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A Beautiful Queen Anne’s Lace Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Our family made great memories together one year while noticing and studying Queen Anne’s lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne’s lace nature study for your homeschool and see what you notice in each season too!

If you don’t have any Queen Anne’s Lace to observe in person, choose two other neighborhood weeds to study and compare using the ideas in the challenge.

Homeschool Nature Study members will find the suggestions in this challenge a great help in learning about this common wildflower. (Some call it a weed, but I prefer to think of it as a wildflower!) Members: Find this challenge in your Summer Continues Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum ebook.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

Queen Anne’s Lace Nature Study

I suppose it’s the new awareness we have from last year’s summer study of Queen Anne’s lace. Or it could be recent rains. Or it could be that we didn’t really start looking for Queen Anne’s lace until late August of last year. Or it could be a combination of all those factors. Which, likely, it is.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

It’s abundant. We point and yell, “Look!” everywhere we drive. Lace lines the roadsides to the north Georgia mountains where we trekked last week. Lacey patches are right across the street – almost as tall as Middle Girl.

“Nature study cultivates in the child a love of the beautiful…”

~ Anna Botsford Comstock, The Teaching of Nature Study
Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

(Above photos of her taken with my phone when we quick pulled off the road).

family homeschool nature study

And Queen Anne’s lace thrilled us in the usual spot we checked back in spring. When we went on a family walk that Sunday night before Memorial Day – there it was!

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

Ready for the picking.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

We scooped a few blooms and brought them home to study up close. To sketch.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

We also found a beautiful robin’s egg, right in the middle of the grass, while on our walk. We figured the recent winds and storms may have blown it out of its nest.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

Our up close studies helped us appreciate. As I sketched my flower, I noticed the hundreds of little, tiny flowers…

nature journaling

…the umbrella looking underneath, the pink tinges of a young blossom.

nature journaling

The children appreciated the certain color of green, the hairy stems, the dot in the center.

“The chief aim of this volume is to encourage investigation rather than to give information.”

~ Handbook of Nature Study
homeschool nature journaling

During sketching we noticed that the outside flower clusters open first, just as the Handbook of Nature Study says.

Queen Anne’s lace makes this mama happy. It reminds me of childhood.

Homeschool Nature Study for Your Family

Join us this summer! Enjoy some deliberate delight with nature walks and simple, joyful learning.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

How about you? Is Queen Anne’s lace lining your roadsides?

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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How Homeschool Nature Study Enriches High School Biology

Just how to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Here you will find a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module of your homeschool biology lessons. I really think it depends on the family and how much nature study you have time to fit in with your high school age children.

How to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Nature study definitely enriches high school biology. Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module.

Homeschool Nature Study and High School Biology

There are two ways to approach homeschool nature study with high school biology.
1. Start with nature study and supplement with a text.
2. Use a text and supplement with nature study.

If you decide on approach number one, take each area of focus in the Outdoor Hour Challenge and add in supplemental information from a textbook.

Please note that affiliate links are included in our recommendations below. Please see our disclosure policy.

Using Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology

  • OH Challenge: Garden Plants =Text Module 8 and 15
  • OH Challenge: Insects =Text Module 3 and 12
  • OH Challenge: Trees =Text Module 14
  • OH Challenge: Mammals =Text Module 10 and 16
  • OH Challenge: Flowerless Plants =Text Module 4 and 14
  • OH Challenge: Birds =Text Module 16
  • OH Challenge: Crop Plants =Text Module 8 and 15

For the second option, here is how I enhanced the Apologia biology text with nature study ideas…many of these ideas are on my Biology Squidoo Lens.

Module 1: Microbiology for Homeschool

Read biography of Carl Linnaeus
Read Microbe Hunters, chapter 1 Leeuwenhoek

How to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module.

Module 2: Microbiology and Homeschool Biology Pond Study

Read Microbe Hunters, chapter 2 Spallanzani and chapter 3 Pasteur
Start a pond study to complement the study of microscopic organisms-protozoa
Use A Golden Guide to Pond Life
Read biography of Louis Pasteur
Field trip to a pond: Complete nature journal pages for things observed in real life.

