Today, as part of the year-long nature journaling series I am running, here on Raising Little Shoots, I am very pleased to share an interview with Kim from Learning Barefoot. Kim is nature loving, home educating mum who is in the process of beginning a local nature-based school. Without further ado, on to the interview!
~ Hello Kim, I am delighted to have you here on Raising Little Shoots! Please could you tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you Lynn! I appreciate your having me here! Nature has played an important part of my life since I was a little girl. As children my sisters and I would spend hours outside playing in the dirt, building forts and exploring the woods. When I started a family of my own I began to feel frustrated by how many young children were choosing electronics over playing outside. I knew I didn’t want that for my own family. I am now home schooling my kids ages 7, 8 and 10. I spend much of my time cutting out wooden toys with my scroll saw, reading beautiful books to my children, exploring by the river in our woods, collecting nature treasures and playing disc golf with my hubby at our local park. We love to be outside as a family!
~ When did you first begin nature study and what got you started?
Over the past 5 years I have read many books and articles on education. About two years ago is when I discovered the Charlotte Mason philosophy and I fell in love. Living books, poetry, music, art and nature study? Yes please! My first nature book was Nature’s Anatomy and from there I was hooked. I began to follow your Instagram page and bought my first set of watercolors. Drawing and painting have never been gifts of mine, but I have learned so much though nature study. I love learning new things.
~ Please tell us about how you make opportunities for your family to enjoy spending time in nature.
We are so blessed to live near the city, but still have several acres of land to explore in our own backyard. Our property also borders a river bringing in unique flora and fauna for us to enjoy and study all year. The kids are always more than willing to walk down to the river and explore with me. Taking family camping trips is also a great way to get everyone out in the woods for an adventure. Finding a spot with a creek to splash in always a hit with the kids. I think it’s about finding things outside that your family truly enjoys doing together. It is easy to make time for nature if everyone is enjoying the activity.
~ Would you share some of your favorite pages from your family’s nature journals with us, and let us know what you like about them?
One of our favorite pages in our journals is filled with dried pressed flowers and plants from each month. This has been a wonderful way to see the changes in our own woods and the kids always get excited to when they find a new flower to add. We hope to eventually go back in and label each flower and leaf.
This was the first nature journal page my son ever did. I will always cherish it for that reason alone.
~ What would you say have been the greatest benefits to spending time out of doors with your family?
As a mom, time in nature has been a life saver. When I am feeling overwhelmed I will tell the kids I am going outside to walk around the yard. I take this time to soak in some energizing vitamin D and calm down. I come inside better equipped to parent. Also, when tensions are high between the siblings I have found that bringing everyone outside for a change of atmosphere does wonders. We may go for a walk, have a backyard picnic or simply throw frisbee together. The outdoors seems to lift everyone’s spirits.
~ What advice would you give to other families who would like to spend more time in nature?
My children were really excited when we first bought their nature journals. It is a wonderful first step. When we take our journals out for a nature study adventure we are also sure to pack a magnifying glass and bring our camera along. The kids love taking pictures of what they find.
I think the most important thing to remember is not to force it. Being outside without any formal study, just to play, is so important. During these times you can show your own excitement and enthusiasm when you make a discovery or something catches your eye. Soon your children will begin to slow down and notice these things as well. They will be so excited to share their treasures or findings with you. Before you know it they will want to identify them and nature study will begin.
The last piece of advice I would give is to truly let your kids explore. As a family we recently hiked to the top of Hanging Rock in the mountains of North Carolina. It took us well over an hour to hike the 1.3 miles to the top. We were the family stepping off of the trail to explore the creek, smelling the flowers from a blooming tree and taking notice of all of the unique plants and gorgeous rocks along the way. It is not a race, it is a journey. Enjoy the moment.
~ Where can we find you on the internet?
I am taking a break from selling books and wooden toys at the moment as I work locally to establish a nature based school. I do however post frequently on Instagram @learningbarefoot as well as my business Facebook page Here you will find our nature adventures, favorite books, homeschooing tid bits and more.