I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nature Journal Blog Hop #1!

School Room Reflections

If you are joining my Nature Journal Blog Hop, please copy and paste the picture or html code above in your post!  That way others can learn about it!   Link up is at the bottom of this post.

So, we went on our weekly nature walk on Friday morning.  The girls look forward to it and were all excited to walk out the door.  It's our time to explore and discover new things together.  Most of the time, we go out to see what we can find, but on Friday I had one thing I wanted them to check out.  I had gone out earlier in the week thinking about trimming the wisteria that grows out of control all summer.  When I came up close though, I discovered that there was a pair of cardinals making a lot of noise and fluttering around.  They had their nest built in there, so I had to change my plan and postpone trimming for a while; but I decided it would be a nice opportunity for the girls to see the pair and their nest.  So, we headed on out to check them out, and they were there making a fuss at us again for getting too close.  We didn't look inside the nest, so as to not disturb them too much, but I suspected there were babies in there.   We also saw another pair of cardinals along our driveway, in the big oaks.  For some reason, those are the ones they drew in their journal.

Jet Clouds

As we walked around the house and over to the driveway, Emily looked up and discovered jet clouds.  There were several planes flying overhead at that time, around 8:30 in the morning; probably loaded with commuting businessmen, unaware of the streaks they were leaving behind them all over the sky.  Emily marveled, and I enjoyed one of those precious moments when my kids make a great new discovery.  Of course, I was asked how the jets made those clouds, so I tried to explain water vapor and condensation - big words I had to remember to review later and maybe follow up with more information back inside.

Florida Native Morning Glories
We found a native Morning Glory vine climbing up another bush, its delicate purple flowers only there for a few hours before the sun would dry them up, greeted us as we walked by. 

Once inside, we pulled out the Handbook of Nature Study, where we learned all about cardinals, my favorite resource to use after nature walks.  We also looked at our birding guide and learned about where cardinals live, and how they migrate during the different seasons.  We looked at animal migration maps for other birds and butterflies at Journey North, a site where you can record your observations.  We recorded our sighting of Monarch butterflies on our walk there.  That was a good opportunity to do some geography review.

The girls just love these walks, and Friday mornings work out best for us because Michael is gone to his martial arts class with Gabi then, so I have the morning to do something like this with them.

When we went inside, they drew their pictures, each focusing on what they learned or liked about our walk.
Michelle's Picture
Michelle's picture reflected some of the things she has been learning in our art classes, like the texture on the trunk of the tree.  Her cardinals show the difference between the male and female cardinals.  I think she liked that it was a sunny morning too!
Emily's Picture, and "the biggest raindrop in history!"
 Emily had all the different things we saw in her picture and wanted to label them, so I wrote them down for her to copy.  She also drew herself and Michelle looking out the windows of the house.  Her father's comment when first seeing the picture, "that is the largest rain drop in history!"  She laughed.  I only suggested that there might be either eggs or babies in the cardinal's nest.  She drew hatching cardinal babies, just coming out of their eggs.  My favorite was the jet "stream" (cloud).

Since Michelle is older and more advanced, I asked her to write a paragraph about our nature walk.  I showed her a way to organize a word outline to help her get started.  I taught her about the importance of organizing our thoughts and information before starting to write, and how that helps people understand what we are trying to say better.

She gave me the important words about cardinals, the topic she wanted to write about, then I helped her organize them around the circle, forming a web.  Visual cues, like graphic organizers,  really help her understand better and make writing easier for her.

Join the Nature Journal Blog Hop by following the link below!

Happily linking with Autumn 2010 OHC!


  1. That looks like such a fun day Your children are wonderful little artists :o)

  2. Thanks! We do have a great time out there. Thanks for linking with my blog hop. It's a treat to see other homeschooler's nature journals, almost like going along with you on your walks.

  3. What a great time you had on your nature walk. I love that you found a pair of nesting cardinals. I can remember when my middle son was very little and he learned about the jet trails. He had to tell everyone he met for weeks about "contrails" and how they are not clouds. :)

    Please tell your daughters that I love, love, love their nature journal entries. Great job!

    Thanks so much for sharing your study.

  4. Thanks for sharing the study on the OHC! The journal drawings are beautiful! I only dream of having girls who love to draw. . . .Glad to see their creativity!

  5. Thanks for the compliments,and thank you for stopping by!
    It does seem to be more common for girls to be better at drawing than boys. My son doesn't do it very well either. I suppose if I had spent more time teaching him, he'd be better at it; but he didn't have a natural interest in it like the girls did, so we focused elsewhere with him.
    I love the girls' creativity. My oldest (20) also does beautiful drawings and watercolors, much due to our nature studies...

  6. What a lovely nature study! I love cardinals, but we seldom get them in our neighborhood. Your children draw very well, too. Thanks for sharing this glimpse into nature study at your house!


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