Enjoy a Turtle Homeschool Nature Study.

Module 3: Continue Pond Study-Algae


Handbook of Nature Study section on insects of the brook and pond
Examine pond water under the microscope.
Complete nature journal pages on pond insects you observe.

beautiful moss homeschool nature study

Module 4: High School Biology Nature Study Focus on Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Work with yeast
Work with molds
There are some ideas for study in the flowerless plants section of the Handbook of Nature Study.
Take a nature walk to look for mushrooms and then complete nature journal pages for each one identified.

Modules 5-7: During These Modules We Used Local Field Guides to Identify Various Subjects From Our Nature Walks Each Week

The Biology Coloring Book by Robert Griffin-color appropriate pages to help visualize the abstract concepts in these modules

Homeschool nature study is definitely a part of high school biology! Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module.

Module 8: Gardening for High School Biology

Growing pea plants to support Mendelian genetic study (just for fun).
Read a biography of Gregor Mendel. (The picture book Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas looks like a wonderful way to include younger students).
Grow radishes as part of experiment 8.4
Worked on a garden plan for the following summer.

Module 9: Homeschool Rocks and Minerals Study

Read a biography of Charles Darwin
Handbook of Nature Study section on rocks and minerals
Using a field guide we identified several local rocks and made nature journal entries for each one.

Module 10: Mammals Study for High School Biology

Identify a local mammal and then draw where it fits in the food web.
Learn about your local watershed and then diagram it or draw a map for your journal.
Complete nature journal entries for mammals observed during this module.

Find more ideas in this Mammals Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Module 11: Invertebrates for Homeschool Biology Studies

Dissection of an earthworm
Nature study focus on Invertebrates-garden snails, earthworms
Handbook of Nature Study section on invertebrate animals other than insects
Complete nature journal entries for invertebrates observed during our Outdoor Hour time
Complete a one small square activity and look for invertebrates or signs of invertebrates in your own garden or yard.

Earthworm Study for Your Homeschool

Module 12: High School Biology Study on Insects

Nature study focus on arachnida (spiders) and/or insects and/or lepidoptera
Dissection of a crayfish
Handbook of Nature Study section on insects
Complete nature journal entries for insects observed during our Outdoor Hour time.

marine biology studies for homeschool biology

Module 13: Amphibians and Fishes

Dissection of a perch and a frog
Nature study focus on amphibians
Handbook of Nature Study section on fishes
Handbook of Nature Study section on amphibians
Keep an aquarium and use the Handbook of Nature Study suggestions for observations.

More in Homeschool Ocean Study and Marine Biology Resources.

Module 14: Plants

Collect leaf samples and make a pressed leaf collection
Nature study focus on flowerless plants
Handbook of Nature Study section on flowerless plants

plants and wildflowers for high school biology study with homeschool nature study

Module 15: Garden Flowers and Seeds

Insectivorous plants-observe a Venus Flytrap or Sundew
Nature study focus on garden flowers-parts of a flower
Collect and press flowers
Germinate seeds
Handbook of Nature Study section on plants/garden flowers
Start a seasonal tree study for a tree in your own yard

The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflower Nature Study for Your Homeschool

The Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool nature study using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

Module 16: High School Biology Nature Study Focus on Birds, Reptiles or Mammals

Handbook of Nature Study section on birds
Handbook of Nature Study section on reptiles
Handbook of Nature Study section on mammals
Keep a pet and make observations based on suggestions in the Handbook of Nature Study.
Hang a birdfeeder and keep a log of birds that visit.
Go bird watching and make journal entries for each bird you identify.

The Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool Nature Study Resources Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can see how you can take an idea and then expand on it using nature study. If you use the basic ideas I have illustrated with the biology topics, you can make a study of nature high school level. Keep everything relevant to your local area and it will be a joy to work on each week. Your family will learn so much together as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

SaMore Resources For Your Homeschool High School Biology and Nature Study

All of the Outdoor Hour Challenges that pair with homeschool high school biology are included 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!

Homeschool nature study definitely enriches high school biology! Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module.

