Every Small Miracle-Charlotte Mason Education

walking on a sequoia

“Every small miracle that ceases to amaze us is like a new discovery to our children, as exciting as the discovery of gravity to Newton.”
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, volume 1, page 54

“…We have been seeing flowers for years–but our children haven’t. Flowers are still new and wonderful to them and it’s the fault of grown-ups if every new flower they see ceases to delight them.”
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, volume 1, page 53

I am sharing these quotes with you because they really have impacted how I treat learning with my own children. Often we need to be reminded of things and those reminders sometimes come as a breath of fresh air. My heart reads these ideas in Charlotte Mason’s writings and it encourages me to be a better mom and teacher.

Currently I am homeschooling my fourth child so that means this is the fourth time I have covered basically the same information in the 8th grade……four times. I could just be going through the motions at this point. Putting my feelings aside, I realize that this is the *first* time this particular son has been in the eighth grade and I need to try to be as up-beat about it as I can. It is all new to him.

Today we visited a friend and she has a guinea pig…a really big, hairy guinea pig. My boys have never seen one up close before and they were thrilled. I am not so thrilled with small furry things so I had to put on my “teacher” hat and think of ways to be as thrilled as they are. What is the point I am trying to make? Just that I could have easily been put off by this creature but instead I realized that my boys were excited to see something new so my job was to be encouraging and let them enjoy the experience.

roots of a sequoia
Ever climb through the roots of a fallen giant sequoia tree and out through the hollow center? My boys wanted to…so we did.

So much of what Charlotte Mason taught was about providing time and space for our children to learn new things….meaningful things from their real life. Our nature study is a window into the world for them and we miss out if we limit what we offer because we are worn-out or tired of looking at the same old things. Yes, a pine cone is just a pine cone to us but to our children it has a color, a shape, a texture, and a fragrance…all new and exciting.

Funny thing is that if we allow ourselves to experience these times with our children, we end up enjoying them too. Their enthusiasm rubs off on us and we see things through their eyes….just like it was new to us all over again. It doesn’t matter whether it is looking through a microscope at a leaf, planting a seed in the garden, knitting a scarf, making cookies, or laying down in the grass and looking at the sky. It is the everyday experiences that delight our children and we need to slow down and enjoy it with them. It makes us truly rich.

Try it and you will see,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Drawing With Children-Les 5 Chalk Pastels

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

Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes talks about chalk pastels in chapter five. She suggests that you try these after conte crayons so here are my ideas for adapting this lesson for your nature journal.


The good news is that although these are just as messy as the conte crayons, your children will probably enjoy them more. They are colorful and you get lots of bright bold colors on your page. They are not as smooth on the page as an oil pastel but they give you more color than a watercolor pencil.
chalk pastels 1
We have always enjoyed the way you can overlap the colors and you can see them blend on your page but they will break if you apply too much pressure.

You will need good paper, a kneaded eraser, and a fixative in order to use these in your nature drawings. I am still not convinced I would use them directly into my nature journal or carry chalk pastels in my backpack but if you are around the house and can use them on separate sheets of paper and then insert them into your journal, they are a nice change from colored pencils.
chalk pastel leaf

You can see how the leaf looks great but there is a mess on the page and the pastels broke when I was using them. You can still use them even when they get quite small though so just be prepared that your nice new box of pastels will soon be broken and messy.

 

How about a couple of videos that I made to get some additional ideas?

Chalk Pastel Video #1

Chalk Pastel Video #2

pastels pencils
I also tried the Pastels Pencils (Conte brand) and they were a little easier to use than the crayon sticks. They still have the same texture so they were a little scratchy on the paper and still made a little mess. If I had to choose, I would use the pencils but not in my nature notebook. The pencils were much easier to control and you could sharpen them to a point to get a nice sharp line.

chalk pastels fixative

 

 

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 this Lesson

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

Drawing With Children: Les 5 Conte Crayons

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

Drawing With Children Lesson 5 begins our exploration of a variety of art mediums.

See the rest of the lessons linked at the bottom of this post.

 

Now we are getting down to the real meat of this book. The basics have been covered and now we are given some instruction and direction on what to try after we have tired of markers.
conte crayons
The first medium mentioned is Conte Crayon.…this I admit is not my favorite way to draw. It is messy and I don’t have much control. I have done some work with the conte crayons and to me, they are as messy as charcoal. You smudge and smear and then when you are finished, the end product, even if you have used a fixative, needs to be stored carefully or they make a big mess. Now I know there must be artists that enjoy these crayons but I gave them a try and I have moved on.
kneaded eraser
If you use the kneaded eraser that they suggest, you will want to keep it for using exclusively with the conte crayons otherwise you will make a smudgy mess on your next pencil project…..yes, I am speaking from experience.

I would not use these crayons with little ones. They break easily and they will probably not like the results. I would save these for at least middle school age children, if not high school….or better yet, college. 🙂
cat gesture drawing
Gesture drawing of my cat done with conte crayon

I would not recommend conte crayons for your nature journal. About the only thing I like to use conte crayons or charcoal for is to make “gesture drawings“. Drawing with Children talks a little bit about gesture drawing on pages 180-181. Basically it means a quick kind of drawing that you look quickly back and forth between the model and your drawing.

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 the Lesson Above

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

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