The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en Ideas To Get Your Nature Notebooks Started…

November 13th, 2008 · 3 Comments

I know I have been promising a Science Journal Post for a while… but so much to blog and so little time. I managed to write this epic last week and then lost it in a freakish delete kind of way and was just too disheartened to look at it again. That should teach me not to write huge posts. So I have split it up and you will get it in bits and pieces!  Anyway today is the day to make a start.

My previous science post was all about How Se7en Do Actual Factual Scientific Observations, it included equipment and ideas for getting going. Otherwise I posted about our favorite science notebook inspirations in: Se7en of the Best Science NoteBook Inspirations And Se7en Stories to Inspire Young Naturalists…


Se7en Points I should make…

  • Science notebooks need to be sturdy notebooks. They need to be robust… really the sturdiest of notebooks. These books need to have strong paper in them, they will be painted in and get soggy. They will be glued on and expected to hold a fair amount of scientific stuff.
    We also use loose paper and paste them into a large ongoing school journal that each child has as a diary of their school process.     


    They like to decorate them. You don’t have to do it, just enable them to do it.


  • These are their books. Their notes and reports. I never correct them, I consider them to be artworks… time will correct spelling, practice will encourage better techniques and effort will be rewarded by good results. The hardest part for me was always to just let them be but I mastered that when I started doing my own science journaling alongside of them… now I am far to busy to poke my nose in their work… true confessions, these are my great efforts!


  • We do go on outings where our notebooks go with us and there is something very inspiring about working in the great outdoors.
    But most of our science notebooking happens very close to home, gathering things from trees in our garden, things we have found elsewhere and keep in our nature corner. We don’t live in a huge wild garden full of natural stuff… but if you look you will find things to observe all around you.    


  • Sometimes I will suggest an activity but mostly they do it when they see me doing it, if I look up something in a guidebook – they will want to as well. If I sit and watercolor something I have discovered there is no holding back… before you look there will be a whole heap of little watercolor artists around me.


  • There are no age limits, if you can grasp an implement then you can join the throng, if you are big enough to observe and you want to write it down – then enable them to do so. I am all for setting kids up to succeed at what they want to or need to achieve.


  • Which leads to the next thing: materials need to be available, leave them where they can be reached and let them know that they are responsible for caring for the materials so that they will be available the next time someone wants to use them.


  • Finally have fun! – I am not teaching anything I am discovering things for myself and they discover alongside me. This isn’t scheduled and they don’t have to produce ten reports a week… they follow their own path of discovery and they never need any encouragement – it just happens – really. I think if I said: We will now all write a report on the bark of a local tree I will be writing alone… but if I say hay guys have you seen these bugs hiding in this bark?, lets draw them and find out what they are… well guess what I get lot of assistance.

This is the tip of the iceberg! Still to follow:

  • How se7en do Science Notebooks.
  • Se7en Easy Notebook Ideas.
  • Se7en Easy Notebook Activities.
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Tags: Science · Se7en at School

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 cratar // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:41 am

    thanks for the post – sturdy books??? oh dear – we’ve just got nature study books, well-covered though with great plastic, but we’ll see how they stand the test of time, dirt, painting etc!

    Question – where can I source really good (but not too expensive) kids’ watercolour type paint boxes? I’ve not found good ones yet – the colours from our old box were insipid at best.


  • 2 se7en // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I usually get the best watercolors I can, the better the quality the better the colors. They are pretty indestructible if you leave them open to dry after a paint session and just wipe them gently with a damp cloth just before they are totally dry – and they are as good as new. Also brushes – the really cheap ones are nasty and frustrating, look for better than the cheapest if you don’t want your older kids to just despair!

  • 3 cratar // Nov 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    yes – agreed – brushes are important! I plan to get some more thinner ones of better quality, because the ones we have are atrocious! So _where_ did you source yours? 😉

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