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The Ultimate Guide of Fun Apple and Pumpkin Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

5 Apple Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

All things apple – what a fun, fall topic to learn about!

“The apple is a nutritious fruit, wholesome and easily digested. The varieties of apple differ in shape, size, color, texture, and flavor. A perfect apple has no bruise upon it and no wormholes in it. “

Handbook of Nature Study, page 669
  • Compare the outside of the apples: color, size, stems, blemishes.
  • Compare the skins: thickness, texture.
  • Compare cut apples: core size, seeds, shape, flavor, crispness
  • Visit an apple farm and view apples on trees (and sample doughnuts and apple pies!)
  • Have a picnic under an apple tree!
visit an apple orchard for your homeschool nature study

For even more ideas plus a FULL Outdoor Hour Challenge on apples, join Homeschool Nature Study membership!

More Apple Nature Study Fun

Here are a few more fun apple study ideas!

visit a pumpkin farm for your homeschool nature study!

5 Pumpkin Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

Get started with your pumpkin nature study with these simple ideas:

  • Sketch or describe the pumpkin leaf.
  • Thump your pumpkin and describe the sound.
  • Observe the creases on the outside of the pumpkin.
  • Can you tell which way your pumpkin sat on the ground when it was growing?
  • Cut your pumpkin open and view the seeds. Sketch the arrangement in your journal.
Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool. Perfect for all ages.

More Pumpkin Nature Studies Perfect for Homeschool

For 10 more ideas plus a FULL Outdoor Hour Challenge on Pumpkins, a Pumpkin Farm Notebook page and more, join Homeschool Nature Study membership!

Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool. Perfect for all ages.

Favorite Pumpkin Recipes to Enjoy

Handbook of Nature Study website founder Barb McCoy shares these favorites!

Tricia’s Easy Pumpkin Recipes:

When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

More Fall Homeschool Nature Study Fun!

Keep the apple and pumpkin nature study fun going with these resources for all ages:

Tricia and her family fell in love with the Handbook of Nature Study and the accompanying Outdoor Hour Challenges early in their homeschooling. The simplicity and ease of the weekly outdoor hour challenges brought joy to their homeschool and opened their eyes to the world right out their own back door! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at You ARE an ARTiST and Your Best Homeschool plus her favorite curricula at The Curriculum Choice.

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Homeschool Fall Leaf Study And Activities (perfect for all ages)

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf study in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Celebrate The First Day of Fall

Here is a fun idea for the first day of fall and your fall leaf tour!

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Homeschool Fall Leaf Study And Activities

This study is designed to be completed with what you have around you. As the leaves turn, head outside, notice fall colors and collect some different colored leaves.

Compare Leaves from Two Different Trees

  • Leaf shape and leaf margins.
  • Leaf arrangement on the stem.
  • Leaf color, texture, and size. (You can measure if you wish.)
  • Come back in from your walk and follow up with a journal page.

Take a Fall Color Walk For Your Nature Study

To continue your fall leaf tour, take a fall color walk! We also start to take more hikes now that the afternoons are a bit cooler. We have our favorite trails and try to get outside every day to see what we can find of interest.

Read in the Handbook of Nature Study page 14, “The Field Excursion”. The reason I want you to read this section is so you have a better understanding of how to prepare you children for a short outdoor excursion with a purpose. Let them know ahead of time the reason you are going outdoors, have them gather their supplies, and then make the excursion outside to look for fall colors.

With our Printable Autumn Series Field Notebook included in membership, you can enjoy these studies and journal pages:

  • Seasonal tree study
  • Goldenrod
  • Oaks & acorns
  • Fall bird study
  • Squirrels
  • Mushrooms
  • Pumpkins
  • Field Notebook List

Fall Color Challenge Activity: Match Leaf Color to Your Art Supplies

A more detailed advanced study for upper level students is included in membership. Here is a peek at what you can enjoy as you continue your fall leaf tour.

Collect a variety of colorful leaves and bring them inside. Have fun matching the colors of the leaves to your colored pencils, chalk pastels, crayons or other art supplies. You might want to sketch your leaves in your nature journal.

