Recharge Your Sense of Wonder


I don’t know about you, but this time of year, it’s hard to get enthusiastic about nature study. And lately, I’m losing my own momentum in that area. So, when I started planning our Term 2 Morning Basket, I wanted to brainstorm a simple way to recharge wonder in this area! It had to be simple – I don’t have room for much else.


We’re using The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You by Clare Walker Leslie. You probably recognize her name from her other very popular and widely known book, Keeping A Nature Journal – inspiring in its own right.

No plans, no forms – just open, read a little section, and go. It’s simple and it has been perfect for recharging us! We’re looking again, wondering, and the kids are illustrating in their nature journals. The very first lesson is titled, Begin Where You Are, and encourages looking out a window – to make six nature observations. How perfect for days that need a simple infusion of wonder – a reminder to be in awe of God’s creation and notice the little things!


  • We enjoy a two-page spread each week. Each two-page spread focuses on one nature theme to inspire you to look anew.
  • Most of the spreads have a TRY THIS feature which prompts a simple invitation or exercise in noticing nature. Sometimes, I spread this out over two days, not because it’s lengthy or intensive, but because I’m really encouraging us to take time to notice and journal and I don’t want to rush.
  • I found one brief mention encouraging taking time to be in nature in which the author mentions that some might meditate as a way of being aware and in the present moment. I just skip that idea {and it may not bother some of you at all, but I wanted to mention it} – the basic idea is to spend a few minutes in nature.
  • The simple and short readings and TRY THIS ideas can be accomplished in as few as 15 minutes – so you can recharge your nature time very simply and with little time commitment. I have to be frugal with my time – this suits us well.
  • This has infused new enthusiasm in our flagging efforts at maintaining our nature journals.
  • I keep North American Wildlife nearby for its excellent illustrations and visuals so the children have a point of reference in an illustration as well as for identification needs. {There are several editions of this book – any edition is wonderful. We have the 1998 edition.} I haven’t found anything better for accurate and helpful illustrations, and often the brief summary is enough for us. It’s our go-to in field guides – it was on my Mom’s shelf for years while she homeschooled, and I’ve had a copy on my shelf for 20 years. It’s inexpensive and if you don’t have a copy, treat yourself.

This book has been a great fit for us in our Morning Basket time, so I thought I’d share it with you – in case you need a little recharging, too!

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  1. I’m adding this to my nature books list. I think it will suit us well as one of our nature study book choices over the next year. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I was looking at the North American Wildlife book you recommended and I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be helpful for those living in the desert 🙂 We are in the Sonoran Desert and sometimes I find that nature books don’t hit on the desert animals and plants. It doesn’t need to be all desert or anything like that, but wondered if desert areas were mentioned.

    Thanks so much,

    1. Hi Kerri!

      North American Wildlife is a pretty general book and as such, covers all of North America and the wildlife communities within – so yep, there are definitely several desert species in this book. This won’t be the be-all-end-all of desert field guides for you, just as it doesn’t have every species for us (in the southeast), but it’s a fantastic general guide and I love the accurate illustrations. Hope that helps!

  3. That book looks lovely, Jen! Always love her books. Have you read Drawn to Nature: Through the Journals? That one is a favorite of ours. It looks so lovely here as well. Love the new website, but, miss your glasses. Thought you looked cute in them 🙂 Are you planning to share your Morning Basket plans for this term? Would love to see them! OT…I wanted to thank you for sharing the AC Horizontal planner! I ordered one and *love* it much more than the vertical choice. I am actually using it alot, lol! Take care.

    1. Thanks, Ann-Marie. I do have Drawn to Nature — I probably have all of her books! They’re all inspiring to us in various seasons!

      I find it hilarious that you actually mentioned my glasses – LOL! – they’re still around. That’s just a temporary shot and I happened to not be wearing my glasses that day! LOL! I still wear my glasses most of the time and chances are, whatever picture I finally go with for my profile, I’ll be wearing glasses in it. 🙂

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the horizontal layout – I’m enjoying mine WAY more than I thought I would! I have really started hitting a stride with my planning in it!

      And yes – Morning Basket plans for Term 2 are coming! Hopefully Friday if I can get my act together! 🙂

  4. Hi Jen! I had to laugh when I read your book recommendation. We began term 2 with a need to energize our nature study time. Because it is deep winter here in Ontario I was looking for inspiration and actual nature notebook entries that were simple and could inspire. Drawn to Nature, also by Clare Walker Leslie, has been just what we needed to have us filling our nature notebooks with joy.

  5. Jen this post echoed my thoughts, sentiments and actions! We have felt exactly the same about our nature study and I was at a bit of a standstill on how to continue. About two weeks ago I pulled out my copy of Claire Lesley Walkers Keeping A Nature Journal and did exactly what you have done. I simple read it out to my girls, we took out our nature journals and went out into the garden. Each of us painted something that caught our attention. There was no lesson, no stressing about having to ‘see and observe’ a certain thing, just simple enjoying nature and enjoying our journaling time.

    I had no idea she had written The Curious Nature Guide, of course I have wasted no time in ordering it as I LOVE her Keeping A Nature Journal book so much. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Hi Jen,
    Thank you for sharing all that you do – it has helped guide our homeschooling for quite some time! I was looking at this book online, and saw another book by the same author: The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families and Classrooms. By chance are you familiar with it? I was debating between the two.

  7. I would love to know how you work in time for nature journal drawing. I tried scheduling it once a week but my children get in a rut of not knowing what to draw, especially within our own yard. We used to do great at taking photos of various bird species, plants while out places, etc., and then they would draw from the photos. But I have been out of the habit of taking photos and they are uninspired on their own…

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