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Nature Journaling in our Homeschool


Last week I wrote about 4 Myths of Catholic Homeschooling. One of those myths is that homeschooling in the Catholic home has to look similar to what it is in Catholic School! That's maybe one of the hardest myths to bust, particularly if mom and dad went to Catholic or public school and aren't sure what to do to homeschool their kids.

We do what we know, and we only know what we've seen or been taught.

At least that was true for me. I remember planning a rigorous schedule for my 5-year-old kindergarten complete with a lunchtime and a recess! That quickly got blown apart when my new baby had to be hospitalized during our first two weeks of school! That's when I learned that I could educate my son at different times and in different places - including his brother's hospital room in the evening!


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A year or so later when it became clear that my son was struggling to read and write, I found the Bravewriter Lifestyle quite serendipitously. Our homeschool was never the same again!

The Bravewriter Lifestyle encourages getting outside and observing our environments.  Natural Journalling is a natural extension of that and helps children to really focus on what they're seeing. Sometimes this inspires art and poetry. Sometimes this leads right into a science experiment. But the main thing is getting the student outside of the classroom (or out from the kitchen table) and outside.


One of my favorite memories of a formal "Natural Journalling" class I did with my children happened in the spring. I found a nice park with a pond not far from our home and we spent a few mornings there appreciating, observing, drawing and writing.
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The kids did this together or went off to be alone. There was no structure or requirement for this.


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We used Keeping a Nature Journal as a spine and for examples of our natural journalling experience.




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I loved how the children worked together to find and share new things with each other.

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One of the biggest benefits of nature journalling for my students was how it helped them interpret what they drew and painted in their art work. 

These are some of Izzy's drawings when she was 9  of a fern we saw at the pond.


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Three years later, she was doing work like this.
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Some of our favorite places to go for nature study included the towpath - a place where mules used to pull boats up and down the canals. Abandoned structures from those old times still remain.


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Sometimes we got to see birds and wildlife up close.


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and the garden became a place to touch, smell and draw!



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They later incorporated all of these things into their art work.


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Izzy art January 2017


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I can't say we got outside to do this every day or even every week. I have fond memories of the days we did make a concerted effort to get out our nature journals and explore and seeing nature first hand certainly became my children's favorite art subjects. 


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