Homeschool Fruit: Sharing…& More

One of the best things — a true fruit — of homeschooling, to me, is being able to glean information from other homeschoolers about how they are doing things, how they have overcome problems, and how they have gotten their kids excited about learning. We have a community that seems to be inherently supportive, and generally homeschoolers are eager to share what has worked well for them.

The “& More” in the title is about something I’d like to share with you, so we’ll veer from general sharing to a specific topic. I have several homeschooling friends who have talked to me about how their kids have problems writing essays, how they seem to freeze and their minds go blank. This really resounds with me. I’ve been a writer and editor for more than 30 years, but I am NOT a creative writer. It just doesn’t flow naturally. And, probably not surprisingly, neither is my son. I have a nifty little formula and writing style, though, for those of us who are a little more at ease with reporting straightforward facts, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you have a hesitant writer, introduce them to newswriting and the “Inverted Pyramid.” This is probably the most basic, building-blocks part of journalism taught in college, and yet it is also very graspable for a young writer — particularly middle-school age and up. The inverted pyramid is merely writing/reporting your story with the most important facts at the top, narrowing to the least important at the bottom. And, it is easy to start off with five basic questions.

Let’s create a scenario that you could work through with your child. Say you ask them to write a report on the church service this coming Sabbath. But wait…

SIDENOTE: Does it seem odd to have an assignment that incorporates the Sabbath? Think about the last time you read your local Union Conference magazine. Did you notice interesting articles about a special children’s service at one church? Or maybe a Sabbath outreach mission? Or possibly a Sabbath concert offered to the community? Somebody who attended wrote those. I see multiple benefits to a Sabbath report for our kids, including better listening and observation skills in church, and maybe even the planting of tiny seeds of interest for future communication work within the Adventist Church. Back to the report…

Besides making sure they take their notepad and pen to church, have them write down the 5Ws the day before:
Who … was involved?
What … happened?
Where … did it happen?
Why … did it happen?
When … did it happen?

Now they have a ready-made list of things to look for. They will probably want to take a church bulletin for themselves to help glean information, including the name of your church, address, time of service, and participants. You could also have them listen carefully to the sermon, and make notes about the main point and primary Bible text used.

They might also look around to see if there are things they think might be interesting. Is the sanctuary decorated especially for Easter? Are there any kids in attendance? Was there a special part of the program aimed at kids? Were there guests present? Any special music? How about a potluck after church?

Young writers will not necessarily think of all those things, but you can help them come up with a list during the preceding week, and have them jot down things they will look for to incorporate in their story.

Another useful thing is to add a quote from someone who was there. Maybe they’d like to interview their best friend to find out what their favorite part of the service was. Remind your child to write it down word for word, and include their name and age. Or, maybe after the service they could tell the pastor what they are doing (the pastor will probably think this is fantastic, by the way), and ask how the pastor picked the sermon subject. There again, they can carefully write down the response, as well as the pastor’s name and title.

Your pastor would probably be delighted to answer a question or two for your child. Kids showing active engagement in church is good news!

Now you can take your sheet of facts home to work on later. It’s easier to write when the event is fresh in your memory, so consider having your child  start in on Saturday night or Sunday, and take some time off during the regular school week.

First, have them organize the facts into three groups:

  • those that they will definitely include in the article (i.e., 5Ws, sermon title or theme, etc.),
  • those that are interesting but not terribly important (i.e., the special music performer was visiting from another church),
  • and those that are related but not necessary (i.e., there were four casseroles at potluck).

Create an article outline. Your outline (and, next, your article) will follow the inverted pyramid. Put the most important information is at the top. Since you’ve already organized the facts, this will be easy.

Time to write!

  • Start with a strong leading sentence.
  • Give all the important details. These are the from the first group of facts in their “organize the facts” list.
  • Follow up main facts with additional information. These draw from the second group of facts.
  • Finish your article. Leave the reader with an interesting point, or maybe an invitation to attend an upcoming event at the church.

Here’s a very short sample article, but one that a middle-school age student could easily put together. It might give you ideas for an easy writing assignment for your child.

Sample Article:

“Reaching Up, Reaching Out” was the theme for a special community outreach planning day at Mount Bountiful Adventist Church, 123 Happiness Lane, in Somewhere, Alaska, Saturday, March 12, 2017. Members gathered to discuss ways to share God with the surrounding community. (See the 5Ws in the first paragraph?)

