Around the age of nine or ten, however, children become more visually aware of the world around them. They want their drawings to look realistic. During this phase they can become overly critical of their work if they can't make their drawing look "just right" in terms of detail and proportion. This is the stage where many children stop drawing. That's why nature journaling is such a powerful tool for helping children see the way an artist sees. It requires them to develop the observational skills needed to move out of the symbolic stage to drawing realistically.

The Process is More Important than the Product
One of the hardest concepts to teach children about journaling, whether writing or drawing, is that the process is more important that the product. For writing, the process is "thinking". For drawing, the process is "seeing". We live in a product-oriented society. We want quick, measurable results – that's how we know we're a success, but you can't expect a perfect drawing every time you nature journal, especially if you've never drawn realistically before. Drawing from life is a process that can only be developed over time – through practice.

Is this an area of study that you want God to bless? Then ask Him for growth. God loves to give His children gifts and bring them to fruition. If you and your children haven't had these skills in the past, it doesn't mean you can't have them in the future. By faith, make it a goal to learn, grow, and draw from nature alongside your children. It is never too late to learn how to draw and become God's naturalists.

Jill is an inspiring workshop and conference speaker, having a passion to help parents impart the God-given gifts of writing and drawing to each of their children. She and her husband Robert have been blessed with five children. Together they have producedThe Girlhood Home Companion and The Gift of Family Writing. You can visit her family's website at or e-mail them at:

Copyright, 2004. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. . Send comments to