Let Them Once Get In Touch With Nature…

in touch with natureLet them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life

Charlotte Mason

Our Nature Journals Week 8

This week has been sunny mornings, followed by rainy afternoons. then a dark, rain-lashed brush with Storm Doris.

Rose found our first garden frog of the year.

img_0833There were tears over this one. She can’t draw frogs she said. She doesn’t know how to get the colours right. It all became very sad. She drew the head on a sheet of printer paper. We worked on local colour, and adding in the darks. I remembered the battery operated eraser I had tucked away and I showed her how to use it to make the highlights.

And everything was all okay again.

I found the first daisy in the park. Spiring is coming!
What is happening in nature in your wee corner of the world?

Beginning A Nature Journal: An Online Course With Jan Blencowe


I have recently had the great pleasure to Beta test a wonderful new course by artist & naturalist, Jan Blencowe.

Beginning A Nature Journal is unlike any other course out there; it teaches all the needed skills, and then some, to creating your very own nature journal.


Jan is an excellent teacher, and the course is unbelievably comprehensive.

There are 10 modules, each containing multiple video lessons, cheat sheets, and PDFs.

  1. Introduction
  2. Materials and set up
  3. Learning to see, learning to draw
  4. Line work
  5. Colour mixing skills
  6. Watercolour
  7. Landscapes
  8. Layout / design skills
  9. Journaling
  10. The wrap up

Remember, this is not just 10 lessons, there are multiple video lessons for each module!


Beautifully presented, and professionally produced, this course will answer all the questions you ever had about the ins and outs of nature journaling.

Please do not worry if you have not so much as picked up a sketching pencil before; Jan will teach you the skills you need to create beautiful pages in your journal that will record your experiences in the natural world. Once you have completed the course, sketching and painting in your nature journal will become a joy.



Registration for Beginning A Nature Journal opens today, with access to immediate access to the Orientation Module, which has a welcome, an overview of how you can work through the course materials, a video on how to use the Ruzuku interactive classroom, the materials and supplies PDF, and a short video with suggestions on how to personalise your own sketchbook.

The classroom will officially open on March 20. You will then have access to the entire course. There are also four live webinar Q&A sessions scheduled. A reminder email will be sent to you on the 18th and you will receive an email on March 20th with a link to the course home page and log in.

They will initially be at a sales page that give details about the class.

When they click Register they will go to the enrollment page and can apply the coupon and pay.

Very shortly after that, they should receive two emails, a welcome email, and a start of course email.

Follow the link to the course sales page, which has a detailed description of the course and a registration button. The course costs $197 and Jan is offering an exclusive discount for my readers. Use code charlotte30 for a $30 discount, which is valid until March 15th 2017.

I was honoured to test this course for Jan, & I truly cannot say enough good things about it. Here’s to improving our journaling skills!




A Field Trip: Exploring Nature With Children


field-trip-weekThis week in Exploring Nature With Children is ‘Field Trip Week’. To quote Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

This weeks all about choosing a new place to go for your nature walk; either an entirely new place to you and your child, or somewhere you very rarely visit.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Do let me know how you get on.

Happy exploring!

Our Nature Journals Week 7

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, as my eldest daughter was in hospital for several days.

The first thing we did, the day after she returned home, was to go for a family nature walk. It did us all the world of good; blowing away the cobwebs, refreshing us, beauty all around us.

It was a such a glorious morning, spring is most certainly on the way! We found an interesting burrow, sprouting Daffodils, and lots of mud! The birds delighted us with their song!


Rose spied a Coal Tit, which she later sketched.


The Hazel by the pond was full of catkins, which I chose to sketch, along with a lichen-covered Hawthorn branch, still with its berries intact.


A wee reminder that if you are using Exploring Nature With Children, then next week is February Week Four: ‘A Field Trip’.

Happy exploring!

A Discount Code For Exploring Nature With Children

pop17It’s only valid until Sunday, so hurry to get your 20% discount using code POP17

Happy exploring!

An Interview with Dawn of Ladydusk




Today, as part of the year-long blog series I shall be running this year, it is my great pleasure to share an interview with Dawn from Ladydusk here at Raising Little Shoots. Dawn home educates her three children, and has been blogging since 2001! She also works as a Virtual Assistant for Pam Barnhill as her team’s Community Care Coordinator. So without further ado, on to the interview:


~ Hello Dawn, I am delighted to have you here on Raising Little Shoots! Please could you tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Lynn! I’m delighted to be here! I’m a Christian homeschooling mom to three always-homeschooled children ages 9, 11, and 12. We use the AmblesideOnline curriculum and enjoy it very much. We live in Central Ohio in the United States. Both my husband, Jason, and I are native Ohioans, although he is from a different part of the state while I live close to where I grew up.  I love to read and to blog and write about Homeschooling. I’m not very outdoorsy. I dislike bugs and dirt and intemperate weather, and in Ohio we get wide swings of either too hot or too cold.

~ When did your first begin nature study and what got you started?