Watercolor pencils on the left and regular colored pencils on the right.

Fall Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

Track Weather in Your Homeschool

Autumn seems to be a season that many of us look forward to and in my part of the world we welcome the cooler temperatures and the crisp morning air. We begin to see a few days of wet weather and one activity that seems to make its way into my nature journal is to keep track of that cooler wet weather.

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Simple Fall Homeschool Nature Study Ideas with Apples, Pumpkins and Pears

Our Homeschool Nature Study members enjoy these wonderful challenges!

  • Apple Challenge – Simple nature study featuring apples and the Handbook of Nature Study.
  • Pumpkins – Study your pumpkins and then eat them too!
  • Pear Challenge – Yummy nature study featuring pears and the Handbook of Nature Study with advanced study options too.
To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Autumn Series with the Handbook of Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum

There are so many fall favorites for you to explore over the next months!

Members also enjoy access to:

  • NEW, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!
  • the annual nature study plans
  • matching courses with materials and journaling pages
  • interactive calendar with daily nature study prompts
  • Nature Journaling course
  • and MUCH more!

More Fall Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Tricia and her family fell in love with the Handbook of Nature Study and the accompanying Outdoor Hour Challenges early in their homeschooling. The simplicity and ease of the weekly outdoor hour challenges brought joy to their homeschool and opened their eyes to the world right out their own back door! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at You ARE an ARTiST and Your Best Homeschool plus her favorite curricula at The Curriculum Choice.

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The Joy of Nature Study For Your Homeschool Year

We are excited to announce several fun resources that will make is easy for you to add the joy of nature study for your homeschool year!

“Make this a time to learn a little something new about your world. Finding time for these challenges will help this season be one that your child will not only learn something new but make special memories for a lifetime.” – Barbara McCoy (founder of The Outdoor Hour Challenges)

We are excited to announce several fun resources that will make is easy for you to add the joy of nature study for your homeschool year!

When Barbara McCoy retired, I knew that these gentle nature studies needed to still be available to homeschool famillies like mine.

These are the very nature studies my children and I started homeschooling with. To us, they are deliberate delight!

I shared a short introductory video, below:

That is why we are now offering Homeschool Nature Study and your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess, Shirley Vels, has joined us!

Homeschool nature study annual plan. We are excited to announce several fun resources that will make is easy for you to add the joy of nature study for your homeschool year!

Outdoor Hour Challenges Schedule of Nature Study

The plan for the coming year is now available to members! In the photo above, you can see a preview of the courses and homeschool nature study curriculum we look forward to using! These plans were prepared by Shirley Vels, your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess!

Shirley and I are always planning something new for you! The new plans for the homeschool year are available each July so that members will know the topics ahead of time and can plan even more fun learning.

We even have some new series coming soon!

Autumn Handbook of Nature Study outdoor hour homeschool curriculum

NEW Autumn Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum

The new Autumn Outdoor Hour Challenge homeschool curriculum is available to members. It is also now available for purchase in our nature study store.

The Outdoor Hour Mom - nature study with Homeschool Nature Study series

New Outdoor Mom Series

Because nature study is for parents too, we have a new series starting in membership. These simple prompts will bring you joy, help you notice beauty and encourage you as you model nature study for your children.

Outdoor Hour challenge Nature Crafts

New Nature Crafts Series

In addition to the Outdoor Mom series, we will also be offering a new Nature Crafts series for members. We are so excited about both of these offerings!

New Outdoor Hour Challenge Every Friday

Shirley Vels, your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess, shares about how there is a new Outdoor Hour Challenge Nature Study each Friday. She also talks about how these nature studies bring The Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool.

Nature journaling series at Homeschool Nature Study

Monthly Nature Journal Activities

In this continuing series for members, monthly nature journal activities take your outdoor experiences, your thoughts, new ideas or facts, and make them tangible. Here are some ideas to get you started nature journaling.

We are excited to announce several fun resources that will make is easy for you to add the joy of nature study for your homeschool year!

How to Get Started in Homeschool Nature Study

You can download Getting Started – Nature Close to Home for FREE which helps you get started in homeschool nature study and outlines how to participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

We are excited to announce several fun resources that will make is easy for you to add the joy of nature study for your homeschool year!

