One of the topics of study that we do in our home learning that is by far one of our favorites is the study of nature or “nature study”. Naturally, I have always loved learning about all the beautiful creations around us. I would have to say though, that it was after I learned about the principles and philosophies of those taught by Charlotte Mason that really peaked my interest in wanting to make our nature learning more exciting and memorable and a huge part of the core of our homeschooling experience. When I began reading Charlotte Mason’s Home Education book along with other books that expanded on her principles and philosophies, my new journey began as I then found other wonderful resources and ideas that spoke to my heart along with those of Charlotte Mason. After reading them all, the one thing that I immediately began incorporating in our nature study was keeping a nature journal or nature notebook, which basically, is a journal dedicated to observations of the natural world.
These journals are special to me and I still have my young adult children’s nature journals/notebooks from when they were younger and it is a tradition I plan to keep within our family as our younger children are growing up as well. We haven’t always been consistent with keeping a nature journal but that is okay. Being in and exploring nature is the most important part of nature study in my opinion, which we are pretty consistent with. We are doing better though at being more consistent with keeping a nature journal to record our memories and interests.
There are many books and resources out there that explain how to start a nature journal. But honestly, there really is no special secret or perfect way to start or have one. It’s a personal journal that is your’s and only through what you make of it with your experiences does it really become a special journal to always cherish. Some things that you can do when keeping a nature journal are to record what you see, where you see it, illustrate, and even add poetry or quotes that go along with what you are journaling. Other things that you can do to help preserve your interests in your journal along with writing and illustrating them, are using water color or paint, pressing or collecting items found, or even taking pictures to journal. The possibilities are endless. But overall, there is no “right” or “best” way to keep one, except to make it your very own. Although there really is no special secret to keeping a nature journal, there are some wonderful books and resources that can be very inspiring in getting started with keeping one, to continue keeping one, and/or getting re-inspired to start back keeping one if you have gotten off track. Some of my personal favorites are:
I often refer back to these books as they have become classics for me. Along with being inspiring for keeping nature journals, they are also great resources for nature study in general. There are so many great ones out there but the ones above are my very favorite ones for nature journaling.
There are also many items you could use for your nature journal such as sketchbooks, folders and binders, drawing and or watercolor paper, sheet protectors, photo albums, etc. One resource online that I love to get homeschool curriculum and ideas from is simplycharlottemason.com. Often times I have purchased wonderful nature study resources from them. Recently, they launched a new nature journal titled “Journaling A Year in Nature”. I must say, this journal is a wonderful resource to get started with nature journaling! It’s very simple in it’s appearance and how to use, but could definitely be a treasure to keep whether as a personal or family nature journal.
It has a section for each season of the year so you can start at whatever season you are currently in and then at the beginning of each season, it has a list of topics that you could choose to learn about weekly. Each topic has prompts to get you out and to observe and then you can record your experiences. In this particular journal, it is set up to where you can journal, sketch, watercolor/paint, etc., so it’s perfect for any beginner or novice. It is also filled with inspiring quotes, tips, and has a durable laminated, spiral bound cover perfect for taking on your outdoor adventures. We have our own personal nature journals, however, we will be using this particular one for our family nature journal. I’m excited about using this journal and if you would like to get started with a journal already set up for you, check it out at here!
So that’s it! I hope that you will be encouraged to keep a nature journal if you have not been already. It can definitely be an exciting way to enhance your nature study. If you are new to nature study, these books I listed above are also wonderful resources to get started. I love this quote from Simply Charlotte Mason: “Make it a habit to complete this beautiful journal every year, and you may discover that nature is not the only thing that grows!” So true.