1.24.2014

Nature Journaling & Adventure-Based Learning


I thought I'd give you a peek into our homeschooling life by sharing intermittent posts on various ways we're learning. Hopefully this post will interest those who journal or would like to journal, and those who homeschool. For those who are new to Live Art.fully, I homeschool our two daughters who have recently turned ten and seven years old. 

Yesterday dawned sunny again in the Pacific Northwest (it's been beautiful lately, an uncharacteristically warm and dry winter). I had a bee in my bonnet to take my girls out on an adventure. We've been doing this lately and I'm loving it. We pack a jacket, mittens, simple lunch (cheese sandwiches, water bottles, and yogurt, for example), sketch books and paints, and off we go somewhere fabulous. 

This is our fourth year learning at home and I feel like this year we've turned a corner in terms of finding our niche. I'm learning how my girls learn best, and what makes and keeps me inspired. I've found new ways to prevent burn-out for all of us, and how to use my creativity to make learning fun. 

Yesterday we took our sketchbooks to a nearby nature trail. We ate our picnic of bread and cheese, blueberries, juice, and cookies at a picnic table under a sky my 7 year-old described as "neon blue." My 10 year-old disagreed with her sister, stating that it was not neon, just blue. Little sister explained that it was neon if you were wearing sunglasses.

After munching our picnic, the girls ran off nearby to explore and I set to work in my journal after finding a few nature treasures to sketch. Given the time of year, it took a bit more looking and creativity than it might in other seasons. There were no birds, butterflies, eggs, nests, feathers, or flowers.

Sketching under neon blue sky, with warm sun and still-crisp January air, it was quite easy to feel inspired. The girls chattered about how much fun they were having and even toyed with skipping ballet class, in favor of extending our nature time, but in the end we packed it up and delivered our dancer to the studio.

Something I've noticed about our nature-based learning adventures is that they leave us invigorated and curious to know more. Post ballet, we hit the library to look for books on nature journaling, and keeping a nature/field sketchbook. I found a great children's book on John James Audubon, The Boy Who Drew Birds

Nature journaling is a new form of journaling for me, and something I'm planning to incorporate into our outdoor learning adventures & field trips in the coming months. I'm excited to get these little watercolor sketches into my journal, and to see my girls document what they're observing in the natural world. What better way to slow down long enough to truly see?


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