6 Things I Love About Nature Journaling

Buttercup Nature Journal Page

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Buttercup Nature Journal Page
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This free, printable Nature Journal Page came from Handbook of Nature Study’s May 2013 Newsletter. At the beginning of May, we’ve currently got Buttercup growing all over our field (and all over Northern Virginia). When I told Older Brother to find a flower to draw, he came back with a large section of Buttercup. I think he did a great job–it’s fun to see the progress he’s made from when we first started Nature Journaling.

6 Things I Love About Nature Journaling

(Not necessarily in this order)… 

1. Nature Journaling teaches observation

In order to draw something accurately, you must study it carefully. It’s fun to see the progression in Older Brother’s drawings, as he learns to notice more details and draw them with increasing precision.

2. Nature Journaling helps us celebrate God’s creation

This is an important theme in our homeschool, and I love that Nature Journaling gives us a way to document natural treasures we’ve witnessed and enjoyed.  “He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell, How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.”  [All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Cecil F. Alexander]

3. Nature Journaling provides an opportunity for taking pride in good work

His Nature Journal gives Older Brother something to take pride in.  It’s not a folder filled with meaningless worksheets,but a record of real-life experiences, a documentary of sorts.

Remember when we saw the cattails on that walk with Daddy?
What about the time we visited a special park with some friends?
Look, here’s the Yellow Rocket we identified in our field.
And the mushrooms you identified on the spot while adventuring with some friends–we were all so impressed!

This collection of experiences is illustrated by Older Brother’s own drawings–he can point to them and say “I drew this.  It’s something I saw, and I drew it myself.”

Winter Nature Walk
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Older Brother drew a frozen puddle, pine needles, dried plants and a vine with berries (growing on a tree) after a Winter Nature Walk with some friends.

4. Nature Journaling teaches independence

We’ve chosen to eschew work sheets and text books in favor of reading quality literature, studying artists and composers, appreciating nature, learning poetry and hymns, etc. This means–especially when children are too young to handle heavy independent reading–that Mom is directly involved in most of our schooling. Older Brother’s Nature Journaling, however, is completed almost entirely without my assistance. This has been a gradual process, but I love that it gives him ownership of one specific area, and teaches him to work independently from me.

5. Nature Journaling teaches concepts of time

Older Brother has been journaling for almost two years now. (He is almost seven.) As a result, he has learned to tell time and has a good understanding of days, weeks and months, without me ever formally teaching him these concepts. We’ve talked about them here and there when they’ve come up, but he received no real instruction on the topic of time until just recently when we began a math curriculum. And even at that, the instruction has been minimal. I credit his Nature Journaling for this.

6. Nature Journaling provides meaningful handwriting practice

Who wants to copy meaningless words, just to learn to write? I love that Nature Journaling gives Older Brother the chance to write labels or brief descriptions of his drawings. It’s just enough practice–and carries meaning for him–without bogging him down in tedious labor.

Does your family have a way to record experiences in nature? 

Check out more great Nature resources:

Buttercup Nature Journal Page
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

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