Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Nature Study #170: The Strawberry

Whenever we are going to be outside, I pack a bag with all the necessities... snacks, a cloth to sit on, pencils and paper and The Handbook of Nature Study. We went to the strawberry patch today and I was ready for nature study. I sat on the cloth and looked over the section on The Strawberry (pp. 608-611) in the HNS... and when I was finished, began sketching a strawberry plant while the kids picked berries.
When the first child was done with picking berries, I let him watch me for a moment and then I began playing the how-well-did-you-notice game.
"Did you notice how the leaves of the strawberry plant are arranged?" "Did you notice how the blossoms look? How many petals are there? Did you notice any insects on the blossoms?" When he tires of this game, I offer him paper and a pencil. He begins to sketch.
More children finish picking and begin eating their snack, and I ask more questions all around, varying the difficulty depending on their age.
"What part of the blossom falls away and what part remains when the strawberry begins to form? Are the fruits all of the same shape and color? What are the specks on its surface?"
Some draw the plant, inspired by the questions. For the younger ones or those reluctant to draw, I suggest that they put the leaves down on the paper and trace them and then fill in the rib lines afterwards. Some draw about the experience of being there. That is okay, too.
"... (the) spirit in which the notes (and sketches) are made is more important than the information they cover."
-Anna Comstock, The Handbook of Nature Study, p.13.

(More photos of our day at the Strawberry Patch are here.)


  1. Lovely entry for strawberries. I think your journals are wonderful. :)

    We have been enjoying our strawberries already too...nothing like a fresh picked berry!

    Thanks for sharing your entry. Could you submit it to the OHC blog carnival? http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_9182.html

  2. Sure! I have never submitting anything to a Carnival before. I hope I did it rigt! :)

  3. Yep, everything looks perfect. Thank you for taking the time to do that!


  4. I love this study! And, yes, the journal entries are wonderful. Love how you shared that you "asked questions all around, varying the difficulty with age level." Do you have strawberries in your freezer? :)

  5. Wonderful nature study! :)

  6. Great post!
    Now we go on a lot of nature walks and bring a ton of field guides, but I have never braved the hefty HNS! That's impressive! I tend to check it out when we get back home, but that was wonderful to have it there to refer to. Good for you.
    Loved your "How well did you notice" game. Excellent observations skills in the making. Wish you could join our group!

  7. Tricia-No, I am afraid that all that were not used fresh went into jam. Sunshine for winter days.
    Kristine-I bring the HNS when I know that I will be sitting awhile while they are doing some activity. That way I can refresh my memory on a section. If I plan to be on the go more, I won't bring it. The game aspect makes it more fun than if they thought I was just asking them questions for school. I have to vary the difficulty because I have such a wide age range -from 6 to 18!
    Thank you all for your kind words. It is very encouraging.


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