It has been a number of years since we began and we’re very uneven with our Nature Study. I found our old, incomplete books for this interview and they say 2011 on the back. One of my intentions every year (and 2017 is no different) is to spend more time doing Nature Study.  Since I learned about it in our early years of homeschooling, I thought it sounded like a good means to get me to go outside more and I really wanted my kids to have all the benefits of Nature Study. In particular, I wanted them to observe and know the world around them; to see the natural processes that God had created.

~ Please tell us about how you make opportunities for your family to enjoy spending time in nature.

We generally take our Nature Study materials with us when Jason drags us out geocaching.  A couple of years ago we made Nature Study Bags to carry our gear. Some of the straps need to be lengthened and/or repaired, but the bags themselves have been helpful in carrying notebooks and collecting specimens for observation.

Last summer we were able to take a Nature Journaling class on vacation at the local Nature Center. It was very good. One of the things the instructor suggested was using a black pen to do the drawing and then watercolor pencils for filling it later. I also really love Nature Journaling on vacation. It is so much more relaxing to me because I can usually go off by myself and draw at some point.

Last fall we participated, for the first time, in the Nature Pal Exchange program here in the States. We were paired with a family from Louisiana who sent us some wonderful treasures. It was fun to compare and contrast the items we received with the items we gathered to send. This forced us to be out and observe, collect, and identify samples. Accountability seems to be a key for me. I had to send something to someone else, so it had to get done.

This winter, I’m hoping to make plans with another local Charlotte Mason family who we do some school things with already to get together to look at specimens or go out adventuring together on Friday afternoons.  I think that would be a lot of fun and, again, scheduled accountability is helpful!

One of the things I’ve been learning in this process is that you don’t have to draw in the field. With three elementary aged kids, drawing in the field can be difficult. Often mine want to get it done quickly so they slapdash something into their notebook and run off to play. The idea that we could enjoy nature, play, and draw at home (not sitting on the ground or balancing a book in my lap) was a big eye-opener to me last fall.  You can, of course, draw on site but there are a lot of ways to Nature Journal at home.  We can collect samples and draw them later or just put them in a basket to look through at leisure.  You can take pictures of something you want to draw and then draw it from the picture. Or, you can just be a peace and observe a creature and its behavior and then at home find a picture in a nature guide or on the internet to record the event – draw from the picture you found and then note any similarities or differences you find.

~ Would you share some of your favourite pages from your family’s nature journals with us, and let us know what you like about them?


My son was probably 5 when he drew and labeled these and they’re just so sweet … Honeysuckle and all.



I love this bird’s big feet and beak.  My oldest daughter drew this when she probably was 6 or so. I’ve done a bad job of dating them.  


The next three are from our class last summer … my daughters liked the pen while my son eschewed it. My oldest drew an egret, son drew the oak leaf, my youngest tried out some of the spectacular spider webs, local lighthouse and the shore line.







The last two are favorites of mine. The first is near home. We have a rookery – or rather a heronry were a whole colony of blue herons have their nests. It’s a spectacular sight!



And one of mine from vacation. There is a walk back into an Estuary that has brackish water on the sound side of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  I drew this view from the end of the boardwalk where the Estuarine connects to the sound and across to the mainland. I like it because of the variety. You’ll note that I enjoy a lot of labeling and adding notes to my drawings.



~ What would you say you have been the greatest benefits to spending time out of doors with your family?

One thing I love is that it forces me to put the phone or book down and be very present with my kids. We look, we talk, we question, we gather. Sometimes we struggle with complaining and arguing. Sometimes the weather is unpleasant. Sometimes we trudge along. Sometimes we see beautiful things and exclaim about them together. But the best part of Nature Study is going outside and being together.  

~ What advice would you give to other families who would like to spend more time in nature?

All of you should have your own materials to enjoy. You, mom, should draw too. Let them slapdash something while you’re out, but I’m excited about trying some of the ‘drawing later’ ideas I’ve been learning about – and will expect more concentration and effort when there are chairs and tables involved. But, my best advice is to find a friend and plan to do it together so it will happen.

~ Where can we find you on the internet?

You can find my blog and all my social media connections over at Ladydusk Thanks for inviting me to participate. I love doing interviews because it makes me really think through what we do and why.  Your questions were great!

A huge thank you Dawn, for sharing your family’s journey with us.


Evergreens: Exploring Nature With Children


This week in Exploring Nature With Children is ‘Evergreens Week’.

We shall be exploring how these beautiful trees survive the cold and low levels of light.

Here are some helpful links to get you going:

Do let me know how you get on.

Happy exploring!

Our Nature Journals Week 6

Blustery and cold, this week has been again, either heavy rainfall or beautiful frosts. The feeders in the garden are very busy, hence Rosie’s sketch this week. The woods are still pretty bare, which gives us the joy of seeing squirrels scampering around, hunting for food.


In my journal I chose to capture the flowering Hyacinth from my dining room table, and the full Wolf Moon.


A wee reminder that if you are using Exploring Nature With Children, then next week is February Week three: ‘Evergreens’.

Happy exploring!