Wow! Notebookers and Charlotte Mason fans pay attention! Here is a great resource for you. And for those who don't fit the above descriptions, you may very well like this, too. I think everyone from unschoolers to the classically minded could make good use of this nature-journal facilitating software.
The first part of this computer CD contains a slew of nature notebooking pages. At the beginning there is a Nature Study Notebook Cover and suggestions for using the pages themselves, which are categorized in eight sections.
First comes the "7 Days of Creation," with several templates for journaling and illustrating. All of the pages that have writing space include pages with primary-style lines (with a dotted line between two solid lines) and pages with standard lines for older students.
Next is "All about Animals," which has six sub-sections: Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Invertebrates, Mammals, and Reptiles. Among the myriad options, there is a page for drawing animal tracks, an "observation jar" page for drawing little captive creatures, and lifecycle pages. The spider page has a place for sketching the web, and there is an arthropod page with a sectioned template for drawing the head, thorax, and abdomen. A nice feature found here and in the plant section is a "word bank" where specific terms are printed at the bottom of the page for student reference--good for building vocabulary and spelling skills.
The "Habitat" chapter is most comprehensive: arctic, beach, creek and pond, desert, forest, jungle, mountains, plains, prairie, rain forest, streams and rivers, rotting logs, savannah, sea and ocean, under a rock, underground, and yard. I especially like the last one, as that is a familiar and convenient habitat for children to explore! Rotting logs and under a rock sound like fun too.
The "Nature Log and Journaling Pages" are lined with "date," location," and "notes" column headings. There is a generic page and one for each season as well as various template pages with space for writing and drawing.
"Plants, Flowers, and Trees" come next. The flower pages have places for leaf and flower/petal detail. The tree pages have spaces to illustrate the bark, leaves/needles, and the flowers/fruit/nuts/cones. There is also a place for bark rubbings.
The last three sections are "Rocks and Minerals," which includes igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks as well as minerals; "Seasons"; and "Weather," with all kinds of daily, weekly, and monthly weather logs among other things. There is even a page for the water cycle.
Each section contains a cover page for separating each category and organizing your nature notebook. The template pages are most attractive, with beautiful illustrations and pleasing layout.
At the end of this Nature Notebooking half of the CD is a bonus section. It is an amazing assortment of nature-themed fun frames and borders. These could be used as additions to your children's nature journal or would be perfect for letter-writing or stories. The author also suggests using them for copywork and dictation. There are rainbows, birds, flowers, leaves, seashells, snowflakes, frogs, and butterflies to name a few. Some are black and white, most are in color and range from quaint to "cartoon-y" in style. In general, they lean toward "girly" in their appeal.
Whew! Okay, so now comes the second half of the CD, which is North American Birds Notebooking Pages. There are 680 notebook pages for 97 types of birds, and there are blank templates for adding other birds. Again, you will find both primary and regular-style line options for all the pages that have journaling space. Seven different page templates are available for each bird. Some are full-page illustrations for coloring. Where it applies, male and female species are shown. Many of the pages have a space for the common and scientific name. One template has a range map printed on it.
We usually school year-round, trying to plug in some fun stuff in the summer months along with the usual catch-up. I've added "Nature Notebooking" to my summer to-do list, and the kids are 100% behind me. I will also make sure we take pertinent pages (animals, habitats, birds, frames, and borders) with us on our family vacations from now on!