If you have children who are middle school aged or older, the best way to use these videos is simply to sit with your children and watch them together with sketchbooks in hand. Not only will they learn so much about sketching wildlife, but they will love Jack’s (John Muir Laws’) approach to teaching as well as his charisma.
If your children are elementary aged and younger, as mine are, I would watch the videos yourself and practice his techniques. You will be surprised by how enriching of an experience this will be that will change the way you look at everything around you. After practicing his technique, sit with your children and step by step teach them how to draw a bird. To practice, I often print a picture of a bird native to my region, possibly one that we have recently spotted. Then I point out what I am about to sketch on the picture and then sketch it on my paper. For example, I will point to the oval of the birds body and trace my pencil around the oval on the picture, and then sketch the oval on my paper. Then I do the same with the head and the rest of the body, all the while following Jack’s technique and order that I learned from his videos.
I cannot express how much you can learn and teach your children from these video tutorials. In addition, I can only try to convey how enriching of an experience it is to learn about wildlife through sketching it. Your children, as well as yourself, will bond with your subjects in a way that will impact your connection with nature for life. Not only that, but this process teaches children focus, attention to detail, empathy, patience, and a love of natural beauty. All qualities most of us would hope to instill and help develop in our children.
In addition to these videos, Jack has wonderful nature journaling and sketching books that will do wonders for your technique. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to purchase his books.
I must add one thing. Most of us that homeschool devote every waking moment to our children. Though I cannot imagine experiencing this journey of motherhood any other way, I do cherish those aspects of homeschooling that nourish me as an individual human being as well. It is truly a blessing as homeschooling mothers to have the opportunity to take part in something that nourishes and supports our well being. Nothing revitalizes me like our time in nature, and when we are home, one way to bring nature indoors is to spend time sketching it, imprinting it in our minds and on our hearts. This can be a wonderful, nourishing, and relaxing experience for you, the parent, as well as an enriching experience for your children.