Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sit-Spot for a Nature Journal

One of the things we value about homeschooling is having nature woven throughout our days. When we look outside, we are surrounded by views of trees, clouds, the sky, and constant visits of birds.

Winter on the Farm
Things around our farm in the winter.

So, when I came across a pin on Pinterest for "Sit Spots in the School Yard" that led to Partners in Place. I thought it would be a nice way to kick off this year's nature journaling.

The pin leads to a trio of images where students filled in a circle throughout a year with their observations of the same place...a "sit spot" outdoors on the school grounds. (Partners in Place has a beautiful gallery of images and ideas for which their round wheels can be used.)

Students spend time alone there each month, observing the plants, animals, and weather and recording in their observations in the nature journal. At the end of the year, students refer to their journals to create a Wheel of the Year to summarize and communicate their experience.

Partners in Place said, "There is surely something magic about a circle, the way it influences us to be both grounded and expansive at the same time. Most of us have been taught to think of the passing of time as linear, with one event following another in sequence by day, by month, by year. Placing the same events in a circle helps us discover patterns and use them to communicate about what is really important to us."

Two Pinecones
Snow-covered pine needles and pine cones in the backyard.

In our case, the girls each made their own circle by tracing the edge of a bowl. They made an interior circle by following the exterior line.

Sophia's circle with one block filled in.
The next one she does will be in March.

Next, they chose one of the sections to use for their January observation.

Pasture Looking NW
Sophia picked the oak tree in the front, west pasture.
It is in the center of the picture above.

They are leaving the center open at this point so they can either use a photograph to place in the center or draw a picture later in another season when there is more to draw.

Evergreen and Willow Tree
Olivia picked the willow tree which is out 
in the back, south nature area.

They will go to their "sit spot" in March, May, July, September, and November - six times total. In this way, they will have a year-long view of how one spot on our farm changes throughout four distinct seasons in 2014.

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