Tag Archives: Charlotte Mason

Nature Journaling – An Introduction by John Muir Laws


Karen Andreola – Moments with Mother Culture Blog

Since we are reading a book written by Karen Andreola, I thought I would share the link to her blog:


Assignment 3: Review – Pocketful of Pinecones

The reading for Assignment 3 really struck a chord with me, and I think it was best summed up in the last couple of sentences on page 11:

“Perhaps I’m just suffering the nervous symptoms of a novice. Nonetheless, as I conclude this page of my diary I will pray to be less anxious about obstacles in our path.”

We are in the process of concluding our first year of homeschooling and when I look back on this journey, I remember feeling very anxious and nervous.  Unlike Carol, I had a big plan and was firm that we were going to stick to it.  However, as the year progressed, I learned to let go and not be so intense.  Now, we have our school time in the morning and the afternoons are left for walking to the local dock and playing on the beach.  In our play, we inevitably stumble across something interesting: a bird feather, a new flower, a ghost shrimp.  It is thrilling to see my child make that discovery on their own, in lieu of being force fed what I think they will be interested in learning.

When we first began these nature walks, it seemed to take all of us a little time to unwind from the house and all it’s cares and truly open our eyes to the nature around us.  It took time and it takes time and THAT is the single most important thing I have learned and am still learning.  Giving my time to my children.  Letting them lead.  Being available but not overbearing.  Listening.  Really listening.  Not just, “uh-huh,uh-huh” while I’m doing 10 other things.

With that being said, I appreciate the following quote from page 8:

“I don’t want to be the kind of person who is content with having good intentions, or who is too afraid to carry them out.  Rather, I am determined to set aside the time to do what I have purposed to do and not be distracted.”

Carol’s journal this week reflects her purpose, but also shows her flexibility.  She knows when not to push her son about showing his drawing, but continues to take both her children out into nature and have them draw.

What did you think about this week’s reading?  Have you enjoyed reading Carol’s nature study journey?

May God Bless You on your walk!



Assignment 1: Review – Pocketful of Pinecones

Did you read the Introduction?  What did you think?

I really liked the way Karen Andreola explains her goal for the book:

“The pages of Pocketful of Pinecones go further. They are meant to give the reader a larger look at the lifestyle of learning.”


“…the autumn section explains, step by step, how to construct a Nature Notebook and suggests ways to overcome certain obstacles that may arise.”

Like a great recipe laying out the process of making a dish, we need to learn the pieces of the process.  Then, we can experiment: change up the spices, add a little more of this and maybe a little less of that, and make it our own.  I look forward to reading Mrs. Andreola’s recipe for Nature Study and Nature Notebooks, so I can make it my own.

Recently, we have embarked on Nature Study for my child’s kindergarten year.  I have had to relearn a lot of what came natural to me in my youth.  Lay on the grass and stare at the sky.  Lean on my elbows and observe the ants moving in the grass.  Breathe deeply.  Most of these things, my children have taught me again.  And I help them, by asking them to describe the colors of the leaves and comparing the birds tweets, twitters and calls.

It has been a sweet time of reminiscing for me, too.  The smell of fresh cut grass (we live in the south and I heard my first lawn mower last week!), reminds me of playing in Grandma’s yard on a summer’s evening while the adults sat around us talking and laughing.  The birds returning reminds me of my Granny and how she would stand at her back door and tweet and sing back to them.

I look forward to learning the steps of Nature Study and comparing notes with, Carol, the main character, as she begins her first Nature Study with her children and teaches them how to maintain a Nature Notebook.

Finally, I appreciate Karen Andreola’s call to participate in “Mother Culture”:

“In as little as fifteen minutes a day, a mother can strengthen her spirit, expand her mind, exercise her creativity, or ponder ideas that will help her in her arduous task as home maker/home teacher.”

Challenge: begin spending fifteen minutes a day expanding, creating and pondering.  Keep a journal of what you’re doing and when we’re done with the book, see if it has helped strengthen your spirit.

Leave comments below about what you learned from the Introduction.

This coming Tuesday I will post our next reading assignment.

May God Bless you on your walk!


Pocketful of Pinecones – Chapters 1 – 10 Discussion Questions (Week 1 and Week 2 reading assignments)


Discussion Questions, as posed by the author, at the end of every “diary entry” in “Pocketful of Pinecones” are simple yet thought provoking. Take time to reflect on each question:

Chapters 1 – 6 Discussion Questions posed by Karen Andreola in “Pocketful of Pinecones”:

1) Would you and your children welcome the idea of starting a Nature Notebook?
2) Does your student like to draw?
3) Which afternoon of the week would be most suitable for your nature observation?
4) Field books are indispensable for identifying living things. What other books on nature study do you have handy?
5) Does your neighborhood have any weedy wayside blossoms?
6) Is there a park in your town that you can visit?
7) Have you tried making leaf rubbings?
8) Do your children have someone or something to love, something to do, and something to think about each day?
9) What is it about Nature Study that interests you, the teacher?
10) Still life subjects of fruits and vegetables in season can become a Nature Notebook entry. Which ones suggest themselves to you?

I would also like to suggest that you take a moment this week and read pages 238-239 from the Appendix.

For the Children’s Sake – Chapter 6 Discussion Question Responses

Chapter 6 Discussion Questions
1. What was the PNEU motto?

“I am, I can, I ought, I will”

2. What is meant by “I am” in the PNEU motto?
I am – I am unique. I am born with personality, traits and qualities that are specific to me.

3. What is meant by “I can” in the PNEU motto?

“Yes, I believe in myself in a balanced, realistic way.” (pg 150) “…you can divide people into those who feel they can, and those who assume they can’t.” (page 151)

4. What is meant by “I ought” in the PNEU motto?

“…’What is right?’ and then, ‘I ought.'” (pg 151) “Study the Bible to see what are the “oughts”.

5. What is meant by “I will” in the PNEU motto?

“Having clarified what is right, we realize that we are able to choose what is right.  ‘I will do it, even though I don’t feel like it/it is hard/everybody else isn’t doing it.'” (Page 152)