Our Green Hour Challenge #14 Bursting with Color: Composite Flowers

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge for us was very enjoyable. Our flower garden is just bursting with color and with garden flowers as our focus we decided to read and observe a special kind of flower, the composite.

“Many plants have their flowers set close together and thus make a mass of color, like the geraniums or the clovers. But there are other plants where there are different kinds of flowers in one head, those at the center doing a certain kind of work for the production of seed, and those around the edges doing another kind of work.”

“Can you see that what you call the flower consists of many flowers set together like a beautiful mosaic? Those at the center are called disc flowers; those around the edges ray flowers.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 503

We had a great time studying these flowers and now we are going to be looking closer when we see a new flower to see if we can tell if it is a composite or not.

Here are some of our flowers that we observed.

Close up of a pink gilardia…can you see the anthers?


Yellow gilardias


Tickseed or corepesis


Pin cushion flowers where you can really see the flower parts


Pink cosmos, first one of the season


Close up of the different kinds of flowers making up the composite. Can you see the disc flowers and the ray flowers?

My son’s nature journal entry.

We then put the flowers in our press. I am planning on making a flower calendar to make a record of flowers blooming in our yard for each month of the year. This will be a beautiful way to document our flower study throughout the year by pressing some flowers blooming in each month, pressing them, and then affixing them to card stock with the month neatly labeled on each page. I will share our first month’s page when these are ready to be added.

Another great week in our garden. My son and I both learned something new and enjoyed our time outdoors with a focus and purpose.

https://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2009/07/new-outdoor-hour-challenge-ebook-garden_27.html

Nature Journal or Nature Notebook?

I had a really good question from Joy and I thought maybe somebody else might like to hear my response.

Here is her question:
First off, I have read all of CM’s Original Homeschooling Series as well as Karen Andreola’s Charlotte Mason Companion, along with various others (and I’ve read all that you have on your site concerning Nature Journaling). But, I am still left wondering, is there a difference between a nature journal and a nature notebook? For example, the notebooking pages that are offered along with the GH challenges (that Tina made) would go into a nature notebook. However, I really like the nature journal idea, with the dry brush method, etc. and it would seem that this would be a different thing all together. The nature journal would seem to be a sketch book whereas the notebook would be something that would go into a 3 ring binder. So, how do these mesh together, and should I have my children do both? I know these questions are possibly silly to those who have done this for a while, but since I am just starting out, I don’t want to overwhelm my little ones (2nd grade and 1st grade). I really just want a streamlined way to encourage them to interact with what they are learning outdoors.

Now my answer:
First off I think this is a really good question and if you ask ten different people, you will get ten different answers. But I will take a stab at it since it relates to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. Clarifying things is always a good opportunity to fine tune our ideas.

I did a little research on what a “nature journal” is and the best explanation of it I found was in Clare Walker Leslie’s book, Keeping a Nature Journal. She explains it this way.

“Simply put, nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you. That is the essence of the process. The recording can be done in a wide variety of ways, depending on the individual journalist’s interests, background, and training. Some people prefer to record in written prose or poetry, some do it through drawing or painting, others with photographs or tape recordings, and still others through musical notation…..Many people use a combination of these techniques.”

In the Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Comstock calls the nature journal a “field journal” but it is still the same thing, a nature journal. In Charlotte Mason’s original homeschooling series in volume one, she refers to the nature journal as a nature diary. The idea is all the same idea, to record personal observations and thoughts about the world around you.


So Joy, to answer your question with the short answer, either method is still considered nature journaling whether you use a spiral bound sketch pad with watercolors, markers, or pencils or if you choose to use sheets of paper slipped into a 3-ring binder when you are finished. In our family, we do combinations of both recording in the nature journal and on paper.

Your children are still very young so you may wish to have them work on individual sheets of paper and slip them into sheet protectors when they are finished and store them in a binder. You may at a later date start them in their own spiral bound nature journal. Either way you can include many different types of mediums.

You can still watercolor and slip them into the binder. You can press flowers and slip those in too. If you come across a nature notebooking page you like you can fill those out and put those in the binder. The notebooking pages are nice for younger children because most of them include lines to write your notes on which is easier for younger writers. I have one son that likes the notebooking pages because he hates a blank page. If it is in a notebooking page format, he can easily think of things to fill it up.

I hope that clears things up a bit. I know there are a lot of choices and you will eventually come to the answer for your family about which one works the best. Nothing is set in stone either. You can start one way and change at any time. It depends a lot on how you are going to use the nature journals and how your children feel about recording in them. When my boys were little, we filled up lots of pages each year so they loved starting fresh each fall. Now we perhaps make an entry a week and we have slowed down considerably in the volume of notebooks.

Here is a slideshow of a few pages from my son’s nature journal from about age 5 to age 7.
Flickr Slideshow of Young Child’s Nature Journal

As you can see, he used a variety of methods for making his entry and it has made a unique keepsake of his observations. He has become more sophisticated as time goes on but the principle is still the same in that he chooses how to record his ideas and experiences.
Make nature journaling a pleasant experience. I know that many times for myself I end up not liking a page until it is all done. It has taken me many years to develop my own style of nature notebook. Want a glimpse into my nature journal? Here is a link:
Drawing in Your Nature Journal

And I always remind new families that the journal page is the icing on the cake. The most important part of nature study is the time spent outdoors together with your children. You are successful whether you end up with a page in your journal each week or not. :)

https://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2009/02/announcing-outdoor-hour-challenge-ebook.html

Garden Flower-Learning Our Parts Green Hour #13

We have so many garden flowers blooming right now that it is hard to pick one to draw for our nature journal….too many choices. Not a bad problem but still not enough time to do all that we want to.


Here is my son’s day lily drawing.

Here is my azalea drawing.

We have had fun looking closely at all the flower parts and deciding how each insect is attracted to each particular flower.

That was our formal nature study this week….we have spent parts of every afternoon in the garden watering, weeding, and putting in more seeds and seedlings. Now that the hot weather has hit, we will see them come to life. The sunflowers are growing so fast I think you could sit and watch them get taller.

We will be putting some flowers in the press this week and I will share a fun project that I found to do with them in my next Outdoor Hour post.

Here is an entry from challenge #12 that I wanted to share with you. I love this idea and I am going to be doing it in my garden over the weekend.
Chocolate on My Cranium’s Challenge #12 -Focus on Flowers
Make sure to scroll down to the photo with the kids and the wheelbarrow!

https://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2009/07/new-outdoor-hour-challenge-ebook-garden_27.html