The special Sabbath program included music, praise, worship, and a chance for members to share ideas for reaching out to their neighbors. Joe Schmoe, pastor, said that he was excited to see nearly every member present, and appreciated how important outreach is to the small church.

The Juniors and Earliteen Sabbath School classes joined to present a skit about helping children in the neighborhood. “It was pretty neat to think of ways to help,” said Janey Doe, age 12. “I hope that we can help some other kids.”

After church the members enjoyed a potluck, and discussed how they might use food and nutrition to reach the community.

Everyone is invited to attend a follow-up planning session for outreach, Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m. in the fellowship hall.
————

Newswriting is factual and tends to be chronological. It also helps young writers start to decipher what is fact versus what is opinion, and what is important versus what is “fluff.” And, it helps them develop organized thought. It is a skill which you can help your child develop, which might ease the fear of “coming up with something to write about.”

There are many other types of writing — creative, essay, research, etc. — which may be developed in the future, but newswriting could be a good place to start.

Thanks for letting me share!

~

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered,” Proverbs 11:25 ESV.

“The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this,” Galatians 5:22,23 VOICE.

Sense-ational Writing for Beginners

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We learn with our whole body. The more senses we use to absorb and manipulate information, the more likely we are to remember it. My kindergartener is at the very outset of his reading/writing journey. Those typical handwriting papers full of solid and dotted lines are still novel, but I know they won’t be for long. So, I encourage myself to break loose, teach handwriting with more than just a pencil, get messy, and make it sensory.

My second son, age four, tried desperately hard at the beginning of the year to do everything big brother was doing. We began by learning our vowels and vowel sounds with pictures, poems, songs, and written letters. A few weeks in, I added sign language to our alphabet lessons, and BAM, my second son caught on instantly. As soon as he could use his hands, it clicked in his mind. He’s kinesthetic.

Is yours auditory? Linguistic? Naturalistic, responding strongly to the great outdoors? Visual? Tactile? Spacial? The truth is that, to varying degrees, we are all of them. Use them all! The following are some of my favorite ideas for learning letter formation.

I take no credit for any of these ideas. As Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun,” and these ideas have come from friends, family, and years of wallowing online.

1. Finger paint with pudding, shaving cream, salt, or sand. Spray shaving cream or plop pudding directly onto the table. Use a cookie sheet to contain salt or sand. Let them taste a little pudding while they write. Will a tiny taste of salt make the lesson more memorable? The unique texture certainly will.

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2. Try paint in a bag. Do you prefer the mess contained? Squirt paint (or even ketchup and mustard) into a large ziplock bag, and squeeze out all the air bubbles. Tape the bag to a window and let them use their fingers to write. One thing I love about this method is that you can use a permanent marker to draw the solid and dotted handwriting lines on the outside of the bag.

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3. Use washable markers or dry erase markers directly on the window. This is fabulous for those of us who don’t own a whiteboard. You could even use your own breath. Breathe on the window, make it foggy, and write in the condensation. I feel a science lesson coming on. And, you can teach them how to properly wash a window when you’re done — good home ec credit!

4. Convert a breakfast bed tray into a dry erase lap board. Any opportunity to use a variety of colors will help a visual learner.

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5. Go outside with sidewalk chalk. Feel the sun on your shoulders and enjoy the change in scenery. If you prefer artwork-free sidewalks, give your child a paintbrush and a cup of water. It’s fun to write with the water and it evaporates in a few minutes. I’m teaching a little perfectionist, and one of my favorite elements about some of these is that it takes away the eraser. You can’t erase sidewalk chalk. It forces him to accept the line he just drew and move on, continuing his practice.

6. Use a stick in the dirt. What a simple treasure that is to the naturalist child.

7. Wax sticks, sometimes called Bendaroos or Wikki Sticks, are colorful wax-coated strings that bend and stick to paper.

8. Get out the play dough or modeling clay. Kids can form “snakes” and bend them into letters, or they can flatten “pancakes” and cut the letters out as negative space. SO much fun if you have alphabet cookie cutters!

9. Food! Nibble letters into shape with strings of licorice or pretzel sticks. You can even make fresh pretzels and form them into letters before baking.