Nature Study in Your Own Backyard and Nature Journaling with Outdoor Hour Challenges

To get each Friday’s homeschool nature study Outdoor Hour Challenge and for access to a continuing series of new nature studies, join us in Homeschool Nature Study Membership. With homeschool nature study membership, you will have everything you need to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors

Tricia and her family fell in love with the Handbook of Nature Study and the accompanying Outdoor Hour Challenges early in their homeschooling. The simplicity and ease of the weekly outdoor hour challenges brought joy to their homeschool and opened their eyes to the world right out their own back door! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at You ARE an ARTiST and Your Best Homeschool plus her favorite curricula at The Curriculum Choice.

We are excited to announce several fun resources that will make is easy for you to add the joy of nature study for your homeschool year!
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The Ultimate Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!
Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone Falls – Hodges, August 2020

What a treasure! Barbara McCoy and her family travel so many of America’s national parks, monuments and state parks. Here, I have gathered all that she has shared over the years and have added in a few of my family’s travels too. While many of Barb’s photos did not transfer over and are not included in these posts, her words and tips are so very valuable!

Barb and I got to take a trip to Florida together a few years ago – and we spent time studying nature. We even got to see an alligator. I shared about the memories we made together in my Florida Nature Studies.

Enjoy this Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool. We hope it helps you make glorious memories with your family!

Your Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!
Grand Canyon National Park – south rim – Hodges, August 2020.
Muir Woods
Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!
Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic – Hodges 2020.

Hands On Learning – American Landmarks Art Lessons

Do you dream of trekking America’s landmarks and national parks with your kids? With our sister website, You ARE an ARTiST, you can let Nana take you and your children on a trip around our great United States without leaving the comforts of your home. Trekking American landmarks with chalk pastels are as easy as walking to your kitchen table and setting out your chalk pastels with a pack of construction paper. Nana will do the rest.

No hiking shoes or sore feet required! Browse I Drew It Then I Knew It American Landmarks

Want even more ideas? Enjoy 99 Nature Study Ideas to Get Your Family Outdoors and Study Nature As You Travel This Summer.

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!

More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

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Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a wonderful example of how nature study can benefit any child. It allows you to provide a variety of experiences to tap into their natural learning style and complete a bird study all along the way!

Making Nature Study Easy: Adapt to Your Child’s Interests

Are you struggling with making your nature study meaningful for your family? Have your attempts to begin a nature study plan with your children failed because of their bad attitudes or lack of interest? Do you feel like nature study is just another academic subject that you need to check off your list?

You are not alone. I think many of us have tried to make nature study a regular routine in our homeschooling week but ended up throwing in the towel because it was just too hard to get into a rhythm.

Our Different Homeschool Learning Styles

I’m a mom of four children, one daughter and three sons. I found it impossible to make every study interesting for every child when it came to nature study. As a homeschooling mom, I attempted to educate myself in ways to offer subjects to my children that met their needs and interests, strengths, and skills.

I found nature study to be most successful when you allow your children to make connections that are meaningful and fit their style of learning. I was more successful when I offered a variety of activities to appeal in some way to their personal interests. (You can read more about the concept of addressing the various ways we learn here: Multiple Intelligences.)

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child.

Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles

Here is a specific example of this kind of customized learning for you to think about and adapt to your family with a Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles:

