual Growth
Are we allowing plenty of time for personal
and family Bible reading, study, discussion,
and memorization, as well as prayer and hymn
2. Service and
Is there something we could do as a family
1) to serve others in our church, extended
family, or community that would bring honor
to God or
2) to spread the good news of salvation?
Which skills and/or subjects do each of our
children really need to master, review, or
maintain this summer to be ready for next
When can each person have time alone to just
relax, without demands or deadline?
5. Family Unity
Will an activity we are considering tend to
unify or separate our family?
6. Making Memories
What can we do together this summer that will
create life-long memories and strengthen our
Can we limit our commitments in such a way
that we all feel unhurried and rested, while
accomplishing a few things we really care
As always, we need to diligently keep the
good from crowding out the best!
Seeing God in Nature
Quality summer reading for students of all
"The Christian Answer
to National Geographic" —
Every issue a keepsake!
Keep your students learning this
will watch the mailbox for the next issue
full of inspiring, character-building lessons
found in nature. Perfect for summer
trips, camping, devotions, and meaningful
Read sample stories at www.creationillustrated.com.
your subscription for only $14.95 (25%
a free introductory issue.
The Bible says that God has revealed
Himself through His creation. We can
build our children's faith when we point them
to the Creator through the study of all the
wonders He has made.
“For since the creation of the world
His eternal power
and divine nature,
have been clearly
Being understood through what has been
so that they are
“The heavens are telling of the glory
And their expanse is
the work of His
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night
1. Start with Creation
Teach your children about creation
directly from the Scriptures, starting in
2. Proceed to Appreciation
Teach your children to appreciate and
wonder at God’s creation as you drive,
walk, view videos, or look at books.
Notice its: • Beauty
dimensions, both large and small
3. Not Neglecting Praise
Don’t stop with appreciation and
wonder; go on to express praise and
thanksgiving to the Lord for His
“I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall
continually be in my mouth.”
4. Seeing What God Is Like
Help your children see God’s
attributes in creation. (Read Psalm 104
and Psalm 139:13-16.) Some examples
• Power and Might
– in thunderstorms and the pounding
– in the consistent days, months, and
• Love and Care
– for the smallest bird (Matt. 10:29)
• Beauty –
in scenery, flowers, sunsets, etc.
• Majesty –
in the grandeur of mountains and canyons
– in the expanse of the universe
– in migration and design
– in the variety of nature
Quote of Note
“I love to think of nature as an
unlimited broadcasting station through which
God speaks to us every hour, if we will only
Textbooks, Worktexts, and Unit Studies. See
The Teaching Home's Resource
In Genesis, mega-website with many
articles and resources.
Illustrated and Nature
Friend, Christian nature magazines.
Go on a Nature Walk
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
An easy-to-use guide with clear rules,
and reproducible quizzes.
This is one of the best grammar resources
we've found. It is concise, entertaining,
student-friendly, includes easy-to-understand
rules, abundant examples, dozens of
reproducible exercises, and
pre- and post-tests to help teach grammar to
students ages 10
and up (parents too!). Paper, 160 pp.
Living Books Curriculum: A complete
curriculum for the 21st century. Free
Sampler; eBook: Teaching Less while Your
Child Learns More.
Walking out-of-doors with your children is
a wonderful daily habit. The benefits
include:• An invigorating change of pace.
• An excellent form of exercise.
• A time to visit with, and teach, your
• An opportunity to observe and
You can casually notice and comment on
things in nature from
time to time as you walk along, or you can
plan a more formal
Either way, it is important to teach your
children, by word
and example, to be aware of their
surroundings and see the beauty
of God’s creation all around them.
Wherever you go, be sure you know and
observe posted rules,
common courtesy, and safety. Stay on the
paths, no loud running
around other people, no picking plants or
removing wildlife, avoid
poisonous plants or snakes, etc.
See safety pointers at U.S.
Where To Go
• Within walking
distance: around your own yard, neighborhood,
or nearby park.
• Within driving
distance: a nearby conservation area; garden;
arboretum; county, state, or national forest
or park; or the beach. Audubon
Centers and Sanctuaries
For State Parks in your state, search
“state park” in Google.
