I am a homeschooler and have been ever since my oldest who is now nearing 21 was a wee one. This year, I have the added priveledge of teaching Logic and Art (and sometimes Latin if I really have to) at Covenant Family Tutorial, a classical homeschool tutorial. Today I took this delightful group of homeschoolers on a short nature journaling excursion!
We went outside to draw what we could see around us.
We drew bamboo, oak and fig leaves, seed pods, and ants.
Some did rubbings of the leaves or bark.
We looked through frames made of heavy paper to see things differently, to help us focus.
After moving to a few different spots,
we returned to the cool of the indoors to color in our pictures,
adding describing words to complete
our time of nature journaling.
This is a great activity for all. Try to get outside atleast once a week. Simply take your pencil and a pad of paper that has a stiff binding so it is easy to hold while drawing. Look around you. Look at the small things. Begin to draw. Fill up a whole page with all sorts of things that you see each time you venture out. We had bamboo, fig leaves, seed pods and rubbings on the same page. If you have a child that is reluctant to draw, this is a great activity, for when you are outside sitting on the ground with them drawing, they are more likely to join in and find they can actually do it. Show him that the leaf is sort of a triangle, or an oval shape with squiggly edges as you are drawing it in your own journal. He will learn to see things in simple shapes, too.
Another helpful hint is to have them draw lightly so unwanted lines can be erased more easily. The young child has a tendency to draw with a heavy hand making erasing difficult, therefore becoming discouraged at their messy page.
After a good amount of time has been spent freely drawing, begin to talk about your surroundings, putting down notations in your journal. What is the temperature? Today it was hot and muggy. Is it quiet? We could hear alot of traffic. What color are the leaves? Some were brown and crunchy. Some were deep green and leathery. What color are the veins? Yellow. Is it soft? Fig leaves are furry. Where are you? At the beach on a foggy day? In your back yard? With friends in the forest?. At the Grand Canyon with your cousins? And adjectives! Think of strong words together to describe the world around them putting them in their nature journal.
I like to have a special bag in the car with our journals, pencils & maybe even watercolors. Take your journals with you on your next family vacation or hike. Then stop and take a moment here and there to sketch a few things, making notations to remind you later of the dear time spent together.
When we are learning about something in science, I have my kids draw it in their journal. And of course, I draw it in mine, too. It really, really makes a difference when we take the time to sit down and do it with them. I am savoring these times with my two youngest, for I realize how precious these days are and how soon they will move on to the more serious things in life. How did my oldest two grow up so fast?
These are a few great books filled with inspiration to get you going
in a lifetime of nature journaling and memory making:
Have fun exploring and drawing together!