  • Musical Learner: Enjoys listening to and learning to imitate bird calls. Easily identifies a bird by its call. Writes a song about birds.
  • Verbal-Linguistic: Records a birding experience in a nature journal using words or tells a story about the nature walk. Writes or copies a poem about a bird into their nature journal. Learns the Latin names of birds as well as the common names. Reads the biography of Audubon.
  • Mathematical-Logical: Tallies birds at a feeder. Keeps a running list of birds seen over a period of time in a nature journal. Collects bird feathers and categorizes them into groups. Studies migratory maps and learns where local birds go for the winter. Learns all the state birds. Experiments with different kinds of bird seed to see which ones particular birds like best. Participates in citizen science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count and Project Feederwatch.
  • Visual-Spatial: Makes a model of a bird from clay. Sketches a bird in their nature journal. Notices the differences between birds: beaks, wing shapes, tail shapes, size. Builds a birdhouse. Designs and builds their own birdfeeder. Constructs a bird blind in order to observe birds.
This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child.
  • Kinesthetic: Loves to take a walk and look for birds using binoculars. Climbs a tree to find a bird’s nest or just experience a “bird’s eye” view. Hangs a bird feeder and keeps it full. Plants a bird garden.
  • Interpersonal: Joins a birding group and learns from the more experienced birders about their local area. Volunteers at a bird reserve with a friend. Organizes a field trip to a bird aviary for their co-op.
  • Intrapersonal: Spends quiet time outdoors observing birds, perhaps recording their experiences in their own nature journal that they don’t share with others. Has a pet bird.
  • Naturalist: Enjoys lots of time outdoors looking for birds and learning their life cycles. Learns the names of birds, keeps a bird life list, learns the calls, and keeps a nature journal. Easily remembers the names of birds and their habits. Has a collection of bird’s feathers, bones, and nests.
  • Existential: Learns about endangered species of birds. Spends time contemplating a bird’s life cycle. Keeps a journal of their thoughts about birds and how they fit into the web of life on the earth.

If you’re struggling with deciding what your child’s learning style is, be patient and if all else fails, ask them what they want to do for nature study. You could share some of the ideas in the printable referenced below as a way to introduce new and fresh ideas.

It’s really a case of trial and error until you have it all figured out.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for All Learning Styles

Specific ideas for adapting nature study are in the printable Multiple Intelligences and Grid Study in the Homeschool Nature Study Membership in the Resources course. Topics covered include mammals, reptiles, wildflowers, astronomy, insects, trees, weather, and invertebrates. This set of pages has ideas for ways to adapt nature study to fit your child’s style of learning.

Try applying the principle of this Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles to any nature study subject. You’re only limited by your imagination.

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child. Printable included.

 

 

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Homeschool High School Nature Study Ideas

These homeschool high school nature study ideas are meant to encourage your family to consider continuing with some natural science even in the teen years.

These homeschool high school nature study ideas are meant to encourage your family to consider continuing with some natural science even in the teen years. We want to encourage you to include nature study in your high school plans. Our family kept regular times to be outdoors together exploring and observing nature in our own backyard and neighborhood.

Mr. B’s Nicaraguan butterfly

The tone of nature study changes during the teen years and as they find what interests them and develop that interest you can see how this is a life-long passion that will grow as they do. My grown children still surprise me with photos of things they see while on their own adventures…sharing things they know I will enjoy seeing. During Mr. B’s recent trip to Nicaragua, he captured images of a butterfly and a bird for me…sharing them like souvenirs when he came home.

Homeschool Nature Study Ideas For Teens

Mr. A sent me a photo of a snake from his New York hike. I don’t know that I am anxious for them to share snakes with me but it is something he is interested in knowing more about. He has a completely different habitat to explore in New York and with all the experience we had here as he was going through his teens using the internet and field guides to identify things, I know he will be learning so much about the plants, animals, birds, and reptiles of his new area.

These homeschool high school nature study ideas are meant to encourage your family to consider continuing with some natural science even in the teen years.

Honestly, as my children are getting older, they are having to dig deeper to find something they are interested in learning about but the desire is still there. I am feeling the need to spend even more time with them outdoors as they reach their teen and teen+ years, stepping up the observations and learning.

These homeschool high school nature study ideas are meant to encourage your family to consider continuing with some natural science even in the teen years.

Charlotte Mason Style Exam Questions for Homeschool High School

Several of the courses included in Homeschool Nature Study membership include Charlotte Mason style exam questions for advanced students. Author Barb McCoy says, “This series has proved to be a huge success in our family, helping to bring nature study up to a level for my teens. Also, I saw families with large age ranges of children completing the challenges together, each on their own level and enjoying it.”

Include Nature Study in Your High School Plans

Gradually I have learned the value in allowing some leeway in the high school nature study topics we learn more about because I can see the growth in my sons’ love for and connection to the world they live in. I hear their appreciation for the complex system of life that was created for us to enjoy and benefit from.

