6 Things I Love About Nature Journaling
(Not necessarily in this order)…
1. Nature Journaling teaches observation
In order to draw something accurately, you must study it carefully. It’s fun to see the progression in Older Brother’s drawings, as he learns to notice more details and draw them with increasing precision.
2. Nature Journaling helps us celebrate God’s creation
This is an important theme in our homeschool, and I love that Nature Journaling gives us a way to document natural treasures we’ve witnessed and enjoyed. “He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell, How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.” [All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Cecil F. Alexander]
3. Nature Journaling provides an opportunity for taking pride in good work
His Nature Journal gives Older Brother something to take pride in. It’s not a folder filled with meaningless worksheets,but a record of real-life experiences, a documentary of sorts.
Remember when we saw the cattails on that walk with Daddy?
What about the time we visited a special park with some friends?
Look, here’s the Yellow Rocket we identified in our field.
And the mushrooms you identified on the spot while adventuring with some friends–we were all so impressed!
This collection of experiences is illustrated by Older Brother’s own drawings–he can point to them and say “I drew this. It’s something I saw, and I drew it myself.”
4. Nature Journaling teaches independence
We’ve chosen to eschew work sheets and text books in favor of reading quality literature, studying artists and composers, appreciating nature, learning poetry and hymns, etc. This means–especially when children are too young to handle heavy independent reading–that Mom is directly involved in most of our schooling. Older Brother’s Nature Journaling, however, is completed almost entirely without my assistance. This has been a gradual process, but I love that it gives him ownership of one specific area, and teaches him to work independently from me.
5. Nature Journaling teaches concepts of time
Older Brother has been journaling for almost two years now. (He is almost seven.) As a result, he has learned to tell time and has a good understanding of days, weeks and months, without me ever formally teaching him these concepts. We’ve talked about them here and there when they’ve come up, but he received no real instruction on the topic of time until just recently when we began a math curriculum. And even at that, the instruction has been minimal. I credit his Nature Journaling for this.
6. Nature Journaling provides meaningful handwriting practice
Who wants to copy meaningless words, just to learn to write? I love that Nature Journaling gives Older Brother the chance to write labels or brief descriptions of his drawings. It’s just enough practice–and carries meaning for him–without bogging him down in tedious labor.
Does your family have a way to record experiences in nature?
Check out more great Nature resources:
- Spring Wildflowers and a Great Online Identification Tool
- 13 Ideas for a Spring Nature Walk
- Favorite Children’s Books for Spring
- Poems for Spring
- Exploring Nature With Kids: The Nature Display
- Excellent Nature Biography for Kids (The Flower Hunter: William Bartram, America’s first naturalist)
- Free Nature Journal Resources for Kids
- Naturalist-Recommended Wildflower Guides
- On-the-Go Nature Guides for Kids
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Book Review)