The Pleasures of Winter-Charlotte Mason When it is Cold

pleasures-of-winter-harmonyfinearts

“When there’s frost or snow on the ground, children have fun sliding, throwing snowballs and building from snow. But even when the snow is slushy and dirty, or the sky is gray, they should have interesting things to do outside so that their hearts are cheerful even when the day is cold and dreary.”
Charlotte Mason (in modern English) volume 1 page 85

Updated January 2018


Okay, so we don’t have 2 to 3 hours of outdoor time as suggested by Charlotte Mason in the winter. But with a little perseverance, we can provide *some* time outdoors each day or week.
winter gear and snowball
It snowed here yesterday and I was thinking as my boys pulled on their snow gear that it really is essential to have the proper clothing available for our children to enjoy being outdoors in the bitter cold. Boots with thick socks, waterproof gloves, woolen hats, coats and even snow pants may be necessary for them to really get the most out of being outdoors. If they get cold, they will want to come right back in.
snowman
If they are properly dressed, they may still need some direction as they head outside. I try to just be available during our outdoor time. I don’t necessarily do much to entertain the boys but I am always hovering around taking photos, puttering in the garden cleaning up, sweeping the steps, filling the birdfeeders, collecting interesting things to bring into the house for our nature corner, or just sitting and looking at the sky or the trees or whatever.
clearning snow
Giving them tasks to do will help if they seem to be aimlessly wandering around the yard. In the winter it can be something like gathering twigs and fallen branches from off the lawn to put in the compost pile or I have them put out different things for the birds to eat like peanuts or seeds and that always turns into a period of time to observe how long it takes the birds to find the treats.

I don’t want you to think that we have extended time each day outdoors because that wouldn’t be the truth. Some days it as much as we can do to go out and walk to the mailbox and back. But, every week we make an effort to be outdoors and be looking at things that we can find even in the winter cold. Every month we take a whole school day to devote to nature study. At first I was hesitate to take a whole day off just for nature study but in the grand scheme of things it has been a positive and important decision even with my boys who are older at ages 12 and 14. They need time to connect and enjoy nature.

Just a side note: Last week I was walking around at a ski resort and I saw a young mother with her little baby all snuggled down in a front pack. She had the baby in a snowsuit, in the pack, and an extra blanket draped over her shoulder. The baby had his little nose and eyes poking out from under the blanket and they were very happy eyes. I thought to myself that this was the answer for those with really little ones that want to spend time outdoors in the freezing temperatures. A few minutes snuggled with mom out in the fresh air can only help with everyone’s moods and dispositions.

So have I encouraged you? Have I shown you that this is something you can plan for even if you have to exchange one math period for one nature walk? It is worth the effort. Don’t forget when you come in all frosty cold, it is *cocoa* time!!
winter gear and hot cooca
It is okay if that is the best part for you…..just don’t let your kids know!

 

Handbook of Nature Study Logo
If you would like some more inspiration for your time outside this winter, please see my Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Click over to see nature study ideas all organized by topic and season. Use the tabs at the top of the blog to navigate the many ideas I have shared over the last decade.

If you are interested in an Ultimate Naturalist Library Membership, you can use the discount code NATURE5 to get $5 off a membership.

Winter Ebook Cover

Here is one of the winter ebooks that you can find in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. You can download a sample here: Winter Nature Study ebook sample.

 

Drawing With Children: Les 5 Colored Pencils

drawing-with-children-nature-journal-style-harmonyfinearts

Using Colored Pencils in Your Nature Journal
Drawing With Children – Lesson 5 Colored Pencils

Have I told you how much I love colored pencils? Until I started buying good quality colored pencils, I didn’t realize their potential for making a really good drawing. Colored pencils come in different hardnesses just like drawing pencils. Harder pencils are more difficult to get a lot of color from and they don’t blend very well. I prefer to use a softer lead. I know most of us start off with colored pencils from Crayola or some other popular reasonably priced company and that is okay. Just remember when you are moving up in the school years that your children might be ready to handle and get better results from a better quality colored pencil.

My favorite brand of colored pencils for older students is Prismacolor. I know these pencils are a little pricey but you can find smaller sets at art supply stores or places like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I always use a 50% off coupon when I am purchasing them at Michael’s. I also found them locally at the college bookstore and they had them at a *serious* discount. You just need to plan ahead and keep alert to sales.

So how do I use colored pencils in my nature journal? I try to carry a set with me when I have room in my backpack. I remove them from the cardboard container and put them in a more sturdy plastic tub.

I also have a tin filled with watercolor colored pencils from Prismacolor. If you are going to splurge on an art supply for yourself, these are worth the price. You use them just like regular colored pencils but then you can use a brush and water to make the drawing into a painting.

To begin a sketch in your nature journal using colored pencils, I suggest first sketching the scene or item out with your favorite drawing pencil and then you can go back and use your colored pencils.

