In education and parenting you often hear the phrase, “teachable moments.” Often, it’s in response to some sort of event or particular behavior, but sometimes, at least here, a teachable moment crops up when you have an unexpected visitor.
Just yesterday I purchased two little sketchbooks for less than $2 a piece and told E. and M. that these were to be their nature journals. I hadn’t quite decided how they were going to be used, but then today E. came rushing into the house to tell me she had found a strange bug on one of her shoes that she’d left outside. When I came out to look at it I thought it looked pretty cool, too, but had no idea as to what it was. It seemed like a great chance to make use of the new nature journals.
I wasn’t going to make E. use it, but when I suggested she take down some observations, she was right on top of it. She even asked me to give her some questions to answer, so I pulled out the blackboard and jotted a few down. I’m always shocked when she is so keen to do work like this, because I know it’s quite similar to things she does at school, but will tell me over and over how much she hates it. To me, it really just confirms that she is a natural student, but it needs to be through an avenue that truly interests her.
M. made brief attempts to copy his sister, but then wandered off with his journal to draw pictures of aliens. While I’ve told the children that these notebooks are specifically for nature journals, I’m not going to force them to use them, and in M.’s case, if he ends up drawing pictures of aliens, then I’m not going to stop him.
I am eager to see what these little books get filled up with over the course of the summer!