More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment
Nature Journals Done Charlotte Mason Style
Point to some lovely flower or gracious tree, not only as a beautiful work, but a beautiful thought of God. (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1, page 80)
When I see a beautiful sunrise or sunset, I catch my breath! Not only because I am looking at something lovely, but because I see the Creator in it! Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
I believe this is what Charlotte Mason saw, and that is why she loved the idea of keeping a nature journal! Many of us have read Charlotte Mason’s Volumes, and we long to instill this love of nature in our children. We aspire to our children looking at nature in awe. But, more so, we hope our children look deeply at nature in awe, and the closer they look, they delight in God’s hand in it all.
Our ideal picture of keeping a nature journal may not match our reality of trying to keep a nature journal.
I see many a homeschool moms trying to duplicate Charlotte Mason’s ideal picture of keeping a nature journal in their daily lives. However, time constraints, weather constraints, and just daily life’s constraints and responsibilities prevent nature walks and nature journals from happening. As a young mom, I remember being incredibly inspired to keep a nature journal having read Charlotte Mason’s works. I recall taking my little sons on a nature walk. I believe my oldest son was 4 years old, and my youngest was just barely 1 year old and in a stroller. Our house was in town, and not in the most affluent area, mind you. We were young, and the house we could afford had a very small backyard. As we walked, there wasn’t much nature; there was much concrete.
A Failed Nature Walk
We tried to sketch bugs, frogs, and butterflies. I was upset my 4 year old son’s nature journal entries looked more like unknown blobs. I took it over, sketched the best frog I could, and had him rewrite the word ‘frog’ a few times so it was legible as a caption. Failure. I knew it. NOT, what Charlotte Mason envisioned. My son actually asked me to put aside the nature journal, as it just didn’t ‘turn out right.’ Hmmmm. Not what I was hoping for in a nature walk.
Nature Journals As a Focus in MTMM
It turned out my sons just needed to mature a little. They needed years in the Psalms in the Bible and in lovely Christian-based studies of life science to appreciate nature. In short, they needed to love God’s creation and mature. I also needed to mature. It became clear, I needed to realize I couldn’t do everything well all at once. Hence, the reason nature journals are added as the focus of one of the Heart of Dakota guides. Missions to Modern Marvels (MTMM) to be exact! One year to hone in on this, to do it right, to make a nature journal my sons felt proud of! There are other years Heart of Dakota guides include the concept of ‘nature journals’ as well. Just in the form of science notebooking entries, amazing God-honoring experiments, outdoor activities, etc. But, nature journals themselves SHINE in MTMM!
Skills leading up to nature journals help students keep a nature journal they are proud of!
So, as you are feeling inspired yet overwhelmed by Charlotte Mason’s ideals on nature walks and nature journals, know they are coming! They are an amazing part of MTMM, and they will come at a time your child can actually feel proud of what they are recording in their nature journals. Other HOD guides lay the groundwork for this. John Audubon’s bird studies, Arabella Buckeley’s plant and bird studies, Fulbright’s astronomy study, and so many more – lead the way for students to truly be able to fully enjoy the compilation of a nature journal! Likewise, step-by-step Draw and Write… drawing assignments, history projects, history notebooking entries, and science experiments help students acquire the skills necessary to be able to create a nature journal they can be proud of.
MTMM draws upon all students have learned previously, so they can keep a nature journal they love!
So, this blog’s focus is Charlotte Mason’s nature journals and how HOD has this covered in such a beautiful way that you don’t have to feel the need to add it on your own to other years! HOD’s guides all include celebrating and showcasing a love of the Creator’s handiwork. But, MTMM draws upon all children have learned previously, so they can focus on keeping a nature journal they’ll love for years to come.