By Barb November 2013. Updated by Tricia January 2022.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Nature Study with Teens – Adapting to Different Needs

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Week 4 – September 24, 2021

Nature Study with Teens – Adapting to Different Needs

“Nature Study – It is the intellectual, physical, and moral development by and through purposeful action and reaction upon environment, guided so far as needed by the teacher.” John Dearness, 1905

“Some children are born naturalists, but even those who aren’t were born with natural curiosity about the world and should be encouraged to observe nature.”
Charlotte Mason, vol 2 page 58

The Challenge of Teens and Nature Study

Once my children were teens, our nature study sort of stalled out. I made the mistake of presenting our outdoor studies in the same way that I had always done with them in the past. I would pick a topic, share some information from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study, and then we would be out on the search for the subject. It was a habit but not really the habit I had set out to create. Where was the enthusiasm I had seen when they were younger? Why did we end of feeling like it was an item to check off our to-do list? I knew we could do better.

These questions led me back to the internet to research more closely how nature study develops into upper level science.

“The Field Lesson. When planning a field lesson, three points should be kept in mind:
First. The aim, to bring the children into sympathy or in touch with nature, through the study of that part of nature in which they have been interested.
Second. The conditions out of doors, where the children are at home, where they must have greater freedom than in the schoolroom, and where it is more difficult to keep them at definite work, and to hold their attention.
Third. The necessity of giving each child something definite to find out for himself, and of interest to the children so that each will try to find out the most and have the greatest number of discoveries to tell.”

Nature Study and The Child, Charles B. Scott, 1900.

I found with my teenagers that there needed to be a different sort of follow-up to our nature observations…more than just a nature journal. They needed to be more connected to their nature study by finding patterns and relationships between past experiences and new ones.

“But true science work does not stop with mere seeing, hearing, or feeling; it not only furnishes a mental picture as a basis for reasoning, but it includes an interpretation of what has been received through the senses.”

Nature Study for the Common Schools, Wilbur Samuel Jackman, 1891

This is the part of nature study I found the most meaningful to my children. To take what they already knew and to build on it with new observations, developing a real interest in knowing more. I could no longer just relate facts, no matter how interesting the facts were.

Here is the key: Teens need to find the answers to their own questions and then express those answers in a way that makes sense to them.

3 steps to a better nature journal experience

My research found that this pattern – observation, reasoning, expression – is nothing new or unique to nature study. This pattern is the process that all science is built upon. I have created a printable that explains this process and you can download and read it here:

Three Steps to a Better Nature Study Experience

What Can Parents Do?

It would be ideal if all nature study could be spontaneous but that hardly seems practical in a busy homeschooling week. For ease of scheduling, there must be some provision for getting outside each week (or in a perfect world it would be every day).

Aim for three things in your nature study: to really see what you are looking at with direct and accurate observation, understand why the thing is so and what it means, and then to pique an interest in knowing more about the object.

What if my teen is still not interested in nature study?

Sometimes, despite all my efforts, my teens’ interest wasn’t equal to my interest in nature study.  I could take them to the most fascinating places to explore and they would just want to sit and talk or take a walk by themselves. The setting was perfect and the subjects abounded, but they are more interested in throwing rocks or digging a hole.

I knew the value of getting teens to get outside and see the wonderful things that existed right there under their noses. I knew I could not force them to do nature study but giving up was not an option. The answer is patience. The best way to handle this issue was to allow them the space and time to experience nature on their own terms.

In My Experience:

Here is a real-life example My two boys and I regularly made visits to my dad’s pond together.  When younger, they would go right to the business of scooping up water and critters and talking in excited voices about what they were finding. But once they reached the teen years, I noticed a different atmosphere, an attitude of “we’ve been here and done that”. I tried to remind myself that this was their normal teenage reaction to just about everything. They rarely appeared to be too excited on the outside. More often than not, they would later on relate the whole experience in a more favorable light to their dad or one of their siblings. Apparently, the outside of a teenager doesn’t accurately reflect the inside at all times.

