“Beauty is everywhere – in white clouds against the blue, in the gray bole of the beech, the play of a kitten, the lovely flight and beautiful coloring of birds, in the hills and valleys and the streams, in the wind-flower and the blossom of the bloom. What we call Nature is all Beauty and delight, and the person who watches Nature closely and knows her well, like the poet Wordsworth, for example, has his Beauty Sense always active, always bringing him joy.”
~ Charlotte Mason (Vol. 4, pp. 41, 42)
There is a book called Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth that has been much touted as an essential nature study book for homeschooling mothers who aren’t sure about how to DO nature journals in a Charlotte Mason Education. (You know – the moms who need to know everything about how to do something “right” before ever attempt to actually try it. 😉 ) A friend of mine gave it to me a couple of years ago and I have been reading it off and on since.
This book contains many suggestions of ways to Nature Journal: what to include, how often to go out, how to record what you see, and more. There are many chapters full of actual samples of different types of journals – by layout, topic, area, seasons, weather, and more. It also includes a few tips on how to draw different things in your journals – with some basic ideas of how to get more practice before going outdoors. One way the author gets time to draw in her nature journal when she is busy is by collecting a few objects while out on a walk – a seedpod, leaves, a feather – and taking them home to save for a time when she can sit for a few minutes to draw. It is in this act that she finds time to slow down, concentrate, then think and relax.
The book also has a section called Teaching Journaling to Groups of All Ages and gives specific tips on how to interest adults, children, school groups and more in starting and maintaining a nature journal.
We as teachers and mothers make Nature Study so hard when we think we have to find the pristine, untouched nature around us – and that paralyzes those of us in cities. How are we to do that realistically?? I was struck by Claire Walker Leslie’s comment about including human structures in our drawings – we are part of nature and the habitat. When viewed this way, we can let go and enjoy ourselves in the moment. And that is the beauty of it all – learning and living!