Spublished August 2009 by Barb

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Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers

These timeless Charlotte Mason nature study ideas are as relevant today as when they were written and I’m forever grateful for the encouragement these gave me when I was a new homeschooler. The ideas for this post have been taken from Volume One of Charlotte Mason’s homeschooling series.

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers includes ideas for how to help your child engage in nature and study wildflowers.

Charlotte Mason – Simple Nature Study Ideas for Wildflowers

My children benefited from Miss Mason’s simple and consistent approach to learning. We didn’t waste time learning things for a test, but were encouraged to explore and observe the natural world right outside our doorstep.

I would like to offer you the road map to learning about wildflowers in a “Charlotte Mason” way by giving you a short list that summarizes her ideas found in Volume One on page 51 under the subheading of “Flowers and Trees”.

Elements of a Wildflowers Nature Study

Your child should be able to:

  1. Describe the shape, size, and placement of the leaves.
  2. Note whether there is a single blossom or a head of flowers.
  3. Observe the flower and its habitat so well that it can be recognized in any location in the future.
  4. Use a field guide to learn about the wildflower (with help from a parent if needed).
  5. Collect, press, and make a record of the flower’s habitat and location. ***
  6. Optional: Make a watercolor of the flower or the whole plant.

*** It’s important to note that we shouldn’t be picking flowers in great numbers. Many wildflowers do not last long once picked and therefore are wasted if not going straight into a flower press. Here is Anna Botsford Comstock’s advice on picking wildflowers from the Handbook of Nature Study:

“Some flowers are so abundant that they can be picked in moderation if the roots are not disturbed, if plenty of flowers are left for seed, and if the plant itself is not taken with the flower….Everyone should have the privilege of enjoying the natural beauty of the countryside. Such enjoyment is impossible if a relatively small number of people insist upon picking and destroying native plants for their own selfish interests.”

HNS page 460
blue flag iris

More Wildflowers Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

If you’d like help in getting started with a wildflower study, I have some thorough posts with some ideas for your family:

There are three sets wildflower curriculum available in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers includes ideas for how to help your child engage in nature and study wildflowers.
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Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

“Any garden furnishes abundant material for the study of earthworms. They are nocturnal workers and may be observed by lantern or flashlight….For the study of the individual worm and its movements, each pupil should have a worm with some earth upon his desk.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 424

Take 15 minutes of your outdoor hour time to find a place in your yard to dig for worms. If you have a garden or flower bed, you may be successful in finding earthworms just a few inches down in the soil. Use some of the suggested activities from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study to carefully observe your earthworms.

This earthworms homeschool nature study for our members includes:

  • Handbook of Nature Study references and indoor preparation time
  • Suggestions and questions for your Outdoor Hour Time
  • A list of questions to ask during your earthworm nature study time
  • Follow up activity for your nature journal

Members will find the full homeschool nature study in the Spring with Art and Music Appreciation Outdoor Hour course and curriculum.

You can use the notebook page provided with Spring with Art and Music Appreciation course or your own blank nature journal to record you observations and sketches. Don’t forget to sketch and label your earthworm.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

More Earthworm Links

Join Homeschool Nature Study membership today!

Visit our website to find an affordable membership option that suits you. Why not give membership a try for a month and go from there. We would love to have you along for the adventure!

first published May 2010 and updated May 2022

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A Delightful Ladybug Nature Study For Your Homeschool

It’s time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! We love ladybugs in our garden. It is as simple as that. They always make me smile when I see them crawling around in the grass or on the rose bushes. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories that flood in when I see ladybugs….you know, singing *that* song.

It's time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! Ladybugs make me smile when I see them. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories.

A Ladybug Nature Study For Your Homeschool

Anyway, here are some thoughts from the Handbook of Nature Study that I enjoyed:

“The ladybird is a beetle. Its young are very different from the adult in appearance, and feed upon plant lice.”

From the Handbook of Nature Study, page 366

“These little beetles are very common in autumn and may be brought to the schoolroom and passed around in vials for the children to observe. Their larvae may be found on almost any plant infested with plant lice. Plant and all may be brought into the school room and the actions of the larvae noted by the pupils during recess.”