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10. Use liquid school glue on 3×5 cards and make your own 3D flashcards. This was our favorite last year. I wrote a letter with pencil, he traced it in crayon, and then he traced over that with the bottle of school glue. Those glue skills used a lot of big muscles. The glue dried into bumpy letters, and we used them for multiple games.

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11. The Leap Frog writing pad was a nice gift from a grandparent. As you use the electronic pen to write in the book, it responds with words and sounds and tells you where to start, when to stop, if you did a good job, etc. It’s good for the auditory learner and is a nice form of independent work when the teacher is busy.

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12. Another high-tech option is the Boogie Board LCD writing tablet. I don’t promote going out and buying the latest-and-greatest, but I do recommend looking around the house and viewing toys or tools with new potential. That was the case in our house with this item. Scribble away and then press the white button on the top for a fresh, clean screen. Remember those Dollar Store Magic Slate Paper Savers? Same concept. This used to just be a quiet-time toy, but now it makes handwriting class exciting.

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The God who gave us colors and textures and tastes and sounds gave us a brain that thrives on variety. Explore!

Homeschool to Entrepreneur Writer

The love of reading

Katie is the youngest of four children, all homeschooled by their mom. From the time Katie was a baby, she loved books. Her older brothers and her parents read to her every day. Bible stories and Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories were among her favorites. She also loved stories about animals, as well as children’s books such as the Dr. Seuss books.

As her reading skills grew, so did her love of reading. She loved the internet, as it gave her an endless amount of material to read on all subjects.

young-girl-computerDuring her younger years, Katie also discovered she enjoyed writing as much as she loved reading. Although she was quite adept at most of her school subjects, she wrote with great enthusiasm. Her mother noted that whatever Katie’s future held, her writing skills would be a huge asset to her. As a teen, she explored possible career paths, most of which included college. Her mom helped guide her, but Katie was not yet sure what direction to take.

The skill becomes the career

While on the internet one day reading some blogs, Katie came across a blog on how to become a blogger. She searched for more information on blogging, then on other forms of writing. Her mom said that Katie was so immersed in what she was reading that she didn’t notice the time. When her mom came in the room to remind her they needed to leave for the youth group meeting, Katie could not stop talking about what she had discovered.

Katie’s mom laughs that Katie didn’t seem to stop for a breath the entire drive to the youth group meeting that night. Her excitement over her new-found career path just seemed to bubble from her.

Katie spent the next couple of days on career exploration centered on an online writing career. She discovered that while blogging was certainly a good possible choice, many other options existed, too.

College at least delayed

Katie decided that she would try a career in online writing before considering college. Never excited about spending time and money on college, she felt an enthusiasm for being able to jump into a career without that expense. Some of her friends encouraged her to consider college now, with them. But, her path was different.

Fast forward two years

While some of her friends chose local or distance colleges, others chose vocational schools, and still others pursued jobs, Katie poured herself into writing. She began with writing articles for others, usually at no pay. She was just gaining experience. Soon, she had offers for paid content.

teen-girl-computerAlthough she already had a computer and basic necessities for writing, she used her income to purchase a few more necessities, and even invested in an online freelance writer course.

One of her favorite memories is when a few of her close friends came home on break from college. While they were quite happy with their chosen college route, Katie’s writing career truly impressed them. She showed them her office, a remodel of her schooling area, where she was able to write. When the reunion was over, Katie quickly made notes about the stories they told of their college experiences. She used those notes to write more freelance articles for pay!

Freelance Entrepreneur

Katie did not truly make much of a profit the first year, as much of the small amount she was paid was reinvested. But, before her college-educated friends received their bachelor’s degrees, Katie’s monthly income was quite impressive. She has decided that the freelance entrepreneur lifestyle is perfect for her, though admits it would not work for everyone.

She credits her homeschool years and the freedom they allowed her to pursue her own path. While she might have found this path from any education, Katie believes that the encouragement from her mom and dad, as well as the homeschool education, helped her refine her career choice. She states that without the reading and writing through the years, her life might be quite different.

Katie recently started writing a book, in addition to her content writing. Now engaged, she plans to continue her online business when married, too. She is sure that it will allow her to homeschool their own children in the future, too.

 

 

Spiritual Heritage

“In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history”.–Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 196 (1902).

