Se7en of the Best Science NoteBook Inspirations.

I have written a bit about how we study great artists for school and I thought I would move onto Science. In my head I divide Science into three categories: Observation, Research and Experiment. And and as we crawl out of a long wet winter lets start with Observation.

Our observations get recorded and remembered in copious nature notebooks and journals. Our nature journals consist of lots of diagrams and drawings, a few notes and sometimes even an inspired story or poem. They are not by any stretch of the imagination scientific documents or anything that I ever correct in the lives of my little Hoods, but I do admire them and encourage them to produce more and look more and seek more.

Especially for little kids science is based hugely on their ability to observe and the best way to learn observation is to practice it. Endless worksheets and so on will not replace the life skill of observation. Obviously there is nothing better than personal experience in the great outdoors to inspire, but there are great books by great naturalists that inspire young naturalists and these are the ones that work for us (in no particular order):

  • The first book, because it so obviously is a nature notebook is The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, who was born in 1871 and was one of se7en children!


    My children pour over her books for hours reading them month, by month, by month… they love them. I think her books and there are a few, epitomize our understanding of a nature journal, dotted with poems, observations, diagrams and so on – they are beautiful.

  • The next book in our list is: The Springing of the Year by Gillian Rattray.


  • This is really a South African Version of the Country Diaries and chronicles some of the history of the region as well… it is not so much the text but the endless beautiful watercolor pictures of things that are familiar to us, that inspire my children to observe more, draw more and record more.

  • DK Nature Activity Series: These are great little books that fit in a backpack or under the covers to be gleaned after bed time… They not only have pages and pages of facts, but doable experiments that are not beyond the reach of your average kidlet. The experiments are designed to help young naturalists observe even more things like how to make a bird hide, leaf skeletons, grow a geode, find sun spots or feed your honey bees…Also, in the cover of these books there are lists of things on the topic that you can tick off as you observe them… aha who wouldn’t like that!







  • The Usborne Naturetrail Omnibus: This book has a number of sections: birds, trees, wild flowers, seashore life, insects and spiders, and ponds and streams. There is something quite magical about Usborne Nature Books that allow you to wander the great outdoors without leaving the couch.


  • DK Eyewitness Books: are brilliant, the photography is pure and inspiring, you feel like you are walking on the seashore or visiting the pond. Just beautiful – pick a theme and leave it lying around and your kids will do the rest. There are so many great books in this series and you can usually find them in the library.




  • Sasol Series: First Field Guide to Almost Anything of Southern Africa. There are about twenty-five books in this series and we just keep collecting! They are pocket books really, tiny little books with photos to help you identify and then names: Latin, English and Common Names, a location map showing where to find them… and then a couple of factoids that can be gleaned. So here are a few examples:





  • And for the mother person A Pocketful of Pinecones, this is not a great scientific work but rather a mother’s walk through the homeschooling process. It is a very easy read and sweet – a reminder of why we homeschool and the gentle art of parenting. Not to mention full of ideas for the how to nature notebook, in a practical way amidst day to day life.


So there you are a couple of our inspirations… tomorrow I will post on living story books that inspire us to poke around in the natural world and fill up our nature notebooks, before I go on to show the sort of things that actually go into our nature notebooks next week.

2 Replies to “Se7en of the Best Science NoteBook Inspirations.”

  1. Totally Zoe, This series wasn’t there usual eyewitness type book, they felt like pocket handbooks that could be easily taken on a nature outing for exploring!!! So they were/are extremely popular here!!! Hope you have a great weekend!!!

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