May 09, 2008

Nature Journal Success!

We have tried multiple times to make an entry in our nature journal. It never seems successful to me. I may have the wrong idea about it, who knows? Jacob and I are both very black and white realistic people. And neither of us likes to do something without knowing all the parameters and being sure we can meet the expectations. And we both like a plan. So to head outside, fly by the seat of our pants and hope we encounter something to draw is not a very successful endeavor for us! I did read a post the other day about Nature Study vs. Nature Journaling and that you don't have the latter in order to have good nature study. The bottom line was that Nature Study is the building block, Nature Journaling is a fun component for many people. Not all people. That was very freeing for me, because Nature Study is something I was to do, but we haven't been able to find a groove. (And when I really think about it, we probably do a lot more than I give myself credit for.)

So, we normally go outside and I plan on us noticing something and drawing it, noticing the details of it. It never happens that way! We notice something, and talk about the details, but he just says "I don't know how to draw a bird/flower/tree/[insert anything I might possibly suggest here]." So I back off, since the goal is enjoyment, and he draws some random picture (from his imagination, not nature).

The other day I had a thought. I decided to combine our nature study/journaling with an informal "How to Draw" lesson. I took out sketchbooks and crayons for both of us. We sat down to talk about all the stages of a dandelion (we have enough in one area that Jacob calls it the "dandelion garden"). I didn't tell him what he should do, but as I was drawing my dandelions, I talked through my observations. We decided together if the stem was purple or pink (combined with a bit of green), what the little curly Qs are at the bottom of the head, how the pappas (fluffy part) was really made, etc. Then I made my picture available so he could copy it if he wanted to. It was so much better! His anxiety was relieved, I think, and he had great pictures! He attended to it much longer than ever before and actually made many observations he would not otherwise have made. I really enjoyed it as well! (And I learned a lot about dandelions that I never knew!)

Here are our journal entries:



This was definitely a success for us and something we'll do again!

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