History is important to know and understand its significance. Just as Ellen White reviewed the early history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we also should take a look back once in a while to see what God has done, not only in our church, but in our spiritual heritage.

One hundred seventy years ago today, was an event in church history. Take time to learn this part of history if you haven’t already. It is now called The Great Disappointment. Look up William Miller or the Millerite Movement to read up on it. You may want to look back at another blog post by Susan Menzmer about William Miller and take the virtual field trip to his home.

Reading about our Church’s history is fairly easy. You can use books and the internet to get the information quickly. Church history gets written down and recorded. It is easily researched and read about how God has lead us. That is why I love what Ellen White said about it, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history”. That not only applies to church history, but our own personal history, our family’s history, and our homeschooling history. It is these stories which are usually not in books or the internet. It is important to have a record of how God has lead us in our past, so when fear creeps in, we can look back at how God has intervened and our confidence and faith in Him will then be able to defeat that fear.

As I reflected on the rich spiritual heritage my boys are inheriting from both my family and my husband’s, I began to feel the urgency to record them, since many have not been written down. I also thought of all the personal experiences I have had that I’ve never told to my boys. I began brainstorming about how to preserve our family’s spiritual heritage.

Writing down the stories of answered prayers, miracles, and evidence of God’s protection and leading is the obvious place to start. Making a video recording of a family member telling the story is another way to preserve the story. I have many of the stories written down, and a few video recordings, but they are scattered and not easily accessible. I also have documents, such as letters describing events, sermons and poems that must be preserved. I would also like to collect favorite scripture passages, Bible stories, Bible Characters, Hymns, songs or poems of significance to family members.

I already have a prayer notebook, which has recorded the date I began praying for a specific request, the promise(s) I claimed and how God answered and the date. Having pages of answered prayer to look back over, can quickly alleviate fears. It is only a part of what I want to record for our spiritual heritage, but is a helpful place to start.

I have heard about a family that kept photos and items in shadowboxes to remind them of the stories. This made me think how nice it would be to have visual reminders on the wall to see daily. I may do that after making sure that the stories are written down first. What fun it will be to preserve mementos or find objects to represent the stories. For example, I have a picture of my grandfather with the donkey that helped answer a prayer. How wonderful it would be to have the picture and a photocopy of the story I have written in my mother’s handwriting in a picture frame or include a little figurine of a donkey in a shadowbox with other items reminding me of other answered prayers. I can imagine the blessing of the constant reminder of the answered prayer, the chance, when guests happen upon it, to tell the stories again and marvel at the goodness of God.

Scrapbooks are another method of recording stories which can include documents and photos. Many scrapbooks are designed to add more pages, so it would be easy to keep adding to it. Digital Scrapbooks would be even easier to add more pages and easily share with extended family.

Perhaps another way to preserve the stories would be to blog about them. It would be wonderful to be able to collaborate with extended family to preserve a spiritual heritage. I spent a lot of time with my grandma and discovered recently that I heard stories from her that my sister never heard. It made me think what other stories might I have missed or forgotten that other family members could share.

With the holiday season approaching, it will be easier to connect with extended family and ask them to contribute stories and memories. Striking up a conversation with the oldest family members can uncover treasures. One time during a holiday family gathering, my husband’s grandmother told us about her family donating land for the first church built in their farming community when she was a little girl. That is information I want to preserve as well.

My goal is to somehow get these stories, not only preserved, but collected into an easily accessible format to share with family. Recently I’ve been learning to make handmade journals, books and mini-books. Now I have a major project to record the stories for our family’s spiritual heritage and to practice the art of handmade books. I think it will be a project the entire family can work on together. I already have a decorative box that will be perfect for keeping those little books together in one place.

I’m fortunate to have a Christian heritage that goes back farther than I can trace. Many families don’t have a long spiritual heritage to draw from. That should not make it any less valid. It needs to be preserved, even if the history is short. Even children can have answered prayers in their short lifetime to record so they can have a personal spiritual history to look back on and keep their faith strong (great writing assignment idea, by the way). It is also interesting to ask others outside your family for stories from their spiritual heritage. Maybe someday I can choose someone from my church family to help preserve their family’s spiritual heritage. That could be quite a project and an adventure.

