Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Observations on Observation

The first step in A Private Eye Nature is Observe (see The Basic Steps) which is closely related to Attention, the first of Charlotte Mason's Habits of Mind.

It's hard to get my kids to stop and see the details.  We love looking at nature but I am usually the one pointing out the curious sights (though they did find the lovely pink lady slippers in the front yard.)

Using the loupe is a great tool to help train Attention.  Because you must look through such a small opening and focus on such a limited area you cannot help but pay attention to the details.  Vistas and landscapes are breathtakingly overwhelming especially for my attention-short boys; they are challenged even by a whole plant!

Looking is followed by drawing, both a part the Observe step.  Drawing demands attention if you are to end up creating something that looks anything like your specimen.  Looking and drawing are a natural pair of activities to fostering attention, and limiting the view increases your ability to be detailed.  I have been very pleased with how well my boys have improved in their nature drawing since we began this process.

I've included a macro-shot photo of a giant Cecropia silkworm wing my aunt found in her yard the other day.  The kids were excited to get their loupes out to look!


  1. Lovely macro shot of the moth wing!

  2. alas, boys and attention... the never ending struggle :)

    thanks for sharing with the CM blog carnival! it's a really fun one as it is SO full of good stuff!

    amy in peru