Tag Archives: nature journaling

Keeping a Nature Journal

“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.

keeping-a-nature-journal-cover

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!

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Benefits of Nature Study: Building Skills and Knowledge

“A love of Nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humor.”

~ Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, pg. 71)

We have been keeping Nature Journals since we started homeschooling  – it seemed easy enough to do: go outside, observe something closely in nature and draw it. What I didn’t realize is how much the kids would actually enjoy it and look forward to our nature walks. I should have – Miss Mason didn’t build her philosophy and methods on things that she hadn’t tried and proven many times over – I now see that 7 years down the road of this journey.

It is a joy to take my youngest child on a nature walk. She is so full of enthusiasm and interest. She loves to point out things that she notices. Her seat in the car has a storage space next to it for drinks and stuff. It is always full of the treasures she wants to save, explore, draw and enjoy. 

“We must rid ourselves of the notion that to learn the 3 R’s or the Latin grammar well, a child should learn these and nothing else. It is as true for children as for ourselves that, the wider the range of interests, the more intelligent is the apprehension of each.”

~ Charlotte Mason (Vol. 3, pg. 209)

Nature Study and the subsequent journaling are natural invitations to explore the world – to see it up close and personal. I have written several posts before about nature study – how to do it and why. But recently I realized that I have noticed some things in my kids that made me want to re-dedicate myself to this so-simple-it-is-too-easy-to-work practice.

“The nature note books which originated in the P.U.S. [Charlotte Mason’s Parents’ Union School] have recommended themselves pretty widely as traveling companions and life records wherein the ‘finds’ of every season, bird or flower, fungus or moss, is sketched and described…. The nature note book is very catholic [universal] and finds room for the stars in their courses and for, say, the fossil anemone on the beach at Whitby. Certainly these notebooks do a great deal to bring science within the range of common thought and experience; we are anxious not to make science a utilitarian subject.”

~ Charlotte Mason (Vol. 6, p. 223)

Some of the benefits of skills and knowledge that I have noticed include (but aren’t limited to):

  • increased appreciation of the beauty found in everyday nature
  • the ability to creatively express themselves in various media forms: written and drawn, even photography.
  • better technical drawing
  • increased perception of world around them and ability to question and wonder
  • ability to connect science reading and knowledge with real life experiences
  • increased self-confidence and self-awareness
  • better physical coordination and abilities
  • willingness to “be” in the moment – to slow down and see
  • shared family culture through enjoying experiences together

What are the benefits you have seen from your Nature Study?

P.S. – Some previous posts that you might enjoy:

https://mysouldothdelight.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/nature-study-part-1/

https://mysouldothdelight.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/nature-study-part-2-i-dont-even-know-if-a-turtle-is-reptile-or-amphibian/

https://mysouldothdelight.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/nature-study-part-3-using-your-porch-or-patio/

https://mysouldothdelight.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/nature-study-part-4-journaling-the-experiences/

https://mysouldothdelight.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/nature-study-part-5-tweaking-the-ideas-to-fit-our-family/

https://mysouldothdelight.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/nature-study-in-winter-ideas-for-making-it-happen/

 

 

The Burgess Animal Book Study Guide

Burgess Animal BookI’m excited to offer a new FREE study guide for the Burgess Animal Book! We’ve been using it for the last year or so and really enjoying it, so I decided to clean it up and share it with you!

This new guide features lessons that have a variety of options to pick and choose (or use them all) to take the topics deeper and to incorporate more learning styles. Each lesson includes:

  • single chapter readings (either you read or listen to it on audio)
  • introduces the new animal(s)
  • has both the original illustration and/or an updated color photo of the animal
  • additional readings from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock (optional)
  • suggested Nature Study Journal entries
  • optional coloring pages (available in separate download or links)
  • and contains additional book suggestions for further enjoyment

The large color pictures and nature journaling have made a big difference in our enjoyment this year. Recording what we remember about each reading has been a fun way to track the differences in families like the rabbits and squirrels. Here are a couple of our journals of the same readings on squirrels:

BAB Journal Pages

Click here to download the free guide: Burgess Animal Book Study Guide

Click here to download the coloring pages: Burgess Animal Book Coloring Pages

Click here to get my free Burgess Bird Book guide/resources: Burgess BIrd Book Study Guide