Friday, September 4, 2009

Outdoor Hour Challenge # 3

At its best, drawing is a perfectly natural method of self-expression. ~ Handbook of Nature Study, p.17

This challenge revealed two things: 1) I have a reluctant nature journalist, and 2) I have an overachieving nature journalist. This simply proves that the author knew what she was talking about when she wrote the above statement. Ryne spends at least 30% of his day drawing, but it is all about stuff that interests him -- currently that includes aliens, DNA (don't ask), video game characters, Wall-E, and cartoon dinosaurs. He is also not the type of kid who begs to go outdoors. We usually have to force him to play in the yard. So it was no surprise that he was not all that interested in drawing in a nature journal. But that's okay! Barb at Handbook of Nature Study (host of the challenges) has some great suggestions for those who don't want to draw:

1. Make leaf rubbings.
2. Tape small flat things into the nature journal. (leaves, flower petals, seeds)
3. Print out a photo that you took while on your nature walk and let the child write the caption.
4. Press flowers or grasses between pages of a book and later add it to the journal. (We will learn more on that in a future challenge this spring.)
5. Outline an object with a pencil and then color it in.

I did ask him if he wanted to tape some leaves into his journal, but he wasn't interested in that either. So next time I will try one of the other ideas. I didn't want to force him to draw in his journal, but that didn't stop Grace from begging him to draw something! So he did finally draw in his journal. I was impressed that he drew the dark clouds that were looming overhead.

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Grace also loves to draw, but most to her advantage for nature journaling is that she loves to be outdoors. She wanted a sample of every leaf and flower for her journal, and only the start of a rain shower forced her inside. Not only did she draw, but she wrote an entire paragraph about enjoying the world!

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Trouble Reading? (Top) There was a lot of cool leaves and trees. (Bottom) It is so important that we share together seeing the world and we travel around the world to see different places with friends and people who want to see the world just like we do.

And me? I am loving these challenges! Trust me, if we can do nature study, you can too! We didn't get elaborate today. We limited our walk to the front yard. I thought there might not be much to see, but I was so wrong.

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Gracie spotted this Yellow Garden Spider yesterday and wanted us all to see it. BTW, any ideas as to what is wrong with my hydrangea? It gets those spots every year.

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The rose plant we almost dug out last year because it showed no signs of life.

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My favorite season is almost here...

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Sometimes I think God plans the timing of events like this just to make our nature time extra special.

As an extra bonus, we discovered that the front yard was full of acorns so we collected a bowlful for my dining room table display. If it hadn't been for the nature study I probably wouldn't have realized it until all the critters beat me to them like last year!


  1. Your family is having a great experience right in your own yard! I love that you are internalizing the the words from the book and realizing that the journal will take time for some children. Even now, we do not make journal entries for every study that we complete. Sometimes it is enough just to take the time outdoors and notice things, like your acorns.

    Keep it up. This will only get better as you accumulate knowledge and appreciation.

    Thanks for sharing your study.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  2. What a beautiful day of journaling, thanks for sharing the experience. Have a wonderful weekend. - Laura

  3. Just came across your blog and am challenged by the nature journaling. We have been homeschooling for 22 years and haven't developed that habit. I will add this in for the next week.

    BTW, we gathered acorns from our yard last year for a dining room table display and glued them on rings for napkin rings. Looked great until we noticed little maggots coming out of them! I AM NOT KIDDING!!! And we were eating spaghetti when we made the discovery. Check yours out.....NOW!

    I am adding you to my blog list, if you don't mind?

  4. Looks fun! Do you use MFW? Sounded like the same history stuff we did this week. Also, just a heads up on the acorns, my friend just did the same thing and brought acorns inside. Apparently there are little maggot like bugs that live in them, and she ended up with them all over her kids room! Yuck! I just found your blog, love it, thanks for sharing :)