July 22, 2013

Nature Notebooks

Our granddaughter's summer-long visit has been spent riding horses, reading, and hiking, along with our annual trips to the zoo and museums. We've also been working through a math workbook for fourth grade, and doing activities from a packet that her teacher gave his students to do over the summer. The pages weren't required work, but they were fun so we did them ALL.

Drawing of a mimosa seed pod in a nature notebook
Mimosa seed pod

As well as some activities to do at the library (I loved taking a child to the library again!), we looked for animal tracks at our pond, collected botanical specimens like pine cones, seed pods, and leaves, caught a grasshopper and a beetle to observe, and watched the sun rise. Then she was supposed to draw, label, and color with colored pencils, or write about the experience.

A drawing of the parts of a grasshopper, from a nature notebook

She did quite well with the drawing, but she wasn't very happy with her work. I did a lot of encouraging, and some suggesting, and even some drawing myself as we worked out what shapes make up a pine cone.

A drawing of a pinecone, from a nature notebook

Making a nature notebook was something that really intrigued me when we were homeschooling, but my children weren't as interested as I was. It was fun to have another opportunity. I told myself yet again that I should do this for my own satisfaction and enjoyment.

A drawing of a milkweed pod from a nature notebook

To see a beautiful sample of a nature notebook, take a look at The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden, a replica of a 1906 nature notebook.

A drawing of a clover blossom from a nature notebook

I have to warn you though, this book is so beautiful that it is intimidating and might make you stop before you even start. As the Simply Charlotte Mason website advises: "A word to the wise: look at it for inspiration, not for comparison. If it makes you or your child feel inadequate, put it away!" I think it's too easy to compare our own work to perfection and to be dissatisfied. I'm sure that's why I didn't continue with my own efforts.

Indian blanket seed pod, from a nature notebook

Instead, my love of photography took over, and I use my camera to record what I see. I ended up with a nature notebook full of what I think are beautiful photos, and I'm happy with that.

How about you? Do you prefer to draw or click?

This post has been shared at the following:

Homestead Barn Hop
Eco-Kids Tuesday
Backyard Farming Connection
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
HomeAcre Hop
Simple Lives Thursday
From the Farm
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  1. I love the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady! I'll have to check that out from the library again.

  2. It's a beautiful book, isn't it, Gena? I had to order it through interlibrary loan several years ago.

    ~ Kathi

  3. I love Nature Notebooks. My girls have done several over the years.

  4. Just wanted to drop in again and say thank you for sharing this post at the HomeAcre Hop!
    Hope to see you again on Thursday!


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