Nature Journaling: An Interview with Kristen Cook

Kristen and her kids, Emily (11 1/2) and Nickolas (9), have been studying nature through journaling for several years now. She graciously agreed to answer some questions and share a few examples of their handiwork!

W: Kristen, I’m so pleased that you have agreed to this interview about nature journaling! Your family’s experience has been inspirational to me, and as my kids & I were beginning to keep nature journals two years ago, you provided some very helpful information. So thank you!

How were you & your kids introduced to nature journaling, and how long have you done this?

K: I cannot remember when I first heard about nature journaling, but it was long before I actually started keeping a journal. I love art and nature, and I like the idea of keeping track of what’s going on around me. I like to compare notes from year to year, climate to climate, region to region. I love details. I’m very visual. I love photography (which plays into nature journaling for me). So nature journaling was a fairly easy — and exciting — thing to jump into.

I think the thing that finally pushed me into starting was a book I stumbled upon at a curriculum fair in the spring of 2010: “Keeping a Nature Journal” by Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth. But starting the journal was, surprisingly, a little intimidating. As a child, I loved art and drawing, but it had been YEARS since I’d put pencil to paper in any seriousness. A crusty brown leaf finally took me down the road of nature journaling one cold and dreary Sabbath in January, 2011.

My son is very artistic. He loved my leaf drawing, incredulous that I could draw it! He was quickly right into journaling along with me. My daughter, however, was reluctant. She likes to write and read, but drawing is overwhelming to her. When I decided we would be doing this for science class, she was somewhat dragged along. Sometimes I gave the kids specific assignments of something to draw, and sometimes I gave them the option to draw something or just take notes about specific things. My son always drew; my daughter often wrote things down. Our journaling hasn’t been nearly as consistent as I would have liked, but this is life. I’m much more apt to pull it out and put something in it than they are, but we all still get our “happy thoughts” when we look through each other’s books. Mine goes with me on every vacation, so recalling the memories as I leaf through my book takes all of us back to “that spot”. It’s special. Seeing the progression in my kids’ abilities has also been rewarding to them. I never let them rip out a “bad” page, as I think learning happens in a million ways, including encouraging them with their progress over time.

W: How do you fit nature journaling into your homeschool schedule? 

K: The year that we did nature journaling, we spent mostly just one day a week outside for a specific reason. I used the book “The Nature Connection” by Clare Walker Leslie as a guide for what we would study. This book has a month-by-month guide of suggestions for what to look for/do.

We always recorded the date, the temperature, the weather in general, and our location. From there, things varied a lot. Sometimes we drew a specific flower or grasses; sometimes we made lists of all the things we heard/saw/felt as we stood still in the woods.

W: That was one book you recommended to me as I was beginning with Nature Journaling. It was a great purchase! Thanks!

Do you participate with your children, and/or has this educational process of journaling sparked an interest that the kids pursue on their own? 

K: I almost always participated with the journaling when my kids were younger. Occasionally, I would get them started, and then send them off on their own, but I found this activity so therapeutic and beneficial to myself that I rarely wanted to miss out. We all keep up with it sporadically now. My son draws a picture (or three or ten) nearly every day, and not always in his journal, but often of things he finds outside.

W: What is most unusual, or fun, thing you’ve found in nature?

K: I’m not sure I could tell you which one thing was the most unusual or fun thing we’ve found in nature, but I can tell you that I notice a LOT MORE now than I did before I started journaling. I notice the tiny barbs on a dragonfly’s legs, and see my reflection in his huge eyes. I’ve noticed the many varieties of ferns and the things that differentiate one species from another (although I can’t remember them — but I can refer to my nature journal to find this out!). A magnolia pod’s bright red seeds caught my attention for the first time because of nature journaling. I learned about the springing action of a great blue heron’s neck because of researching about the bird as I journaled it. I discovered that orchids grow in the mountains of Tennessee. (I’d previously thought they were only a tropical plant, found in flower shops.)

W: Is there one particular nature walk or hike that stands out in your memory? A favorite family & nature moment? 

