Spring Maple Tree Study for OHC

It was a beautiful spring day and we studied our very young maple tree.

Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) leaves showing th...

Image via Wikipedia

We planted the maple sapling last summer and it had made a lovely show in autumn.  Then it stood, small, bare and forgotten the entire winter.

Now, with the warmth and longer daylight, the leaves just budded and the tree looked tender and vulnerable in its spring awakening.

Before we went outside, we studied leaf shapes and terminology with biological terms, just to offer a richer vocabulary for accurate descriptions ~

leaf blade, leaf tip, veins, petioles,

shapes like palmate, ovate, lancelate,

leaf arrangements such as even, compound,pinnate

leaf edges such as serrated edge, scalloped, entire and so on.

Barb’s OHC Spring Maple Tree Challenge required us to carefully observe the leaves and blossoms.

So, with our indoor work done in just a few minutes, we took our notebook page, clipboards, pens and pencils and went outside.  We sat on the grass very close to the tree, looking, listening, quietening … and then journalled.

I love these sketches!

My middle-schooler journalled first.  Then she outlined the one little leaf I allowed the girls to pull off the tree and so she captured the exact size.  She drew in the veins in detail. Then she did a leaf rubbing.

When her younger sister saw the leaf juice made a mark on the paper, she also took the leaf to make a rubbing …

She drew around the edges of the leaf.

Then she made a rubbing, but her rubbing was different.   She placed the leaf on top of her page and rolled her pen firmly across the leaf blade.

Then she traced the marks the veins had left on the page.

Clever.I journalled and sketched in my nature journal.

I focused on the leaf edges, veins and leaf arrangements in detail.

Then I sketched the small tree as viewed from a distance.

I really love our time outdoors.

It is so important for me to appreciate nature with the kids.  If I don’t take part in this discovery, I become the teacher/ observer, taking photos and reading the study guides, which is partly why I think we stopped doing regular nature walks when we first started our homeschooling.  I have to admit that my best efforts in “making it educational” and “teaching the facts and details”  have caused more harm than good.  My over-zealous approach has often caused my older children to withdraw.

Now, trying it again with my younger children, I tell myself,

“Keep it simple, take it slow, enjoy and savour this time with them.”


Special Night-time Notes

Children grow up so quickly!

With busy days and responsibilities I don’t always speak to each child privately.  And in the busyness, they don’t share their troubles and concerns.

Sadly, I don’t journal the many precious moments and memories.

But for almost 6 months now, this has changed.

My younger daughters and I write special notes to each other almost every night.  Remember I suggested handwriting notes?

We use special spiral notebooks, and I bought each child a special pen.

We write and reply to each other’s notes.

When we have finished writing, we tuck the notebook secretly under a pillow.

Of course, spelling and handwriting does not matter in the least.

My children love this liberty and they write freely.

Some nights there are questions.

Other nights they share concerns.

Most notes are simple love notes.

And now and then, they draw a picture or write a joke.  Humour is such a glorious gift!

Reading my children’s thoughts, prayers, fears, hopes and joys fills my heart with gladness.

I love the freedom they have to write and ask me deep and personal questions they would be too shy to ask out loud.

I especially love to bless them.

In meaningful words.


His promises and blessings.

I write of my joy and pride in them.

It’s personal.


From my heart to theirs.

From their child-hearts to mine.

We re-read these notes and bask in the joy of such love.

Recently, when my 11-year-old finished her notebook, she came to me and asked me to keep it safe for her.  I know she may cringe when she reads it when she is older, but I will always treasure it.

Captured in these pages are the joyful memories of our relationship and lives.

Savour your children and speak the words that fill their hearts.

All too soon they are grown up and going out into the world.

These are the memories I want to savour forever.


Famous Musicians Notebook and Minibook page

Here is a wonderful free download featuring these famous classical composers:

  • Handel
  • Bach
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven

Notebook page with minibooks

This download includes a biography page for each composer with lines for biography notes and space for interesting facts or illustrations about each composer.

The minibooks include a petal minibook which can be used for each composer.Annotation 2020-02-14 122948

And a hotdog minibook for musical word definitions:

Famous Musician Hotdog minibook

You can download this file free ~ Famous Musicians Notebook with Minibook pages

Enjoy!  Blessing, Nadene