So if you have older children and they appear to not be interested at first, don’t give up. It may be that they just aren’t showing it outwardly but inside the experiences are deeply affecting them. Don’t give up on the habit of nature study with your teens.

Enhancing a Nature Walk with Teens

Digital Photography: A love of the natural world does not come automatically for all children and sometimes we need to find a way to hook them into getting outdoors. Most of our children have a lot of screen time each week. Rarely are they without a device that has a camera function. Take advantage of this tool in enhancing your time outdoors!

Although there are advantages to taking a walk “unplugged”, there are distinct benefits to allowing your teens to take photos as part of their nature study time.

  • It slows them down.
  • Helps them focus and really see an object.
  • Everyday things in their own backyard can now be captured and viewed.
  • They can see the beauty.
  • They make their own connections.
  • Perfect for our teens…they are comfortable with the technology and love to share with their friends.

For more thoughts on nature photography, see the June 2014 Newsletter in the Ultimate Naturalist Library.

Ultimate Naturalist Library Members:

  • Three Steps to a Better Nature Study Experience posted in the Getting Back to Basics- The Habit of Nature Study section of the Library.
  • December 2012 Newsletter Article – Is Nature Study Relevant to High School Science?
  • June 2014 Newsletter – Nature Photography
  • August 2015 Newsletter – several articles on building a nature library (especially helpful are suggestions for field guides for older students to use in their studies)
  • May 2017 Newsletter Article – Interest Driven Learning – Ocean Creatures

More Nature Study ebooks and Nature Study Continues ebooks

Please remember that many of the OHCs include an Advanced Study option and accompanying notebook pages. If you are a member, please look in your Member’s Library to see which ebooks contain those suggestions for older students as part of the nature study lesson. My children used those lessons when they were in high school as part of their biology courses.

You may be interested in this entry found on my blog: Nature Study as Part of a Biology Course

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Members can click here to log into your account to download any of the Member’s items listed above.

If you are not a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study yet, please consider joining to gain the benefit of having a nature study library at your fingertips. There are numerous resources available for you to help create the habit of nature study within your family.

Please note that the Ultimate Naturalist Library will only be available until 12/31/2021. At that time my website will be shutting down.

 

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

If you are an email subscriber to the Handbook of Nature Study, you may consider saving this email in a folder for future reference. The blog will be retiring at the end of the year as well.

 

 

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Outdoor Mom-August 2021 Prime Summertime Delights

Outdoor Mom

August 2021

Prime Summertime Delights

 

Please note you can purchase a membership right now for $35 using the code GREATDAY. Code expires on 9/10/2021.

Waking up to birdsong has become my favorite part of summer. It starts early! Mid-July it started around 4:30 AM and it has gradually become later and later, until those morning serenades have stopped. The departure of so many of the dawn singing birds has been replaced by a nip in the air and shorter days. How does that happen so fast?

tent summer 2021

You may wonder how I know that the birdsong starts so early. Well, we spent most summer nights sleeping in our backyard tent. The birds would be so loud that they would wake me up! I heard many a nighttime owl duet from the resident great horned owls. Then there were the frogs in the river meander behind our house that make a ruckus most nights. Finally, the last few weeks we’ve had the sound of yipping and howling coyotes. It’s hard to believe there’s so much going on outside, but it’s there if you happen to listen.

hairy woodpecker bird backyard july 2021 (3)Late Summer Changes

Most of the robins have flown on, the swallows are gone, the bluebirds are scarce, hardly a red-wing blackbird to be seen. The sounds now are of chickadees, finches, doves, and flickers. I’ve been reflecting on the coming and going of the birds as the seasons change. I looked back in my journal where I noted we saw our first robin and red-wing on March 1, 2021. I remember that day with great fondness, happy day indeed. The summer bird season went by entirely too fast.

summer coneflowers

As I write this entry, our garden is still in full bloom and I spend many days watering, weeding, and cutting flowers. I call it my garden therapy. I sometimes linger sitting on the garden bench just so I can watch the creatures who come to visit. There are hummingbirds in the flowers, bees buzzing around, and all kinds of birds who come to take a bath or drink from the bird baths. There are a few chipmunks who zip in and around the garden when they think no one is watching. If I’m lucky, there will be a butterfly, or a dragonfly come to check things out.

butterfly garden sign 2021

I make mental notes of what grew well in the garden and what I would like to do differently next year. I create new plans in my head for areas that need improvement and I also make a mental list of the things that failed.