K: A favorite nature walk? That’s difficult to choose just one! In 2013, I signed the kids and myself up for the Wildflower Pilgrimage, held in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. We took numerous hikes with botanists, herpetologists, entomologists, mycologists, artists, and wannabes. It was fabulous. On the wildflower walk, I trailed at the back, sketching out the flowers as quickly as I could, as many as I could. Later I colored them in, referencing books as needed. What a great learning experience! On the reptiles and amphibians walk, my kids squelched through the muck, digging out more salamanders than I dreamed possible, as well as several snakes. They kept the guides busy with identification. Later, my son added another specimen to his nature journal, while my daughter listed out all the salamanders she saw.

We had so much fun on this adventure that we returned again this past spring. We noted that this spring was much colder, and much later, so the species that we saw were much fewer in number, and not nearly so developed. Some species of flowers hadn’t yet appeared.

Emily’s thoughts: Happy memories come from nature journaling in our yard and making lists of sounds that we heard, like birds, and Daddy driving up the driveway. Another good memory is from sitting on the rocky shores of the Atlantic coast in Maine. I liked sitting there and looking at the beach. Thinking back on it is fun.

Nickolas adds:  I liked going on the salamander walk (on the Wildflower Pilgrimage). We caught a whole bunch of salamanders! I like the salamander that I drew.

W: That sounds like an amazing experience! What a trail of life memories you & your kids are making!

It is apparent from the journal samples I’ve seen that your family has natural artistic talent, but have you also had formal training in painting, drawing, sketching, etc.?  

K: No, just exploring as we go. I’ve always loved and admired watercolor art, but only since starting nature journaling have I explored it myself. I’ve watched a few You Tube videos on watercolor art, but otherwise just intently study pictures and play around with the paintbrush. I did take one nature journaling class at the Wildflower Pilgrimage, and was shown a few techniques there by artist Andrea Wilson (Check her out! Amazingly detailed work!), which was very inspiring. The kids and I are also planning to check out an online art journaling class being presented by Strathmore (http://www.strathmoreartist.com/artist-studio/) next week.

On a similar theme as the last question, how would you suggest that a person with little to no experience approach nature journaling?

K: For the person with little or no experience in nature journaling who is wondering where to start, I would say, “Dive in!” Even to an artistic perfectionist like myself, beginning is intimidating. But put that pencil on that paper and just START. Choose a flower or something that isn’t going to move, spend some time observing it, and then start drawing. Maybe pick one day a week to spend a specific amount of time in journaling, be it observing someone else’s work (I find this very inspiring and helpful), making a list of what you see, or getting brave and starting a book of your journaling. Date it! Make notes! Look things up in reference books so you learn about what you’re observing.

What materials would you recommend to a family just beginning on this journey? Are there other materials, perhaps not absolutely necessary, but that you find useful if it’s in a family’s budget? 

K: So, what materials did we start out with? I got each of us an unlined notebook. We all started out with pencil drawings. I added to our growing collection of Field Guides. We put our binoculars to use. As we progressed, I added things like colored pencils, watercolor pencils, drawing pens, a thermometer, a special bag to hold our own tools, a magnifying glass. Later still, we added actual watercolor supplies, a microscope (AWESOME learning tool! We’ve looked at individual snowflakes, pond muck, honeybees, snake skins). Websites have been great tools to enhance our learning as well. Pinterest has also provided plenty of inspiration when it comes to seeing other people’s nature journals. And books! Loads of books! “Handbook of Nature Study” by Anna Botsford Comstock is a great (and fat) book.

On a side note, this has been a really great experience in appreciating God through His creation. I’m entirely in awe of His thoughtfulness in all the details that we regularly miss by our busy lives. When I nature journal, I cannot hurry through it, or I miss all of this. Slowing down enough to do this puts me in a mood to recognize God for who He is: Someone totally concerned about the scales on the back of a resurrection fern; the courting practices of a garden spider; the next meal for the cattle egret. Of course, what does this say about His care for me, for my kids and family?

W: What a perfect statement to conclude this interview–your expression of how an intimate relationship with God’s creation has affected your relationship with Him. Beautiful.

Kristen, Emily and Nickolas, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your wonderful artwork with us! Our homeschool families will love hearing about your experience. I know I’m inspired to get outside and draw now!

You can see more heartwarming and inspiring nature journaling by Kristen, Emily and Nickolas on their blog devoted to this subject: http://www.journalingnature.blogspot.com/

More detailed information about journaling with reluctant artists, her supply list and a sample curriculum/lesson plan can be found on her blog under July 2012.