Charlotte Mason encourages observing nature and either drawing it or writing about it. The classic book that usually inspires mothers and intimidates children is by Edith Holden, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. The combination of artwork and journaling creates a wonderful example for kids and encourages them (us) to learn to record observations of our natural world.
As with the other Brave Writer experiences, I urge moms to participate.
- Walk together.
- Collect little rocks, leaves, twigs, mosses, acorns, flowers and feathers.
- Bring them home.
- Set a few of them on a large sheet of white paper in the center of the table.
- Using drawing pencils and paper, sketch one or more of the items.
Then record a few details about the day. Don’t expect a clinical report of temperatures and weather conditions (unless your child is into that kind of thing, in which case that’s fine). Instead, encourage the child to observe a bit of detail. One good sentence about the color, or texture or the memory of collecting it or what it looks like, or what it reminds the writer of, is perfect.
Nature journaling doesn’t have to happen every day or even weekly. But it is especially nice as a change of pace and works well at least once a season at minimum. Once a month is really nice. You can even draw your own African violets right at the kitchen table!
Bird watching is an alternative to journaling. Keeping track of birds at a bird feeder (kinds, numbers who come, what day of the week and what times of the day) can be a perfect journaling activity for kids in the “list writing” stage. We participated in Project Feeder Watch, which you might enjoy.
Pete Dunne has written some terrific bird watching books that are practical and well-written: Pete Dunne on Bird Watching: The How-to, Where-to, and When-to of Birding. That’s my favorite! You’d also do well to purchase a biding guide. We love the Peterson’s Eastern Birds Guide.
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(Top image by Brave Writer mom, Brandy)