We started a new Nature Study unit this month with the coming in of apple picking season. We are using Outdoor Secrets that we got from Simply Charlotte Mason as a curriculum for it. The booklays out simple lessons that only take a few minutes, but really engage the kids in listening to stories or making observations about a topic. The first topic in the book is... Apples! We looked at different varieties of apples, read a couple of books from the library (How Do Apples Grow and Johnny Appleseed), and cut an apple open to see the "blossom" left inside.
A couple of years ago, we had Olivia study the cherry trees across the street from our house and draw them once per season. Another year, she did the big Dogwood in our back yard. This year, we're going to do an apple tree and the three older kiddos will all participate. We contacted Devil Dog Orchard, which is out on 150 in Rockingham County, and asked if we could come and sit in the orchard and draw the trees.
The kids observed the tree both from a distance and up close. Then they had to write or tell me what they saw.
The folks at DDO went above and beyond, going so far as to pull out the hay wagon and take us on a ride around the property. The kids even got to feed the fish in their pond. :)
After the ride, we spent a little time picking a bucket-full of Gala apples that are just fantastic!