Charlotte Mason advocates weekly nature walks and nature journals. Our recent weeks have been more enjoyable than the past years’ attempts. I think our previous efforts were stressful due to the skills some children felt they lacked in art, and others didn’t enjoy the science emphasis.
We started this spring with a more casual approach and drew the jasmine that had just begun to blossom. I sneaked in a field guide and we casually identified the plant type. I read aloud some chapters from A Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola. It is an inspirational book! We enjoyed a picnic in the garden and the morning was really lovely. I asked each child to write what they sensed God was telling them in nature and everyone wrote precious revelations.
This week was really cold and windy, so collected fern samples to draw inside. the details they noticed and drew were excellent. My 9-year-old discovered the effects of rubbings and the art fun took off from there. At the end of the drawing session we placed the leaves in-between newspaper and placed it under heavy books to press for a few weeks.
I find that it is easier if we work on a page clipped to a clipboard and not in the nature journal. This way, flops are discarded and those who are more enthusiastic, can do several pages which we file or paste into the nature journals. I ask everyone to start with a “frame and name” and this breaks up the pure white page and presents the opportunity to decide if they will draw with their page in portrait or landscape.
We all love the relaxed atmosphere of a nature walk day. It revives our spirits, inspires reflection and appreciation of the world around us, and we all are grateful for the beauty of God’s creation and His presence.