Nature journals especially will reflect the age/skill difference as should be the case. I appreciate Lindafay's recent blog post: The First Stage of Nature Journaling. She outlines practical things to think about and several aspects to concentrate on when getting started. My older kids' journal entries (including those I require of them) are very different to what my younger set choose to record in their journals. This difference is good.
To a certain extent the difference is due to the fact that I have distinct goals for each when it comes to their journals. For the younger set, the goal of nature study (and journaling) is to increase interest and nurture natural delight, as well as to teach by modeling careful observation and attention. These skills developed, the goals for the older set might be to continue to develop a habit of observing and recording nature findings in the keeping of a regular journal as well the maintaining of a potentially lifelong source of delight.
Here are a few of my ideas and current practice as pertains to nature journal entries at different levels:
Weekly (all ages, myself included):
Nature Walk - This is time spent seeing. We generally look for things we've never seen before or things that have changed since last time. Occasionally, this gets relegated to time in the backyard (definitely not our favorite) or in extreme circumstances an extended viewing from the window, but ideally not, because we ALL need our time outside in great quantities whether we realize it or not.
Sketch - includes watercolor (goal: to replicate size and color of object). Sometimes this is from some item we pick up along our walk, very rarely do we take our colors out with us... too complicated with littles, though I'd LOVE to do this more often.
Daily (AOy6+, I would love to make time daily for myself too someday soon):
Note: Daily is an ideal, it is not a hard fast rule. In reality, I think it happens about 3x/week.
2-3 sentences and/or sketch - may be a sketch or text only.
May include any of the following:
Add to Bird list*
Add to Animal list*
Add to Plant list*
Note Moon phases
Observe/record 5 senses
I found this gem on the floor next to my bed.
Yep, that's right where I found him.
If you can get over the heeby-jeebies, this bug can in fact be a source of delight.
This is how big. :)
*The Bird, Animal and Plant lists are lists that are maintained on a yearly or lifelong basis. The object must be observed, identified and then listed with the date observed. The list might be kept in a notebook dedicated to the subject or on the last pages of the nature journal. It's a pretty simple matter and doesn't require much thought to begin.
Feel free to link up your nature study posts here in the comments!
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