Did you get the opportunity to read pages 12 – 14 from Pocketful of Pinecones? I hope so. It is well worth the read, since it gives us a peek into how we can create a nature notebook.
Nature study is not my strong suit. In fact, I have often put it last on the list, because it overwhelms. However, I had the opportunity to attend the CMI conference in June and there were some great tips and suggestions about doing Nature Study.
In the book, Pocketful of Pinecones, we read that Carol helps Don to work on his picture and overcome his anxiety with drawing. While it is worthwhile to help children with their drawing, I heard from another mother at the conference that is good to stress that Nature Study is not about pretty pictures. It’s about observation. If we over stress the drawing we are directing the children towards that particular subject when we should focus on the actual specimen and the nature study. Obviously, I love pretty pictures. If we are doing our drawing classes separately from nature study then the hope is that the drawing techniques the children are learning will flow over into their Nature notebooks. Another great suggestion for children that struggle with drawing and become anxious about their pictures and overlook the nature study is to have them focus on collecting the metadata: temperature, time, location. This allows us to redirect them away from drawing and back to observation and nature study.
So, on this point, I would say that I disagree a little with this particular point of stressing the beauty in the picture as Drawing and Nature Study are two different courses with different objectives. What do you think?