Nature journal

Once a week go on a nature walk. Do not instruct. Have them observe with very little direction from us. Visit the same area quarterly to note how seasons have altered the life.

Begin observing trees in the winter when the trees are bare. Sketch the tree, noting the branches and the bark. Observe which birds and insects live in the trees we are visiting. What purpose does the tree serve (syrups, nuts, wood)?

The only info recorded in these optional, never mandatory, books is firsthand observation the child has done. We do not correct spelling errors. He should feel safe to use his book knowing it will not be looked at or compared to others. Begin as soon as the child is old enough to write or draw. These become a lifetime hobby.

Provide a large variety of specimens. Use the best artistic equipment available, sketch pencils and good colored pencils and watercolors. It makes a difference. Use spiral bound sketch pads so they open flat. Children can label the drawings in English and Latin. You may assist in finding the names. Note the location where the specimen was found.

Other ideas to include:
An occasional nature poem
Note the temperature or weather.
Lists of animals and birds seen.
Life cycles and developing buds on tree limbs.
Describe an ant hill and what the ants are doing.
Rising and setting times of the sun.
Changing of the tide.
Record the science experiments you do.

Source: A Charlotte Mason Education; A Home Schooling How To Manual by Catherine Levison