Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Studying squirrels

That squirrel in the park was a recent nature highlight for us. Last Sunday night we were talking about it again, and we decided to draw what we had seen. Of course, we can't draw squirrels in real life, when we've only seen two in nine months of living here. So, we turned to the internet. Just for fun, we watched a bunch of videos of red squirrels. Then we looked at photos, and finally chose this one from Wikipedia:

(Look closely, so that you can compare it with our drawings.)

From there we took off drawing. Raia is our artist these days, so she was in her element. Don't you love her squirrel?

Jaan's not very interested in drawing, so I wasn't sure what he would do. When we work on art projects, I usually make him start out sitting with us, but that's about all. He insisted that he couldn't do this, so I just had him watch, while I began sketching. We discussed every line I drew, and before long, he took over! We continued to work together, with him actually leading and directing. Our drawing is quite detailed, and it took several days and several sessions to finish, but we're both pleased with it now.

In doing this, I rediscovered a blog that I was really impressed with before. I love "The Outdoor Hour" challenges there. In the preschool stage where we are now, nature study is just spending time outside, discovering and enjoying creation as much as we can. The Handbook of Nature Study blog was above our level. However, as I was looking at it this time, I realized that a lot of our recent observations fit in with what she's been writing about.  This post goes with the squirrel challenge.  (But only 10-15 minutes on a nature walk?  We usually spend hours!)  I added Jaan and Raia's artwork to her gallery.  We've also just recently seen two hares (one this morning!) and some bats.  Maybe we'll study those, too.  So, you might see even more nature posts here, as we learn and record. Of course, our focus is still on the time we spend outside, not the study part. Recording our findings is just a side benefit, but we'll see. . . .  And, yes, there's a whole lot more to our life than nature study, but it's one of the areas that we really love!

Oh, and just wait until I write about skunks and other stinky creatures!


Baba Julie said...

I LOVE the EARS!! They are so cute! And, what wonderful drawings! You definitely have some artists in the family! I can't wait to hear about and see the bats and skunks! Love to all! Baba Julie

Mom said...

Delightful drawings....I am only sorry Aunt Leetra did not see the post before she left tonight. (Hopefully she will see it tomorrow.)

Hug each artist for us.

Mom (again) said...

When I realized I could not enlarge the photo of Raia holding her artwork, I was disappointed (but the magnifying glass held over the computer screen eased that disappointment). Finding that I could enlarge photos of the artwork on the gallery page mentioned on the blog, I was elated.

Raia, you have incredibly captured the squirrel's fluffy tail; Jaan, your squirrel demonstrates such observation of the variation in fur color and direction of each individual hair. Both of you are becoming very skillful artists!

With our much love....

Laura :) said...

They are little artists indeed. Jaan sure does look happy with his creation!

Laura :)

Lindy said...

Since I have a yard (and often house) full of red squirrels I think you have done an excellent job illustrating them. They are very cute the way they hold their tails up against their backs and their perky ears. I wish I could send our over to you and save some birdseed for the birds! Love, Aunt Lindy

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Your nature study is perfect for your children's ages. I love that you took time to take their real life experience and build on that with the artwork and online research.

You are definitely on the right track and I am really glad to have had a small part of it.

I am really looking forward to seeing you around the OH Challenges in the future.

Check today's challenge out...skunks and badgers! If you can pull the Burgess Animal book up online and read the stories this week because I think your children will really like hearing them.

Thanks again,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom