After several years of nature study, I am different because I have been awakened. I can see. And I am absolutely smitten by the beauty I've discovered.
That's what nature study has done to me.
"In the early years we are not to teach nature as science, we are not to teach it primarily for method or for drill: we are to teach it for loving - and this is nature study. On these points I make no compromise."
There is nothing quite like a sense of wonder when it comes to discovering the minute alongside the grandiose beauty in the world around us. Oh such delights are waiting for us!
When we discover something wonderful... wouldn't we like to remember it? A nature journal is great for that! The emphasis is on the experience, the enjoyment of nature, observation and asking questions, not so much on the recording. What we record in a journal is only the outward sign of the inward workings ;)
"A field notebook may be made a joy to the pupil and a help to the teacher. Any kind of blank book will do for this, except that it should not be too large to be carried in the pocket, and it should always have the pencil attached."
Here's how we started:
I actually made our own first books. I didn't have very high hopes of finding anything of very good quality in the small mountain town in Peru where we lived in those days. Plus, I didn't want to spend a lot of money if the boys weren't even going to use them. Also, I would have been hesitant to let them mess them up if they had cost me a lot of money... I'm annoying like that. :) So, we made our own, and they've become real treasures to us for more than just the fact that they are homemade.
I just knew they'd come in handy one of these days!! ;) heheh.
So, the books belong to the kids. They decorate the outside, and they do all the drawings inside... with no criticism, no corrections... all theirs. For a LONG time, they weren't really into making entries. I didn't fuss. I just pulled mine out, and likely as not, they'd appear with theirs some time later as well.
Just recently actually have we graduated to store bought journals. I bought them from Miller Pads and Paper. They are perfect. Not necessarily for watercolor, but definitely for sketching. Charlotte Mason emphasized giving the children quality art materials, but I didn't always have access to quality. Nor did my budget always allow for it. But one can never go wrong with a sturdy blank book and a set of good colored pencils. Just last year we ventured into watercolor for a bit, and now are back to the pencils until we can learn some more. We had a few too many really satisfying sketches ruined by a bit too much water! I'm hoping to learn more about dry brush very soon (yes, Richele, I need to review your post again ;)
"Too much have we emphasized drawing as an art; it may be an art, if the one who draws is an artist; but if he is not an artist, he still has a right to draw if it pleases him to do so. We might as well declare that a child should not speak unless he put his words into poetry, as to declare that he should not draw because his drawings are not artistic."
One of our nature study posts from about 4 years ago! hah! the kids are so small! :)
Bloggy friends who've posted on their nature journals lately... Pebblekeeper, Barb, and Richele
This officially my first Outdoor Hour Challenge post, I believe. Hooray!
Simple Nature Journal squidoo
HONS - free online in many formats here.
I snagged the following AWESOME link from Megan over at Contented Sparrow (check out her inspiring post first!) then... Vintage Nature Readers Galore! Check them both out :)
So how 'bout it? Are you inspired yet?
Go ahead, pick up a notebook and some pencils and head out to see what you can see, see, see!
Oh, and if you get a chance, I'd love to hear all about it!