When To Go
• During your
daily scheduled walk time.
• Try walking
your regular route at different times during
the day and observing any differences.
• At night (for a
change). Take Dad or an older brother,
follow safety precautions, and go quietly so
as not to disturb your neighbors.
• A whole or
half-day outing and picnic with Dad and/or
What To Take
Be prepared to observe nature and make
your walk safe and
comfortable by bringing:
• Your curiosity.
On the way, talk about things you might see
and raise questions about them.
• Snacks and
• First aid kit.
glass for a closer look at details. The
large size is handier to use for small things
• Binoculars for
long-distance things like birds.
• Camera to
capture images of nature.
• Plastic jar
with mesh lid for insects.
• Plastic bag to
collect items such as small rocks, shells,
leaves, pine cones, or sticks.
• Sketch book or
small notebook for notes.
• Regular No. 2
pencil and/or good-quality colored pencils
and a good eraser.
• Nature field
guide(s) of birds, insects, animals, trees,
plants, wildflowers, rocks, shells, etc.
Look for those that specialize in species
found in your state or region.
See more than 15,000 nature related books
(including 400 different field guides) at
Types of Walks
You can add variety to your nature walks
and learn more by
trying some of the following:
As you walk in your neighborhood, flip a
penny at every
corner and go right if it is heads, and left
if it is tails.
A to Z Walk
Look for an item in nature for every letter
of the alphabet
that you can. (You might have to use
scientific names from your
guidebook for some letters.)
Try to find something for every color of the
Scavenger Hunt Walk
Make a list and look for items such as
something hard, soft,
short, long, fuzzy, smooth, large, and small.
For a greater challenge, list specific
species of plant or
animal or types of rocks, leaves, or clouds,
If you have a digital camera, you might
photograph each item
for viewing on your TV or computer screen.
Touch, Smell, Listen
Use your senses to observe nature by seeing,
touching, smelling, and hearing.
Try to concentrate on listening to sounds
on your night walk
when you are not distracted by seeing things.
Print a worksheet for this walk and find
other ideas at
If your family is in an area by
yourselves, it can be very
meaningful to quote or read a few Bible
verses (Psalm 19), sing a
song (“How Great Thou Art”), and
pray, praising and thanking the
Lord for the beauty of the earth.
If you are not able to have a time of
worship outside, you
might quote Scripture, sing softly, and pray
in a conversational
manner as you walk along the trail or ride
home in the car.
Your family may find that they want to
make a serious hobby
(at least for one spring or summer) of one of
• Bird watching
Lab of Ornithology
Gather, study, and display insects.
Collections can be entered in state fairs.
Don't miss these great websites:
Take your family or group geocaching—a
type of scavenger
hunt for a waterproof container bearing a
• Hiking or
Plant and Animal Identification
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by Joy Marie Dunlap
A particular focus in our children's
science study has been the careful
observation of God's creation.
Familiarize your children with field
guides, showing them the different plant
families. Show them how to identify a
plant by its shape, size, color, fruit, seeds,
• See if you can
identify all the shrubs and trees in your
• Then go to a
park and identify plants there as well.
• Go on to
identify birds, mammals, reptiles,
amphibians, insects, and fish.
Younger children may not be ready for the
required by this exercise, but there are
things you can do now to
get them ready to use a field guide later.
When your young child sees a bird, ask him
to notice and
describe different characteristics to you.
• Was it larger
or smaller than a robin?
• What color was
• Was its tail
short or long?
• Did it have a
• What about
stripes, spots, or other markings?
• Did it fly
smoothly or like a roller coaster?
List and Count
Our younger children have enjoyed making a
list of the
creatures they see on a walk. We often take
long walks in nature
and see rabbits, squirrels, ducks, hawks,
egrets, and other wild
creatures which are easy to identify.
Our children also count how many of each
they see and write
it down either on the walk or as soon as they
This is the way naturalists become
familiar with wildlife
populations. In fact, a local naturalist,
seeing our children's
enthusiasm for wild creatures, asked us to
help her by counting
the bats in our area.
Read more of Joy Marie Dunlap's
articles at www.lighthome.net.