A 10 Year Old’s Nature Notebook & maybe a rare find…


We’ve been going through our weekly Insect Study which happens most weeks regardless of whatever else we do or find in the nature department. This has been our special focus for a while and generally takes the form of me reading aloud from First Studies in Insect Life in Australasia by William Gillies (an old black & white book, ca 1920) while Benj & Moozle draw in their nature notebooks.

We’ve progressed from beetles to scale wing insects, and I’ve been reading from this lovely book below by Australian naturalist Densey Clyne, alongside Gillies’ book, as it has wonderful photography.




Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey: –with leaps and spring
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.
William Wordsworth

What Bug is That? A guide to Australian insect families.

An interesting aspect of studying insects & other creepy crawlies: Medical entomology. Check out the tick section. They are scientifically classified as Acarina,  have eight legs so are not actually insects (which I didn’t realise before) and belong to the same Order as mites. Early this year our cat had a Paralysis tick and we found him under a bush in the garden. We coaxed him out and noticed his back legs were partially paralysed so it was off to the vet for some antiserum. One of the boys tries to do a regular tick search – problematic at times if the cat’s in one of his feral moods – to make sure we catch anything before it burrows in & starts trouble.


Like mother, like daughter…one of my notebook pages…

Moozle’s notebook page…

Moozle has been ‘experimenting’ with making perfume & dyes with flowers from the garden. Estee Lauder & Lush started their beauty products in the kitchen…

Hibbertia (Guinea flower)

Maybe a rare find, Epacris purpurascens (Port Jackson Heath) flowering in late July


12 thoughts on “A 10 Year Old’s Nature Notebook & maybe a rare find…

  1. Thanks for sharing, Carol! I loved seeing your notebook as well. What a beautiful page of pressed flowers and handwritten verses 🙂 Y'all are doing a wonderful job!!! I hope my kids and I continue to gain some traction and press forward with ours like you all have.


  2. Thanks, Kristyn. It's helped my youngest to see me keeping my journal. Sometimes my children have been less than enthusiastic about this & a few times I've let them slide in their regularity because I was discouraged that they weren't enthusiastic but I've learnt that if I keep it as a weekly requirement it does become a habit & is so much easier than stopping & starting.


  3. Hi Carol, What a lovely find! My field guide to native plants in Sydney says it is uncommon and it is on the threatened species list1What a privilege to see it in flower!M


  4. Lovely, as always. Besides the beautiful drawings, the bit I was particularly struck by was your description of your nature reading, how you go through a topical book a bit a week? I really like that idea. I have been wanting to include in our studies a book or two on pond life (we have been visiting a pond almost weekly for a year now), but I didn't know how to schedule it in… I think maybe we'll just do as you mentioned: I'll read a bit each week while the kids do their usual nature journal work. Thank you for the idea.


  5. I used to do this when I was teaching more children but got out of the habit. I started again this year and it's been working really well. I think they're more focussed this way & spend more time on their drawings. The only problem is that I'm itching to start doing something on fungi as there's a lot around at present but I'd also like to finish the insect study…


  6. We'll be starting our nature journals next week, and it's our first time! I'm a little nervous, but yours are so lovely. I'll try to keep my expectations lower though, I'm sure we'll have to work up to the lovely pages. Any hints for a newbie like me?


  7. I think having in the back of your mind the idea that you want to nurture wonder & curiosity about the natural world in your children keeps things in perspective. The nature notebook is just a part of that and like everything else – writing, spelling etc they develop in the regular doing of it. I slot it into our flexible weekly schedule as I do with subjects such as dictation & mapwork. We had a few disasters when they used watercolours at first so they used a separate sheet of paper & pasted it in their notebooks later. I taught them a few drawing techniques such as cross hatching & at different times we've used The Drawing Textbook by Bruce McIntyre or Mark Kistler's Draw Squad (better for younger ones) to help with drawing skills. Have fun & I look forward to seeing some pages posted on your blog!


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