“From our standpoint the ladybird is of great value, for during the larval as well as adult stages, all species except one feed upon those insects which we are glad to be rid of.”

From page 365:

“The ladybird is a clever little creature, even if it does look like a pill, and if you disturb it, it will fold up its legs and drop as if dead, playing possum in a most deceptive manner.”

I don’t usually have to go far during the summer to find a ladybug or some aphids. The boys will point out that I have a ladybug in my hair or there will be one hiding among the weeds on the edges of the garden box. They just seem to go hand in hand with summer gardening.

I found a ladybug larva and a ladybug in my garden. This is an example of how taking the time to focus on something different in your own yard leads to a lot of really great information and then satisfaction.

ladybug larva for a ladybug homeschool nature study

I took this photo the other day in the garden and I posted it here on my blog. Someone identified it as a ladybug larva. (Thanks Margie!) I checked it out and they were right. The amazing part about it to me is that it is so big compared to the adult ladybug.

Studying Ladybug Larva

I looked it up in the Handbook of Nature Study and sure enough there is an illustration on page 364 that really shows the differences between the larva, the pupa, and the adult.

“…for they do not in the least resemble her; they are neither rolypoly nor shiny, bur are long and segmented and velvety, with six queer, short legs that look and act as if they were whittled out of wood; they seem only efficient for clinging around a stem….the absorbing business of the larva is to crawl around on plants and chew up the foolish aphids or the scale insects.”

Handbook of Nature Study page 365


Here is another photo I took the other day and I sort of thought it was a ladybug but it wasn’t quite the same as I had seen before.

Now, go look for some ladybugs!

Ladybug Art for Nature Study and Exploration

It's time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! Ladybugs make me smile when I see them. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories.

Enjoy a Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Art!

Free Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide

Did you enjoy this ladybug homeschool nature study? Join us for our Outdoor Hour Challenges bringing The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool! Download your copy here.

If you enjoyed this homeschool nature study, we invite you to join Homeschool Nature Study membership for year round nature study!

published by Barb, May 2008 and updated by Tricia April 2022

Ladybug Homeschool Nature Study
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“Last Child In The Woods” – Encouragement for Homeschooling Parents

A book can transform your thinking completely or it can validate what you have experienced in your own life.  Some books do both, like Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. This is a must read book for all homeschool families who are endeavoring to expose their children to the natural world on a regular basis.

Note: affiliate links are included.

Last Child in the Woods

“There is a real world, beyond the glass, for children who look, for those whose parents encourage them to truly see.”

Richard Louv

We all know he is right. Children are just not getting outside for free play and even sadder they are not even wanting to be outdoors anymore. Sometimes the parent is too afraid to allow them the freedom to roam outside or sometimes it is the lack of availability of an appropriate outdoor space that is the cause. Either way, it is a sad world when children are living indoors most of their days.

Last Child In The Woods gives solid reasons and then practical ideas for restoring this nature play time for our children. Also, there is a section that talks about children that perhaps have the “eighth intelligence” which is the child whose learning style is that of a Naturalist type. Louv lists descriptions of children that have this specific learning style which you may find helpful in understanding just how to help your child with this type of intelligence.

Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

I will list a few teaser points from the book that I have highlighted in my copy of the book that I think apply to what we do here at Homeschool Nature Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

“…during the nineteenth century, nature study, as it was called, dominated elementary school science teaching. Now that nature study has been largely shoved aside by the technological advances of the twentieth century, an increasing number of educators have come to believe that technically oriented, textbook-based science education is failing.”

“By expressing interest or even awe at the march of ants across these elfin forests, we send our children a message that will last for decades to come, perhaps even extend generation to generation.”

Homeschool Nature Study For Your Family

This book is a perfect complement to reading in the Handbook of Nature Study. I think Anna Botsford Comstock would have felt the need to write just this sort of book if she lived in our modern age. The principles are the same, the message embraced in everything Anna Botsford Comstock created: Get children outdoors looking at the world around them.

I highly recommend that you look for this book at your local public library and then read it.

I invite you to read and have your thinking transformed, creating in you the need to spend time outside with your children.

