Too much have we emphasized drawing as an art; it may be an art, if the one who draws is an artist; but if he is not an artist, he still has a right to draw if it pleases him to do so. We might as well declare that a child should not speak unless he put his words into poetry, as to declare that he should not draw because his drawings are not artistic.” — Anna Botsford Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study
Yesterday, we went to our favorite nature study place, wondering if it might be under water since we’re in an area of the south that has received massive amounts of rain over the last two weeks and has experienced some pretty extensive flooding. Fortunately, the gates weren’t locked, but my friendly, helpful visitor’s center lady advised us not to attempt to walk the trails.
Since I didn’t want to give up our nature study time altogether, I decided that we’d sit in the rocking chairs on the front porch of the visitor’s center and see what we could observe from there. Since the Week 3 Challenge has to do with sketching and we always see lots of interesting things when we’re around the visitor’s center, I thought this was a very viable solution.
Though Megan complained and was ready to leave as soon as she found out we weren’t walking the trails, sitting on the porch proved to be a workable solution for everyone else. I was amazed at how much we saw from that one vantage point.
The first thing we saw was something that I’ve seen on rare occasions, but I had to look it up when we got home to be sure of exactly what it was called:
We were also thrilled to sit right in front of the hummingbird feeders and observe them. They’re such fascinating creatures. I think that the thing that I always find so interesting about them is how short and stubby their tails are once they get still enough for you to actually see their tails.
It’s also funny to me how territorial they are. They’re a lot like my kids sometimes — No, I’m not currently eating out of that feeder, but you can’t have it! It’s mine! I was here first!
Another favorite was the little blue-tailed lizard that came scurrying by. I had my camera out trying to catch the hummingbirds in action, or I never would have been quick enough for this guy:
We also saw a couple of beautiful butterflies, tons of bumble bees (one sat right beside me on the arm of the rocking chair, but flew away before I could get a picture), and some mockingbirds.
I was very reassured by the quoted passage above, which was part of the reading for this week’s nature study challenge. Despite how kind many of you have been with your comments, I still don’t feel that I’m very artistic (though I have seen some improvements as I’ve begun applying some of the things I’ve been learning with our art lessons). It’s nice, though, to be reassured by Anna Comstock’s words that I still have the right to draw, if it pleases me to do so. And, it does please me. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and creating.
So, with that, I share some of our sketch pages from today. First is mine:
Next is Brianna’s, who really is artistic:
And, finally, Megan, who had to be encouraged to draw something living because really she only wanted to draw the mosaic bench at the visitor’s center (photo below her sketch):
Josh wasn’t too enthusiastic about drawing today, so I didn’t push it. I want all aspects of our nature study time to be something the kids enjoy, not just another “school subject” that I’m making them do. He did find a really nice bird feather that he saved and he enjoyed collecting a handful of interesting, colorful rocks to study while we were at the nature center, returning them before we left.
The final piece of our nature study today surprised us today when we arrived at my sister’s house for dinner…more crazy-looking mushrooms to add to our photo journal collection:
What about you? Have you and your kids been enjoying any time outdoors together?
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.