I need to first begin by admitting to you that I am NOT an artist, only a wannabe one. I’m planning on taking the time to learn more about notebooking and nature drawing and journaling myself this year. The kids can’t have all of the fun! 😉
I am planning on being more intentional about notebooking and nature journaling this year for all of us. It’s a great way to document our learning and keep it organized. And this just isn’t for homeschoolers. This is a great way of documenting life and keeping a journal that will be a treasure to have to look back on and remember.
I love what Marilyn Howshall has to say about notebooking. “No other learning tool has more purity of approach than a blank notebook. Like the artist’s canvas, it has the creative potential of becoming anything the author wishes to portray. Its natural form makes it adaptable to any task or learning situation. The content, rather than being dictated by a pre-set curriculum, is determined by the family, meeting their unique and individual needs. When the development of learning tools becomes the focus rather than merely gaining content, then the family is free to use all of life as their curriculum. Furthermore, the notebook is adaptable to all types of learners and possesses much visual aid and has multi-dimensional potential. The notebook can consist of writings, illustrations, photographs, and bits and pieces of any flat objects. Rather than cloning our children’s education, notebooks can reflect the interest, individuality, and strengths of each child” (The Unit-of-Life Learning Model, p. 19).
This is another reason why we have chosen to create our own curriculum, a curriculum that is unique to our family. Notebooking alleviates many issues and teaches my children important truths. They learn they are unique and it’s not only okay they are different but important they stay that way. They learn about their strengths and areas they need to work on. They learn about cheating and giving credit where it is due. Notebooks allow them an opportunity to stretch their creativity and try new things.
I know I will forget some items but here are some of our favorite resources that we use.
Books/resources to learn how to journal/draw:
- The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady
- The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
- Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
- Draw Right Now
- Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (This is the newest addition to our collection and is proving to be one of my favorites.)
- Johnmuirlaws.com offers free on-line classes
Our favorite nature books for drawing inspiration:
- The Complete Watercolor Essentials Notebook
- watercolor pencils by Colorarty (our favorites in the way their colors blend)
- watercolor pencils by US Art Supply
- Strathmore watercolor paint or you can also buy watercolor paint at the Dollar Store
- watercolor brushes
- Jar Paint Holder and here are more options to choose from or a simple cup will work
- a white watercolor paint tray or an alumininum palette or a paper plate
- watercolor paper
- watercolor journal
Colored pencils and journal supplies:
- Lyra (which are a bit chunkier and easier for the younger ones to use).
- story journal by Mead (which allows for more room to write but is not spiral bound) and Strathmore (which is spiral bound)
- sketching journals from Walmart with a hard black cover
- sketch diary
- I also buy cheap colored pencils at the Dollar Store and your basic white copy paper Target for everyday coloring and drawing. I save the nicer resources for our learning.
- Calligraphy set
- Learn Calligraphy: The Complete Book of Lettering and Design or you can use this easy calligraphy technique by Jonesdesigncompany.com.
- Calligraphy paper
Binders: We use binders to organize the kid’s work. Depending on their interests I either separate the topics using dividers or they use the whole notebook. I find I have to evaluate and sometimes reorganize their work as the year progresses. You can either laminate their pages or put them in sheet protectors.
- eco-binder – I haven’t used these before but I’m trying them out this year. Please note the A4 binder that I linked to are a 4 ring binder. There are other sizes available and they each have a different number of rings. There weren’t any reviews on them yet so if you get them, please let me know your thoughts on them. Or you can find cheaper binders at Office Depot, Walmart, Target, or Staples.
- eco-friendly tab dividers
- washi tape – This is a cute way to attach pressed flowers to paper
- flower press – although you don’t need to buy one of these. We use a big book with a weight on it that works just as well.
- microwave flower press – this allows you to dry flowers in minutes so if you don’t want to wait, this is a great option. Although again, you don’t need to buy one. I found a great way to press flowers in the microwave using this tutorial on Youtube.com.
I know many of these are expensive so we have chosen to buy these items for Christmas and birthday presents. My advice, don’t buy them all at once or too many of one thing. Try it out and see how you like them and what works best for you. I hope this list helps. Happy notebooking!