 

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Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

“Nature study is, despite all discussions and perversions, a study of nature; it consists of simple, truthful observations that may, like beads on a string, finally be threaded upon the understanding and thus held together as a logical and harmonious whole.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 1

Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

In the Handbook of Nature Study, the emphasis is learning about your own backyard. At first you may feel as if there is nothing interesting in your own backyard, but I have learned that the more you focus, the more you see.

Nature Study in Ripples – Start in Your Own Yard

Nature study is about training the eye to perceive what you have at hand. Learning to see and then learning to compare are two valuable skills you can develop with nature study. These skills will pop up in other areas of your life. Charlotte Mason wrote that learning to see the beauty in nature was the beginning of becoming more skilled as an artist.

“Nature study cultivates the child’s imagination, since there are so many wonderful and true stories that he may read with his own eyes, which affect his imagination as much as does fairy lore; at the same time nature study cultivates in him a perception and a regard for what is true, and the power to express it.”

Anna Botsford Comstock, see volume 1, pages 68 and 69

The backyard can hold your attention for a long time if you are diligent about looking for a variety of things to observe. Most of us have:

  • plants
  • birds
  • trees
  • rocks
  • insects
  • invertebrates
  • and mammals (that will visit us at least at certain times of the year)

Challenge your family to pick something each week to learn more about. This is a long-term project that you will find such satisfaction in doing together as a family. Each family member can develop their special area of interest. I love flowers and birds. My husband is a tree person. The boys enjoy insects, birds, and the garden. Amanda loves flowers and growing them in her garden. We all enjoy discovering a new critter in the backyard.

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

Nature Study in Your Neighborhood

Once you have awakened the desire for nature study you can widen out your range and spend time in your neighborhood as part of your nature study time. The circle widens a little and you begin to see your neighborhood street or park as another source of great nature study subjects. Your neighbor may have an interesting tree or you may have access to a pond to look for another whole range of plants and animals. The comparing and contrasting continue as you relate your backyard habitat to this new habitat.

“A twenty minute trip with a picnic lunch can make a day in the country accessible to almost anyone, but why do it just one day? Why not do it lots of days? Or even every nice day?”

Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 44

Nature Study – 20 Minutes From Home

I think we could easily spend a lifetime learning about all the interesting things in this slightly wider circle of exploration. Charlotte Mason suggests finding places within a twenty minute distance from your home to visit for frequent picnics and outings. The benefits of finding a few places to go regularly for family walks are immeasurable. It takes dedication to pack everyone up in the car and drive a few minutes but once you are on your way, you don’t regret the decision. Really, there is no real need for a car if you can walk to an interesting area in twenty minutes or so. Be curious about your local area and try to seek out a few interesting spots to walk and then rotate visiting them during each season.

The next step is to increase your circle even more….to ripple out even farther than your neighborhood. Perhaps you have a nature center, a state park, or a national park that is within a day trip’s distance. Occasionally it is refreshing to travel a bit to build excitement for a different habitat than you normally have access to for nature study. In our area we have within a few hours travel the Pacific Ocean, temperate rainforests, a conifer forest, oak woodlands, a river delta and wetlands, a bay, an estuary, farmland, sub-alpine trails, a hot springs, and so on. Get out a map and draw a circle around your home town that extends a hundred miles in radius. Look within that radius for places you can visit on a long day’s trip. You might be surprised what you come up with in your own area.

“Adults should realize that the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit.”

Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 61

Start as close as you can and then work your way farther and farther from your home. Spend as much time as you want in each area perhaps going back several times to a specific place to really get to know it. Experience it during every season.

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

As your children grow older, you can increase your ripples to include longer road trips or special trips to fascinating habitats.

“Nature does not start out with the classification given in books, but in the end it builds up in the child’s mind a classification which is based on fundamental knowledge; it is a classification like that evolved by the first naturalists, because it is built on careful personal observations of both form and life.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 6

More Simple Ideas for Your Nature Time in Ripples

The idea is a simple one. Think of ripples in a pond. The experiences you have close to home will help you develop skills and knowledge to later compare and contrast with other habitats. Learning about seeds and plants in your backyard will give your child a frame of reference when he goes to learn about seeds in wildflowers, or sequoias, or a cactus. Learning the skill of using binoculars to observe a bird on a tree branch in your yard will train him to use that skill when you are out on a nature hike in a marshland. Learning to sit quietly to see what you can hear in your own backyard will be time well spent for those times that you would like to observe something interesting on a nature outing, perhaps a deer or a squirrel.

