Friday, January 18, 2019

Journaling a Year in Nature | Curriculum Review

As the new year kicked off, I didn't have the usual list of resolutions or goals. Life has felt very full lately, full of so many blessings, but so full that I'm feeling overwhelmed. It seemed that I didn't need one more resolution to chase so I left this year more open-ended.

I am always looking to grow myself as a wife, homeschooling mom, marathoner and, most importantly, child of God and nature study popped up as a tangible area to focus on this year. Having a nature journal can be such a relaxing and enjoyable way to explore God's creation.

It can be. Yet I have felt stalled out over the past year, not knowing where to start.

We are following the Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum for my oldest son's 1st grade year and I ran across the Journaling a Year in Nature journal in their bookstore. I received a journal to review and just in time to kick off the longest and, in my opinion, most monotonous season in northern Minnesota.


I started off this journey on January 1st and have been working my way down the list of nature study prompts, starting with trees. Having a variety of topics to cover gave me fresh inspiration and much more depth than just writing "it's cold again" and leaving the page white to represent the snow.


For my tree study, I started with choosing a tree to follow throughout the year (in our backyard) and then did a rough sketch of it, making note of the bark pattern and how the branches connect in to the main trunk. I am considering switching to follow our apple tree throughout the year, I really enjoy watching the apple blossoms bloom and develop.

While Charlotte Mason was all about dry brushing, I hope she can give this rookie some grace as I did my sketches in black pen. It's a start. I plan on sharing this journal with our soon-to-be 6 year old as he hasn't started his own nature journal yet and this is a great springboard for us both.


I also sketched our neighbor's tree as it has a very intricate and interesting branch system. In the warmer months it has little berry or apple fruits on it and I want to do more research to identify it.


Along with beginning my tree sketches, I tracked the weather for the week which was surprisingly warm for a week in January! I look forward to working through this journal and comparing each season's weather.


One month in to this journey, I would say that Journaling a Year in Nature is serving as a source of inspiration and fresh ideas for my nature journaling growth, even in one of the most difficult nature study seasons for this area. The laminated front and back covers make this notebook sturdy enough for journaling outdoors and being hauled all over in my book bag. This journal is printed on heavy paper meant for drawing and painting without warping.


Journaling a Year in Nature is an excellent resource for an adult, student or even for the family to share. It is designed with sturdy materials to endure those outdoor adventures and the writing prompts  new areas for exploration in each season. Learn more about this book and/or purchase your own at SimplyCharlotteMason.com for $21.95.

*I received Journaling a Year in Nature in exchange for my honest review.*

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