Some days, our kids show up and entice us down to the river for a kayak. We drag the boats down to the riverbank and slip into the shallow water as we make our way downstream. The river is low this time of year and it’s not unusual to see a few fish or crawdads as we float over.

cow calf july 2021 (1)

The grasses are still quite green from the thunderstorms we’ve had this month. This means the cows and calves are still living out back where we enjoy their antics as they spend their long summer days grazing and sitting under our trees out back. They often are right along the river’s edge as we make our way down river. We noted a brand new calf with spindly legs and soft brown eyes, we named him Hot Cocoa.

family table 2021
Our new family table, built with my husband’s own hands. We have welcomed many family members to this table over the summer and we will continue the tradition next year.

Now I find myself trying to muster up enthusiasm for the autumn and all the changes that come with it. Most people welcome the autumn, but it makes me feel unsettled. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like change and the replacing of my warm, summer sunshine-filled days with the unpredictability that comes with autumn in Central Oregon. We could have a warm day, a cold day, a snow day, or all the above all in one day.

sunflowers 2021

The falling leaves and withering flowers make me sad. The putting away of the lawn furniture and the potted plants and taking down the flower baskets….so melancholy.

I have in the past found it helpful to make an Autumn Bucket List of things I look forward to doing to make the season a little more positive in my eyes. So, I will do that this year in anticipation of trying to put some joy in my autumn. Maybe that will take my mind off the winter season which is cold and long here in La Pine. I can always hope anyway.

sunflower garden 2021

This summer is drawing to a close and I have saved up some memories to pull out on long winter days. This mom is grateful to have had a garden to enjoy this year and a place to spend my days close to the plants and animals who share my space. I also appreciate the ability to share it all with you dear readers.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

You can follow me on Instagram to see more of our outdoor life here in gorgeous Central Oregon.

Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time, this month we went…
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about) …
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…
  • I added nature journal pages about…
  • One last image…

 

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Outdoor Mom July 2021 – Sweet Summertime

Outdoor Mom

July 2021 – Sweet Summertime

When our warm weather hits, time seems to just fly by fast and furious! It’s as if we know our summer days are precious and in a blink of an eye they’ll be gone. So, we try to pack as many adventures and memories as we can into the July hours.

tent in the garden 2021

I wake up early to bird song and I stay outside late watering the garden.

We keep the kayaks all ready to go and our hiking shoes right at the door.

field guides and binoculars

I spend quiet time writing in my nature journal, keeping track of wildflowers, birds, and trails hiked.

family camping 2021

Last year when we were all locked down and isolating, I dreamt of our summer days of freedom. This year it has made us appreciate every day we can freely move and travel and be with our kids.  We’ve gone on family camping trips, family floating days in the hot sun, family hiking and lots of picnicking. The summer is not over yet, and we have plans for more time spent outdoors together.

Sweet, sweet summer.

garden wildflower collage 2021

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…

The flowers have burst out in a riot of color. July is the time for enjoying the bounty of flowers we have that fill the garden. We experimented with reseeding our wildflower beds and expanding the sunflowers this year. In addition, we planted some new shrubs that have potential for berries long into the autumn. When a garden plan goes as expected, it brings such satisfaction. We have been blessed with an abundance of butterflies and hummingbirds this summer in part to our keeping their needs in mind as we picked new plants.

nasturtium 2021 renees
I have been trying to grow nasturtiums in my garden for many years. This year I planted Renee’s Garden seeds and they are thriving!

 

I’ll be writing soon about our Renee’s Garden seeds that are still growing and thriving.

nests eggs bird 2021

The most inspiring thing we experienced was…

Looking back over the past few months, the most inspiring and fulfilling experience has been the abundance of nests and baby birds that have occurred right in our yard. We had robins, flickers, tree swallows, bluebirds, finches, doves, and chickadees all born within our eyesight. I love watching the birds as they fledge and fly off.