So much of our modern life is spent indoors. Our families need the refreshing spirit that comes from being outdoors and under the sky. We can start nature study in a small way in our own yards, but once the ripple is started, you never know where it might take you.

Find some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

Join Homeschool Nature Study membership for access to year round nature study for all seasons – for the whole family!

first published March 2009

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First Day of Spring: Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas. It hardly seems possible that we are at the beginning of another spring season but here we go! We look forward to another season of encouraging nature study. Have fun and get outdoors with your children!

First Day of Spring: Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Inside Preparation Work
1. If you have not read pages 23-24 (How to Use This Book) in the Handbook of Nature Study, please read it now. In addition, read the section on The Field Excursion on page 15. Highlight interesting sections as reminders.
2. Prepare your children for your outdoor time by explaining the purpose. For this challenge, use the ideas from Outdoor Hour Challenge #2—Using Your Words in our FREE Getting Started Homeschool Nature Study Guide which is take a short walk in your yard or neighborhood and then come back inside and record words to describe your experience.

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas.

Spring Splendor Nature Walk Ideas

Homeschool Nature Study Members: Before beginning this series of challenges, use the Spring Splendor Notebook Page (Challenge on page 8 of your Spring Nature Study Curriculum and notebook page linked there as well) to build enthusiasm for the spring series of nature study. Keep the page in the front of your nature journal as a reminder of the three questions you hope to answer and the three activities you hope to accomplish.

Outdoor Hour Homeschool Nature Study Time

1. Enjoy some time outdoors this week as part of this challenge, including a few minutes of quiet observation if possible. Observe what early spring looks like in your neighborhood. Use all your senses. If you have young children, taking a walk and enjoying the season is the main point. You can work on adding words as your child gains confidence in nature study.
2. Homeschool Nature Study Members: Use the Spring Nature Walk Worksheet notebook page if you want more structure to your time outdoors.
3. Collect an item to sketch into your nature journal, perhaps a leaf or a flower.
4. Advanced Study: Take photos of spring flowers, birds, trees, leaves, or other objects you see during your outdoor time. Try taking photos from different angles and up close.

Follow-Up Activity

1. Use the Spring Splendor notebook page (Homeschool Nature Study Members) or your nature journal to record your time outdoors, including the prompts for descriptive words. You can brainstorm words with your children if they have trouble. Sketch or watercolor your spring scene in your nature journal or onto your notebook page.
2. Advanced Follow-Up: Make a slideshow with the images you took of your spring splendor walk. You can also print the images and include them in your nature journal.
3. Homeschool Nature Study Members: Optional coloring pages: Spring Woods 1 and Spring Woods 2.

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas.

More Spring Homeschool Nature Study

You might also like these simple ways to study nature in your homeschool!

Outdoor Hour Challenges with Homeschool Nature Study

If you enjoy any of these first day of spring nature study ideas, please share with us! Take a photo, share on social media and tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge – we would love to see and to comment!

John Muir quote

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these spring homeschool resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing homeschool nature study series plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

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Turtle Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for your homeschool. Includes activities for learning about tortoises and microscopic pond life too.

Turtle Nature Study Inside Preparation Work

Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for homeschool. Includes activities for tortoises and microscopic pond life.
  • Read in the Handbook of Nature Study about Turtles on pages 204-209 (Lesson 52). Also read about Pondweed on pages 498-500 (Lesson 130).
  • Homeschool Nature Study Members: Use the Pond Study Cross-section Notebook page in your Pond Course as a way to generate interest for this challenge. You can complete the page during your outdoor time if you would like.
  • Advanced Study: View and read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 400-403 (Lesson 102). Use this information as you make your observations at your local pond. Here is another idea for the field: Guide to Pond Dipping. I also found this excellent resource for identifying things you find when you scoop your pond water: Simple Guide to Small and Microscopic Pond Life.

