Charlotte Mason Nature Study Habits (A newbie dips her toe)

There is much about classical education and the Charlotte Mason Method (CMM) that I am interested in, but as a complete newbie I am often at a loss for where to begin or what to do. I’m looking into curriculum and am open to suggestions! One habit that I am working hard to create is Nature Study. Part of the problem is my own personal lack of education – I don’t know much about trees or plants, or nature in general!

With my reading, learning, and not a small case of imposter syndrome, in place – I have set out to incorporate some habits into our regular life and outdoor summer adventures that lend themselves to the CMM. Further along this lovely path than me? Shout out your best tips (and corrections 😬) in the comment section!

Here are some of my habits that have helped so far:

  • Download some apps (like these) and use them when you can.
  • Talk about what you know… and what you don’t! I encourage wonder about nature by wondering myself about what kind of trees/flowers/plants I am looking at. I notice aloud characteristics about the leaves (shape, size, colour, teeth/smooth, etc) and comment when I notice something newly in bloom. This also lends itself to my next point 👇🏻
  • Beg, borrow, and steal the knowledge of those around you. When I began this journey, I would have been hard pressed to identify more than a handful of trees/plants/flowers but people around me know more than I do! So I’ve been swallowing my pride and asking and I have been learning so much.
  • Draw, sketch, take pictures, whatever method of recording your learning, do it! I went to the dollar store and stocked up a bag with sketch pads, pencils, coloured pencils and markers. Now I can throw the bag in my diaper bag and off we go! Here’s what we did in the park over dinner:
  • Your best is good enough! This has almost become a mantra to me. I see these beautiful paintings and drawings in amazing and detailed nature journals and I drool and envy and wish I had the creativity and talent these people have in their pinky finger. But I can only do what I can do. So rather than be paralyzed by my amateur mediocrity, I have chosen to dive in. Done is better than perfect.

So there you have it: our informal, summer vacation start to CMM Nature Study, more or less. Feedback, thoughts and encouragement please! 🙏🏻

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