Some examples:
P3200024
I sketched this out lightly with a drawing pencil first and then went back to add some color.
P3200026
This sketch was done by my son after watching the goldfinches at our birdfeeder. He sketched the bird using a field guide and pencil. Then he went back and added the color to the sketch for his nature notebook.

Now, how about a video tutorial? I made two videos, one that shows the differences between the colored pencils and one that shows how to use the watercolor colored pencils. Enjoy.

There really is no mystery to using colored pencils. They don’t make a mess. They are easily transported. They give great results.

Here are the rest of the Lessons:

Lesson 1 – Getting Started

Lesson 2 – Drawing from Graphics

Lesson 3 – Still Life

Lesson 4 – Volume Drawing

Lesson 5 – Conte Crayons

Lesson 5 – Chalk Pastels

Lesson 5 – Drawing Pencils

Lesson 5 – Colored Pencils

Lesson 5 – Oil Pastels

Lesson 5 – Watercolors

Click to each lesson for adaptations, suggestions, and videos.

free-download-drawing-with-children-nature-journal-style-harmonyfinearts

You can download all the Drawing With Children – Nature Journal Style Lesson Plans here: Drawing with Children Lesson 1 – Getting Started.

 

Cover Grade 4

Please note that Drawing With Children is part of the Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 Curriculum. You can click over to read more about this art and music appreciation plan here:

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Explanation

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Sample

The plans in Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 relate the lessons to a study of great art and artists. Please see page 9 in the sample linked above to get an idea how I do this in the plans.

Supplies Needed for All the Lessons Listed Above

Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to products I own and recommend.


Drawing With Children: Les 5 Drawing Pencils

drawing-with-children-nature-journal-style-harmonyfinearts

 

Drawing with Children chapter 5 gives a list of art supplies to try and in this entry I am going to help you through choosing pencils to use in your nature journal.

Pencils are easy to find and easy to use. They are small enough to fit in any backpack along with a nature journal. I always carry drawing pencils with me when we take our hikes and they are the “staple” of my nature drawing kit.

I have two ways of carrying them. If I am carrying my big backpack and have room to fit it in, I carry my Art Bin filled with various kinds of drawing pencils, a good metal sharpener, a few erasers, and a drawing tortillion.

If I am traveling light, I put a few pencils, my black ink pen, and a few old crayons in a Ziploc bag and carry them that way. Don’t laugh, it works.

Here is a photo of what I am describing. I actually pulled these out of my backpack so they are just as if I were ready to take off for a hike. I must admit that I rarely just take along pencils. I almost always end up throwing in some colored pencils or watercolor pencils. I couldn’t find a single example from my nature journal where I only used a drawing pencil. I use them to sketch things out roughly on the page and then put on a little color.
art bin and ziploc
So what kind of pencils do you want to try? Most homeschoolers have a ready supply of the good old stand-by #2 pencils. This will do fine to start but for a variety of line you might want to try a different pencil that is harder or softer than the #2.

Mona Brookes suggests:
one #H (hard lead gives lighter line)
one #2B (the “B” is the softness)
one #5B or #6B
She also recommends starting a sketch with the #H, adding in some shading and detail with the #2B, and then going back and putting on the darkest shadings with the #5B or #6B.

Personally, I love to use the #4B and the #6B. When I am really into a sketch, I love to really make the darks dark and it is much easier to do with the #6B. If you really want to splurge, try a woodless pencil…it feels so good in your hand.

Pencils are relatively inexpensive so you can pick up a variety and add them into your art box. If you are on a budget and want to work on your drawing skills, then try just using pencil and eraser and you can get beautiful results. I have added a few of my own drawings to this blog post to give you some encouragement in using a variety of pencils in your nature journal as well as in your daily sketching.

drawing-with-children-nature-journal-style-harmonyfinearts

Here are the rest of the Lessons:

Lesson 1 – Getting Started

Lesson 2 – Drawing from Graphics

Lesson 3 – Still Life

Lesson 4 – Volume Drawing

Lesson 5 – Conte Crayons

Lesson 5 – Chalk Pastels

Lesson 5 – Drawing Pencils

Lesson 5 – Colored Pencils

Lesson 5 – Oil Pastels

Lesson 5 – Watercolors

Click to each lesson for adaptations, suggestions, and videos.

free-download-drawing-with-children-nature-journal-style-harmonyfinearts

You can download all the Drawing With Children – Nature Journal Style Lesson Plans here: Drawing with Children Lesson 1 – Getting Started.

 

Cover Grade 4

Please note that Drawing With Children is part of the Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 Curriculum. You can click over to read more about this art and music appreciation plan here:

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Explanation

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Sample

The plans in Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 relate the lessons to a study of great art and artists. Please see page 9 in the sample linked above to get an idea how I do this in the plans.

Supplies Needed for the Lesson Above

Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to products I own and recommend.


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