A Calendar of Firsts Along?


It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar––the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations. Think of the zest and interest, the object, which such a practice will give to daily walks and little excursions.

Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 54


This year, inspired by Miss Mason, I have been keeping a Calendar of Firsts; a place to record recurring seasonal events, such as the first snowdrops, the first apple on our tree in the garden, and when our apple tree loses it’s leaves.


Miss Mason had her students keep a list in the back of their Nature journals; this was their Calendar. I decided to add a little twist to mine, and illustrated my entries directly into a diary.


Many of you have contacted me about my Calendar of Firsts, and said that you would like to keep your own. I thought it would be fun to have a ‘Calendar of Firsts ~ along’. We can share what we are recording from the natural world, and encourage one another to be consistent.


If you are interested, you can read about the diary I have been using, and how I set it up. This is just what I did, of course you are free to use any diary that you wish.

cal firsts

I will start a thread in the Charlotte Mason Nature Journaling Group on Facebook, were we can discuss the ins and outs. Please do pop over to join the conversation! I would also like to feature other Calendar of Firsts right here on the blog. I think it would be lovely to see a wide range of Calendars. There is no need for illustrations, if you are keeping one in the traditional list form, that would be smashing, as would any illustrated versions. Would you be willing to share yours? If you are interested, please drop me a line at: lynnseddonhs at gmail dot com

We can also keep in touch on social media using the hashtags #calendaroffirsts #raisinglittleshoots  #exploringnaturewithchildren

Roll on 2017!

12 thoughts on “A Calendar of Firsts Along?

  1. Hi! I love your Calendar and have watching yours progress over the year. It is so beautiful! I just don’t know if I have the confidence to do it…afraid I will mess it up. I have looked for the large moleskin weekly journal but have been unable to find it here in the states for 2017. I wish you could post more of your ‘ins and outs’ here. I have been on leave from facebook and it has been so freeing to do so. The down side is that I miss out on lovely groups as the one you propose. Thank you for all your inspiring work this year!

    1. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate your feedback.
      I would really encourage you to consider keeping a Calendar of Firsts. Please don’t let perfectionism put you off. I can guarantee that if you begin to keep a nature journal in January, by the time December comes around, you cannot fail to improve. I can see how much my own work has improved over the time I have been keeping nature journals.
      Remember that nature study is a science not an art subject. Draw diagrams & write lots of notes rather than trying to create pretty pictures. Focus on the goal of learning more about the natural world around you.
      As for journals, use whatever is easily available. And I do take on board your comments about FaceBook 🙂

      1. Thank you for the encouragement, Lynn! One way or another I will give it a try! Bless you!
        Lori in TX

  2. Hi Lynn! I had already decided to have something similar to yours next year. I have been keeping track of snowfalls, first signs of each season and birds that visit our garden for a few years. I am excited to step it up a notch. I am still trying to decide if I will start a Facebook account. 🙂 I will pop you an email later today.

  3. I started one due to your inspiration, though I haven’t have the courage to share it yet. 😉 My question for you is this: do you paint off of photos you’ve taken, or off of the live object/scene?

    1. Hello Stacy! It’s lovely to hear from you, and I am delighted that you have begun your own Calendar of Firsts 🙂
      Regarding painting from life / photographs, I do both. For example, yesterday, I painted an autumn leaf & a wee Robin in my CoF. The leaf was painted from life, the Robin from a photograph my husband had taken. I think it is preferable to paint from life; there is just something more ‘lively’ about the subject, but a photograph can make things easier as it makes the subject 2-D, and therefore easier to draw. I do not have the skills or experience to draw a bad that is moving around so much, so I always draw birds from photos!
      I hope this is helpful.

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