Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Nature Walks & Journalling

Today, I took the little girls (5 & 7) out for a "nature walk", a la Charlotte Mason. All last year, I tried to do it but never quite got around to it. Years ago, I tried to get my family to do it but it didn't fly. Finally, today, we had our first successful nature walk. How do I know it was successful? They wanted to keep on going!

I found scribblers for both girls, and an extra notebook for myself. None of them are fancy at all. We took a pencil each and our notebooks and headed out. We only had about 30 minutes so couldn't go far. But you know, it's amazing what we found less than 5 minutes walk from our house.

The first thing we looked at was the leaves on a hedge. I showed them how to do a leaf rubbing (putting the leaf under the paper and rubbing the pencil over the top). It's a harder skill than I would have thought. My seven year old got it, with some practice, but it was hard for the five year old. We'll have to practice that.

Then we looked at a pine tree and the needles. It's hard to do a leaf rubbing of pine needles, we discovered. My five year old wanted to draw a picture of the tree; I quickly learned to just let her do what she wanted and not even worry about what page she was on in her scribbler. Does it matter if she skips around? I tried to date them later so we'd have a record of when it was done.

Beside a school playground, there is a fairly narrow line of bush, maybe 20-30 feet. There's lots to discover in there. It was neat to see them looking at the large roots of the trees, in addition to flowers & grasses.

The only thing we didn't do was to look up any of the flowers or trees at home. I don't have very many good reference books; I really need to get some. But I think just getting outside was the first step. I did wish I had the camera with me. I love taking nature photos and I feel much more comfortable doing it. But having to capture the images on paper is a good challenge for me.

I'm giving you all this detail because for me, I don't know about anyone else, I love reading about ideas such as nature journalling but I have a hard time implementing it. Because there's a five year gap between our first two children and our last two children, I feel like I have a chance to start again and do it "right". There's so much I wish I had known when the older two were young like this. But I can't unscramble eggs so I am happy to have this opportunity to put into practice some of the things I missed out the first time. And really, I should get at least my 12 year old to come with us - she's a great artist and it would be excellent practice for her. I am not in the least a very good artist - I can see it but I can't put it on paper - but I figure that it's a good idea to just keep trying and to observe as much as I can with the kids.


Anonymous said...

You're amazing, my dear! I love your creativity and ... life!


(Blogger Beta won't let me use my old Blogger ID, that's why I'm Anonymous).

Kim said...

We had a lot of trouble implementing nature walks, too, even though my in-laws have 37 acres of wooded area to wander through. Our oldest is five years older than our youngest, and when we tried it, there was always one who got tired quickly.

Sounds like your attempt went well.

Lynne said...


I updated your link tonight! Thanks for the reminder, m'dear!

Have fun with Homer! I love epic poetry and am looking forward to getting back into Beowulf soon! Then we may go onto El Cid or The Song of Roland - not sure yet!

I'm hoping to get the kids to the zoo or botanical garden soon, with our pencils and sketchpads and the camera.

I understand what you mean by feeling like your older kids missed out on some things. I feel the same way!