The addition of new nesting boxes really did reap us such happy memories this season. It went by way too fast. It’s been bittersweet to watch the birds take to flight, finding their way towards their next destination.

tide pools brookings 2021

During our outdoor time, this month we went…

Tidepooling!!! This is one of my favorite outdoor activities. I was able to introduce my daughter-in-law to the joys of searching the shore for something living. She found a hermit crab and the smile she had told me that this girl is a kindred spirit.

oregon coast nature journal

I added nature journal pages about…

I sat on the beach several times during our coastal camping trip and sketched and wrote in my nature journal. These precious memories are now down on paper.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

You can follow me on Instagram to see more of our outdoor life here in gorgeous Central Oregon.

Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time, this month we went…
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about) …
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…
  • I added nature journal pages about…
  • One last image…

 

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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument-Painted Hills Unit: Tips and Images

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Painted Hills Unit

Oregon

March 2021

We moved to Central Oregon four years ago hoping to spend a good deal of time exploring this part of the world. The pandemic slowed us down but we’re hoping this year to get out and have some new adventures over the spring and summer months.

One place that’s been on the list is the Painted Hills here in Oregon. They are part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument found in eastern Oregon. Turns out they’re not extremely far from us and we took a day trip to hike the Painted Hills on a bright sunny spring day.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Painted Hills tips and images

If you’re traveling from Bend, Oregon, the trip to the Painted Hills is an easy drive of a little less than 2 hours. The scenery is gorgeous so the time passes by quickly. The route takes you through the town of Prineville where you can stop for a coffee break or pick up groceries for a picnic.

Painted HIlls trailhead
The Painted Hills are dog friendly so bring your leash and some extra water for the trail.

Once you arrive, there will be a place to stop at a restroom and gather up a map from the kiosk. The trailhead to the overlook is just a little way down a dirt road. There is plenty of parking for the short overlook trail. I highly recommend this as a first hike to get the best views of the colorful terrain.

Painted Hills

Note: If you’re on a road trip and are passing this way, take the time to visit the Painted Hills, taking a rest stop and a short hike.

Painted Hills

We walked out to the overlook, snapped a few photos of our group, and then headed back to the parking lot.

John Day Fossil Beds Painted Hills March 2021 (7)

We had the whole morning to spend exploring so we walked from the overlook trail to the Carroll Rim Trail. This was a little longer hike with some elevation gain on the way out. The day we visited was very windy so we were not too hot, but I would imagine in the summer this is a grueling, hot trail because it is completely exposed.

Painted Hills wildflower collage

In late March, the wildflowers were just starting to bloom. I of course had to stop and take a few photos. We thoroughly enjoyed this hike because it led us away from the crowds and up to the top for a bird’s eye view.

Painted HIlls

After the Carroll Rim Trail, we took the cars over to the Painted Cove Trail. This is the trail you often see on Instagram where people are walking along a boardwalk with the colorful landscape in the background. It’s a short accessible trail that you could add onto a day trip if you have time.

Paitned Hills

What a fun day we had! Views, hiking, picnic, wildflowers…just my kind of place.

We made it back to Bend in time for dinner at a local brewery. Everyone, including the dog, loved the adventure of a new place to explore together.

Even in the pandemic, we are determined to get out and hike if we can do it safely. Now that we’re all vaccinated it seems more likely to happen.

Tips:

  • There are no concessions at the Painted Hills, so bring all you might need for your day. I highly recommend a picnic at the grassy picnic area where there are lots of tables to sit in the shade.
  • This is an excellent day trip if you’re visiting the Bend, Oregon area.
  • I would arrange to arrive early to beat the summer heat.
  • There is no fee to enjoy the Painted Hills.
  • There is the opportunity to travel on from the Painted Hills to John Day Fossil Beds where there is a paleontology center and the official visitor’s center for this whole area. (We hope to visit here soon!)
  • There is a Junior Ranger Program.

 

 

You can read more of my national park entries by following these links: