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Using Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year Review by Jennifer King

Katie’s Homeschool Cottage
https://katieshomeschoolcottage.com

This summer we have been exploring the great outdoors a lot more; this has led to a desire to begin to keep nature journals with my children. But where to begin? And how to incorporate this into our routine? Personally, I need more to truly feel like we are getting the most out of our nature studies and so I was thrilled to get my hands on this material from Katie’s Homeschool Cottage. This is not just a guide to nature study but also to nature journals and poetry too!

Initially we began exploring nature studies as a way to try to engage their curiosity and help them to see God’s creation all around us. It can also be a fabulous way to get our kids off those screens. As my boys, especially, have gotten older, they have become more resistant to the materials we typically use for lessons. They are not as willing to work when they do not see the “why” behind the things we do. So, we are now striving to find ways to help them see Jesus at the center of it all.  

I have always loved the outdoors but have never really been sure how to share it with my children. This is a great and thorough book to really help us understand nature study in all seasons and explore the many ways we can have fun as we learn and establish some great habits.  (I honestly never thought of habit training as being a part of nature studies). Of course, as a great lover of poetry too, I really appreciate that this has introduced my children so some beautiful poetry too. 

This material is full of amazing ways to encourage our children to slow down and take the time to really see, through picture painting for example, all that God has created around us. The material within the pages of this book is all organized by the seasons and months so this makes it easy to get started whenever you are. Whether we take a week or a month to learn the lessons provided within, there is certainly much to enjoy along the way. There are even resources hyperlinked within the pages of this resourceso you can enjoy those easily as you go along.

Have you ever wondered what made those tracks you found in your backyard? There are some great suggestions in here for identifying animal tracks; there is even a guide to print and bring along on your adventures.  We recently learned that there are coyotes in our area so we are on the lookout for some great tracks! Not coyotes, just their tracks. 

There are scientific connections within every section too. These were probably my children’s favorite parts since this is where they were able to complete activities and experiments that related to whatever topic we were studying at the time. One activity for us involved creating a butterfly garden and even watching the development of a monarch. In another activity as we were hiking about we sought to locate and identify wild edible flowers. My boys especially are big fans of wilderness survival so this was a great way to reel them in to nature studies a bit more. Thanks to this, we even dusted off all of those binoculars that were in the closet to do a bit of bird watching. With every page in this book I am more and more in love with what it really means to “do” nature study.

There is poetry to go along with every topic for every season. There are so many quotes from Charlotte Mason throughout this too so we can enjoy learning from her at the same time. Some are simple nursery rhymes while others are more complex. There are quotes from Shakespeare; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is to be enjoyed here. These are all great for copy work also. What better way to practice thinking the way God would have us to think (see Philippians 4:8) than to enjoy meditating upon and writing poetry. 

There are also quite a few books recommended to read related to nature; some fiction and some non-fiction. We were familiar with quite a few already ourselves, but are definitely working our way through the rest of the list. I love to read, and my children love when I read to them. Many of the books listed also included activities and crafts for our children to learn and enjoy whether big or small. There are also printable pages provided to help you along in nature journaling.

This is a wonderful resource to help us all learn to enjoy nature and poetry together, whatever age and stage we are at. For myself I love that this is such a perfect way for our children to see and enjoy art, poetry and nature coming together.  So many wonderful opportunities to enjoy together as we slow down and see all that surround us. 

-Product review by Jennifer King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2018

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