Most great scientists, artists and writers kept nature notebooks. Observation, labeling, and recording observations is a natural place to start.
The British educator, Charlotte Mason, taught the concept of nature studies and keeping of nature notebooks or journals. Nature studies and nature notebooks are the perfect medium for project based and interest led learning. The nature notebooks combine three traditional kinds of record keeping all in one place. This makes nature notebooks a wonderful place to begin learning record keeping.
Three Traditional Methods of Record Keeping Found in Nature Notebooks...
The Science Lab Book
First, nature study is a great foundation for natural science. The nature notebook serves as an outdoor science lab book. Great scientists were great observers and data collectors. Many started drawing and diagraming what they observed! Scientists also sought to identify, diagram, and label their observations.
The Artist Sketchbook
Second, nature studies and nature notebooks are a wonderful segue into Art! Great artists were great observers. Artists kept of sketch books of their observations and learning. They often studied the natural world, experimented, and drew what they saw.
The Writer's Journal
Third, nature studies and nature notebooks are a great segue into literature. Writers are great observers. They often keep detailed notes and descriptions of things they have observed in the natural world. They craft with words, descriptive poems, and include in their writings, moving passages about the natural world. Also, many people who keep a nature journal, weave quotes from great literature and poetry in their nature notebooks. So, Nature Notebooks can include inspiring literature, or they can inspire great literature.
The Nature Notebook Combines All Three
A nature notebook has renderings of the world observed by the student. Plants, insects, birds, nests, animals, cells under a micro scope, dissections, night time constellations, clouds, rock formations, and natural things, in their natural habitat, are rendered through the perception of the student. Sometimes they are re-observed in different seasons as they go through changes. Then the objects of observation are identified and labeled. Nature notebooks may include a scripture, poem, or quote from literature that mention that very thing. The Nature Journaler can even include a poem that they have written about their observations. Below I have added blog posts I have written that might be helpful to you in starting a Nature Notebook and including science, art, and literature:
Nature Studies, Nature Notebooks: A Parent Child Journey
How to Create your Own Nature Notebook
Science the Natural Way: Studying God's First Classic
If you have not already done so, consider where science, art, and literature meet, in nature journaling. Start your own adventure of discovery and create a nature notebook. Don't worry if at first you feel you can't draw. Do it anyway. Drawings improve over time as you begin to observe more. If you are really concerned, look for drawing classes on Youtube. Check out drawing books from the library. You can also search the internet for Nature Notebook blogs. Just jump in and get started, even if you only trace leaves at first. Then branch out. Invite your children to join you.
Enjoy your Journey!
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