Don’t Teach Nature Lessons!

Nature walks should be somewhat spontaneous opportunities for discovery. Learn from my early homeschooling mistakes and DO NOT treat nature study like an outdoor class time — it kills the child’s natural curiosity and delight!  My older children eventually refused to participate in nature study.  Instead, look for ways to include regular weekly or daily outings in nature and provide some simple tools and methods to encourage your children to notice, explore, engage and enjoy nature.

Charlotte Mason bemoaned,

“We are awaking to the use of nature-knowledge, but how we spoil things by teaching them!” (Formation of Character, p. 396).

Of course mom, you can set a topic of focus and guide your students to look for something specific, but be sure to give them lots of opportunities to observe closely and carefully for themselves with a minimum of input from you.  May I suggest that the reference books are kept in your nature study bag to be used only when a child asks for additional information? Allow your child’s natural curiosity and let them study elements and objects “off-topic” and follow their lead!

“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child.  Every day’s walk gives him something to enter …” (Vol 1, p.54-55)

Here are some of my Nature Study posts, practical tips and free downloads from my archives:

Our Theme for the Day and refreshed Daily Themes provides a simple visual reminder to include all the “extras” in our weeks such as Nature Study, Poetry, Fine Arts, Creative Writing, Geography and Science. 

Daily themes 2015

My three Smash This Nature Journals provide loads of fun, simple, unusual and unique nature journal prompts which inspire joyful nature experiences.  Order and print your Smash Nature Journals to encourage fabulous, fun nature activities!

Smash Nature Journals 123

Making time for nature study with free nature photo of the week chart and Ambleside Online Nature Study Schedule.

Free John Muir Nature Quotes & free Copywork pages include about 10 pages of John Muir quotes in either print or cursive using Charlotte Mason’s copywork & dictation principles.(Of course this is only for handwriting practice and not as part of the nature study lesson!)

How to create a Perpetual Nature Journal with explanations and links on how to create your own perpetual nature journal.

How to make a nature study bag and a sewing tutorial with simple ideas of what to include in a nature study bag.

How to create a Nature Study notice board or shelf and a post on how a simple Nature Tray provides a wonderful way to display the week’s nature finds for collection, further study and drawing in nature journals.

nature tray

John Muir Law encourages how to cultivate curiosity in nature study 3 ways.  He believes that the key to developing a closer connection with nature is by deliberately enhancing your powers of observation and wonder.  He says,Attention is what the fabric of love is made from.”  This post explains his method.

I trust that these ideas and suggestions inspire you to relax or upgrade your Nature Studies in your homeschooling!

All in grace, for grace, Nadene

Special Offer For Nature Journal Fun

It is Spring here in South Africa, and the great outdoors and going on nature walks is wonderful this time of the year.  For some really fun, and sometimes messy nature journal prompts, I have 3 Smash Nature Journals available on my Packages page.

For the month of September, I would like to offer a buy 2 and get one FREE special offer!

Here’s what I wrote about my daughter’s experience with her Smash Nature Journal ~

My daughter really enjoyed “smashing” her journal!  There is something wonderfully liberating being instructed to tear, crumple, stain, wet and mess in a nature journal.  In the past I over-stressed the nature sessions with expectations for neat, labeled, researched, colored journal pages.  This new approach brought a flurry of activity and excitement to our nature walk.

My homeschooling friend Willemien Kruger of Homeschooling Curriculum Guide shared her boy’s Smash this Nature Journal experience ~

“Both my boys enjoyed doing the Smash Nature Journals at times.  It was scheduled for something to be done when they feel like it, so some days they did a lot of pages and some days none.  Of course, the boys enjoyed the really smashing activities more than the coloring or writing, and some activities really helped them to think outside the box!  A cool idea for younger kids to explore nature and art!”

Pop over to look at samples and photos of these Smash Nature Journals.  Click to go to my Packages Page and order your buy 2 and get one FREE special offer!  And when your children have completed their pages, please email them to me to share here on the blog!

Wishing you lots of fun and excitement for your Nature Studies!

Blessings, Nadene

Smash This Nature Journal

Brand new downloads ~

Welcome to adventure outdoors journaling ideas!  Nothing stiff,  stuffy and serious here!  Be warned ~ you and your Nature Journal may get dirty or wet, but you should have some real creative fun!

I have created 2 Smash This Nature Journals which you’ll find on my Packages Page.

Cover Smash Nature Journal 1Cover Smash Nature Journal 2

Here’s how it works ~

  • Take this journal with you every time you go on a nature walk.
  • You can complete any activity, in any order.
  • Be original! Use your own ideas or adapt any here to suit your situation.
  • Photograph some of your destructive results and collect them in here to show off!
  • Have fun!

My wonderful homeschooling friend Willemien Kruger of Homeschooling Curriculum Guide sent me photos of her boys enjoying their “Smash Nature Journals“!

Here’s her feedback,

“Both my boys enjoyed doing the Smash Nature Journals at times.  It was scheduled for something to be done when they feel like it, so some days they did a lot of pages and some days none.  Of course, the boys enjoyed the really smashing activities more than the coloring or writing, and some activities really helped them to think outside the box!  A cool idea for younger kids to explore nature and art!”

My daughter also enjoyed “smashing” her journal!  There is something wonderfully liberating being instructed to tear, crumple, stain, wet and mess in a nature journal.  In the past, I over-stressed the nature sessions with expectations for neat, labeled, researched, colored journal pages.  This new approach brought a flurry of activity and excitement to our nature walks.

Pop over to my Packages Page to order your downloads.  And when your children have completed their pages, please email them to me to share here on the blog!

Blessings, Nadene