Since finding the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling a couple years ago I have been slowly learning and implementing more of it in our lives. One thing that I love about the method is that it pushes me as the mother and teacher to continue to learn and grow myself! There is something in Charlotte Mason homeschooling called Mother Culture which means that mothers need to take the time to grow their own minds. A quote from the original article says:
Is there not some need for ‘mother culture’? But how is the state of things to be altered? So many mothers say, ‘I simply have no time for myself!’ ‘I never read a book!’ Or else, ‘I don’t think it is right to think of myself!’ They not only starve their minds, but they do it deliberately, and with a sense of self-sacrifice which seems to supply ample justification.
Volume III, no. 2 The Parents’ Review
I am learning to make a habit of reading good books, learning all I can, and doing things that refresh and enlarge my mind so that I am able to be a better person, wife, mother, and teacher.
The wisest woman I ever knew–the best wife, the best mother, the best mistress, the best friend–told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much, ‘I always keep three books going–a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for!’ That is the secret; always have something ‘going’ to grow by.
To read the whole article click here.
One aspect of this that I especially enjoy is learning more about the God’s creation around me through nature studies and nature journaling. I have not always been consistent with it but this year I have been doing better. I have made it a point to keep my journal, paints and brushes in a bag that is easy to grab as we are heading out the door. I brought it camping and hiking several times this year! It is so fun to look back on the entries I made on the various trips and remember them! I am also trying to do a better job at identifying and labeling my entries and therefore learning more about what I am painting. As you can see from the following pictures I have not always been diligent in this area. This fall we have been especially focusing on trees, so that is what I have mostly been painting.
An added benefit to doing this for myself is that it seems to be the best way to inspire the children to want to dork on their own nature journals!
A little note on the supplies I use for my nature journaling:
I like my journal to be lightweight, softcover, and not to big so that it is easy to pack and carry around. For that I have been using the Fabriano EcoQua staplebound notebook. The pages are a little thin and will wrinkle if I use too much water, but I try to use a drier brush anyway and a few wrinkles don’t bother me.
For paints I am using a cheap set that has 24 colors because I don’t like spending a lot of money! I know there are better sets available, but these are working fine to get me started. Maybe next time I will upgrade.
I discovered these brushes that can be filled with water, which are very convenient for painting outdoors.