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.