A lady on the Charlotte Mason Nature Journaling group on Facebook recently posted the question “If you had just one piece of advice for nature journaling, what would it be?”
I thought this was a great question, and wanted to share with you my answer.
My piece of advice would be to just do it. Go to your local art shop and pick up a journal for each of your children, and one for yourself. If you cannot draw, that’s all the better, because then your children will see you struggling to learn something new, and it’s a good reminder for us mums to have the feeling of the difficulty of pressing on with learning a new skill. Don’t get caught up in finding the perfect journal, just buy something with medium weight paper, medium texture (not too rough, not too smooth.) Get everyone a pencil. (You can also pick up coloured pencils or watercolours, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, just get everyone a pencil. Also buy a local field guide specific to your area. Mark off a time on your calendar once a week for nature study. Decide where you are going. Go to the same place every week. Your own garden (if you have one) counts. So does a walk around your neighbourhood. When the time for nature study comes, get everyone dressed in weather appropriate clothing and go for a walk. As long or a short as you like. Twenty minutes is fine. You do not have to set off for an all day Pinterest-worthy adventure! While you are out, ask the children to look for something. ‘Signs that autumn is here’, or ‘signs winter in on the way’, are some ideas, but go with whatever you like. Ask them to find a small nature treasure to take home. (No fallen tree branches necessary!) Once home, sit everyone at the table with their journals (you too, mum!) and have everyone draw what they brought home. Gently remind them to ‘draw what they see, not what they think they see.’ Give them hot chocolate and cake while they draw. As they ask questions, look up the answers in your field guide. Discuss. Done!