Friday, March 12, 2021

Learning through Journaling - A Homeschool Science Study on Trees

 We have used Apologia science curriculum for 7 years now and absolutely love it. However, a few years into our homeschooling journey we ditched the notebooks and started journaling. Please know that just because this is what is working for us, it does not make this method better or right for everyone. If you are new to homeschooling like we were 7 years ago, you may need the structure of the notebooks. You may want to do the notebooks and a nature journal. That was simply too much for me to us to keep up with and I found that less structure leads our crew to more learning. Or perhaps you use a different science textbook. The concept of journaling can be applied to other curriculums and even other subjects. So, here is what that looks like in our homeschool. This year we are studying botany, which included a study on trees.



Our kids are awesome at identifying trees by their leaves. They have done leaf rubbings in their nature journal since 2015 when were roadschooling and started keeping nature journals. And while they have certainly noticed different types of barks on our nature hikes, we had never formally discussed identifying trees by their barks, which since we are in the middle of winter can be quite useful.



They did several bark rubbings, taped them into their nature journals, and labelled the trees. 



We keep science vocabulary and definitions in our journals, so they drew a cutout of a tree and labelled the layers.



Did you know that you can measure tree growth not only by its rings, but also by measuring the distance between the terminal bud scars? We did not know that before reading it in Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany. We headed to the yard and measured some trees. All experiments and activities are recorded in the journals. This time we chose to graph the growth.



When it was clear that the trees grew the most in 2018, we headed to the internet to do some research to find out what happened in 2018. It turns out it was one of the wettest years on record!



When we read about phototropism, we went on a nature hike to try to look for examples. Guess where we drew the examples we found? That's right! In our journals!



I then had our little learners brainstorm some ideas about what happened to the tree that caused it grow like that. I like to tie in life lessons whenever possible, so we discussed how resilient God made trees. Sometimes when we are trying things one way and it's not working, we just need to find another way. They wrote a creative story from a trees perspective about the day another tree fell on top of it.



We also read about the great sequoia trees. Our oldest remembered that I had been there years ago and wanted to look through my scrapbook of the trip. They were fascinated, so I kept that learning spark going and we headed to YouTube to watch more videos on the giant sequoias and even found a drawing video for their journals. 

We tie in other books with the little ones. After reading The Giving Tree they journaled some of the ways trees benefit us.

The children have a journal for every year of science and love looking back through them; reliving their learning adventures again.

We'd love for you to follow us on our homeschool journey on Instagram. Check out the homeschool tab for more learning fun.

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