2012 Farms, Reading and Nature
2012 was both the second year of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity (UNDB) and in Australia, we had two National Years – of the Australian Year of the Farmer (AYoF) and the National Year of Reading (NYR) . I continued the series of articles on Biodiversity activities in the Home Education Network’s magazine Otherways, firstly with a focus on the UNDB theme ‘living in harmony with Nature’, then Farming, Reading and using images from books to learn about Farming and Nature.
Living in Harmony (issue 131) began the year with a look at the values of Biodiversity, including the UNDB’s Aichi Targets, the logo for the UNDB, applying the e5 instructional model to this theme, and finished with some specific threats to our Australian biodiversity and how we could prevent them.
Farming, Sustainability and Science (issue 132) began with looking at some aims of the AYoF that can be especially relevant for home educators. It then suggested creating books with/for children to teach them about farming and where their food comes from. Examples of some good books for learning about Science through a farming theme were given, and some on-line resources. Suggestions were made for how to address the concept of sustainability and the value of weeding as an action in support of it and Nature.
Love 2 Read especially about Nature (issue 133) moved the focus to reading and stories about Nature. The NYR’s logo was suggested for a reflection and discussion activity. Three aims of the NYR were listed as relevant to home educators. Some on-line sources of book reviews and study guides were suggested. Several picture books were suggested for their good Science content, especially in their pictures, linking to the Read4Nature concept. Finally some suggestions were made for encouraging reading in a home context.
The final article Nature Images Otherways (issue 134) continued on from this, looking at the strengths and sources of llustrations for learning good Science. It included links to the Read4Nature resources, on-line books created by St Joseph’s P.S. Hopetoun on the theme of sustainability in farming, concept maps, on-line photo galleries, on-line photo chains, UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s photo books, on-line simulations and real-life gardening. While the UNDB theme will continue, this concluded this year’s themes on the Australian Year of the Farmer and the National Year of Reading.