Monday, June 14, 2010

Nature Journaling

Indian Blanket and Purple Winecup

A couple of months ago the fields were alive with color. The entire countryside was covered with beautiful wildflowers. We set out to learn about them all. I love getting to know the things that are in our area. One of the things that Charlotte Mason really inspired me with was local knowledge. I don't remember if it was a list or a book that said that it was useless to know all about whales in an ocean around the world if you don't know what tree is is your yard.

That inspiration has driven a lot of my homeschool choices. Especially when it comes to nature journaling and science. I don't want to keep my children ignorant of other areas of the world or anything. We do "travel" with history and geography. But I want us to become very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of this small piece of earth we live on.
My handmade leather journal from lapaperie

I love this book. I have one for recipes and one that I am now using as our nature journal. Tyler wants to try his hand at making himself one. I think that's a perfect project for him and as soon as I can I'm going to order him the materials to begin. This book just feels good in my hand. It's the perfect size, and it has a weight to it that is very inviting. 

Two varieties of Paintbrush and another we couldn't identify.

These are our first attempt at flower pressing. We learned a lot about color and how it changes as they dried. They may not be as beautiful as they were in the fields, but they each hold memories.....and lessons. 

I managed to override the inner perfectionist/purist that wanted to mount them individually and give each it's latin name and such.  Auri helped me with the arranging and we taped them in. We left room to come back with poems or thoughts on the other sides. It doesn't all have to be done in one day. (Slowly I'm

Assorted Pretties

I really like the jumble of several on a page. It feels more complete that way to me.

Traced Hummingbird

As we've tried to nature journal over the years we've run into the same problem over and over. I'm just not naturally creative. The ideas do not spring from within. The "talent" for drawing is not something I was born with. As an adult I know these things can be taught, and that the more you just do, the more will come to you. I also decided a couple of years ago that "copying" was okay. If it is stressing me out and keeping me from journaling about the hummingbirds I love then why can't I trace a picture in? I actually learn a lot about how to draw things from tracing. 

Tyler struggles with the same issues. I know how hard it is to have creative siblings and to not be able to figure out what to draw or do. So we've begun tracing things we don't know how to draw while we practice. It's fun, and non stressful. I may regret it one day. But it has given my son a chance to enjoy his journal, and that is my goal.

Coyote example from a drawing wildlife book

One of the things I've tried is showing him that I am always learning too. I checked a great book out of the library about how to draw wildlife and we worked on it together. This is my coyote. He liked seeing that I have a hard time too and that there is nothing wrong with an eraser.:o)

Another drawing wildlife example

Fear shouldn't be a part of my life. Especially when it comes to teaching my children about the amazing world we live in. But sometimes it is. I like that I'm working through it. I like that I've given us permission to be less than perfect. I like that we know a lot more now than we did when we started this spring.

And I Love that as I've embraced the imperfect things are slowly becoming the "perfect" image that I had for us.

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