I'm guessing only homeschoolers will know what I'm talking about here, so let me tell you about Nature Journaling. Disclaimer: Feel free to fact check this definition, because I'm basically making it up.
Nature journals originated with Charlotte Mason at the turn of the 20th century. Its exactly what it sounds like, the recording of what one sees in nature.
I had read about the benefits of nature journaling many times, and it was always something that I would have loved to include in our home school. It didn't ever happen for a few reasons; I was unsure how to implement it, not very confident Henry would agree, and I just plain didn't make it a priority. I am a pretty creative person, but I was just not making a connection between the idea and the implementation of nature journaling. Then I found Kristin Rogers, and about a year after that the Wild + Free website. Wild + Free is a community of homeschooling moms sharing their wisdom in an online magazine. Kristin generously shares a ton of information and inspiration in the monthly Wild + Free bundles. Her Instagram feed also regularly features the beautiful nature journaling she does with her young girls.
Since I'm trying to be more relaxed this year, I decided we absolutely had to try this. I bought the art supplies and the field guides, and this morning, Henry and I headed out on our adventure.
I hate when people call things magical, because 1. It's cliche, and 2. It's not true. However, I'm having a really hard time coming up with another way to describe this.
This is Henry's "school." I couldn't help but feel an enormous sense of gratitude that we stumbled into this crazy, home-education world 4 years ago. Henry loved it too. He kept commenting on how quiet it was. I really need to remember that as loud and overwhelming as this world can be for me, it's that times a million for children. As I sat there, I couldn't believe we had never done this before. I grew up living in an apartment until I was 9, but then we moved to a townhouse with lots of outdoor space, and a river to play in. I am a huge advocate for the power of nature on one's mental state. Nature and books were my therapy as a child, and while my kids may read a lot, and play outside in our suburban backyard daily, it's just not the same.
As Henry finished up his page, I read to him from Treasure Island, and almost laughed at how perfect it all went. Hooray for lovely mornings with my growing boy.