One of our favorite ways to study science is through nature study. We spend time in the great outdoors and record things in our creation journal. Our creation journal is essentially the same thing as a nature journal. We call it a creation journal simply to remind us that we’re studying nature to learn more about our Creator.
Specifically, we’re using a spiral bound art book full of blank pages. We sketch based on real life observations, our photographs or reference book images. We often affix our photographs and found items into the journal. Each time we are certain to label the page with the name of the item. This year, we plan to expand our nature studies. Here’s how —
1. Draft a plan. I’m reserving time each week for us to explore creation both inside and out. I’m making a list of local areas to visit, including the zoo and aquarium. We’ll have a set time to explore, but also use the flexibility that homeschooling affords us to be outside during optimal weather conditions. I love using even our own backyard or neighborhood to explore. Visiting local farms or friends with exotic pets is also an option.
2. Have materials at the ready. Each of my littles has a kit for outdoor exploration: camp bucket, shovel, magnifying glass, spiral-bound art book, and colored pencils. We also have pocket field guides to share. The bucket easily carries our supplies and also gives us a place to bring home treasures we discover. The shovel is great for digging for bugs or rocks. The magnifying glass allows us to look more closely. A spiral-bound art book lays flat for easier drawing. The blank, sturdy pages of an art book give your little a chance to use a variety of mediums for documenting – colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or glue to affix pictures or found items.
3. Document well. Until this year, we’ve simply been labeling the object we’re documenting with its name. But, this year, we plan to be more specific. We’ll not only name the object, but also write the date, time, and location of our observation. This will not only teach the skill of detailed documenting needed for scientific studies to my littles, but also give us more contextual information to consider when reflecting back on our discoveries later.
We have four Golden Book Field Guides, including one on shells from when I was a child, which we love. But, we also recently purchased some Pocket Naturalist Guides after learning about them from a friend. They are folded and laminated, so great for taking with you to explore. They’re also really affordable!
Are you doing nature studies with your little scholars? How does it work in your home?