Pond Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Time

  • Look for opportunities to spend your outdoor hour time at a pond. Ponds are a center of many nature study opportunities. Let your child lead your pond time (with your careful supervision).
  • Use the ideas from the lessons in the Handbook of Nature Study to observe closely any turtles or pondweed that you find. Make sure to keep an eye out for anything of interest that you can follow up with in the Handbook of Nature Study.
Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for homeschool. Includes activities for tortoises and microscopic pond life.

Turtle and Pond Follow-Up Homeschool Activities

  • Follow-up with any interest that you found during your pond study. Use the Handbook of Nature Study as a reference for any additional subjects that came up. Make a nature journal entry for your turtle or pondweed.
  • Homeschool Nature Study Members: Find a Pond Life Study on page three of your Pond Course and accompanying Pond Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum.
  • Advanced Study: You can research individual turtles for you nature journal. Use this website for more information: Turtles and Tortoises of the United States.
  • Advanced Study: Use the information from the Wetlands/Ponds video and create your own pond life images. You can record any pond dwellers in your nature journal. Ebook Users: There is also an additional notebook page in the ebook to use if you have more to record.

Additional links:

Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for homeschool. Includes activities for tortoises and microscopic pond life.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for the Whole Family

Can you believe all of these turtle and pond resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing homeschool nature study series plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

– By Barb July 2012, updated by Tricia March 2022

Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for homeschool. Includes activities for studying microscopic pond life.
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Animal Tracks Nature Hunt: Mammals Homeschool Study

Go on an animals tracks nature hunt for a great mammals homeschool study. Use these nature study lesson plans, suggestions, ideas and resources for identifying animal tracks!

Go on an animals tracks nature hunt for a great mammals homeschool study. Use these nature study lesson plans and resources for identifying animal tracks!

Mammals in Winter

Many mammals are nocturnal and you will rarely spot them to observe up close. Some mammals hibernate in the winter and they are not easily observed either. Many more mammals are just plain shy and rarely show their faces. Reading about them and learning their behaviors will help you find and observe them in the wild if you are diligent. It may not be this week or this year but you will be ready if you do the study ahead of time.

Easy Mammals Homeschool Nature Study Lesson Plans

Any study of mammals can be done with what you have on hand. Do you have a pet dog, cat, mouse, or rat? Do you have a relative or neighbor that has a dog or cat they will let you observe? How about visiting a pet store? Be creative.

For this challenge, you can use the Handbook of Nature Study to pick a mammal to study this winter. You could also choose to use the Discover Nature in Winter book to read about mammals and then use the information there to look for animal tracks during your outdoor time. Either way will give your family a great study of a mammal.


Animal Tracks Nature Hunt Ideas for Your Homeschool

Inside Preparation Work using the Discover Nature in Winter book:
Read chapter nine in Discover Nature in Winter. Mammals in general tend to be shy of humans. In the winter, it is even more difficult to observe mammals. The chapter suggests looking for signs of mammals instead like tracks and scat. Highlight ideas for your family to try this week while you are outdoors and looking for mammals.

how to find animal tracks in a homeschool nature study

Review the chart showing different animal tracks on page 182 and 183. Try sketching some of the tracks into your nature journal as a reference for future outdoor time. In our area, we often come across animal scat as we hike and we are going to familiarize ourselves with the various kinds of scat by studying the illustrations in this chapter.

Without the Discover Nature in Winter book:
You can still look up some animal tracks online using this link: Animal Tracks at Beartracker

Homeschool outdoor hour challenge time with the Handbook of Nature Study

Your Homeschool Outdoor Hour Challenge Time


This week the challenge is to get outdoors and look for signs of animals.
You can look for:

  • tracks
  • scat
  • holes
  • scratches
  • hair
  • other things that mammals leave behind

Remember to make your nature study time like an investigation or nature hunt.

Animal Tracks Follow-Up Homeschool Activities:


1. Keep a record of animal tracks you have observed in the snow or mud. Record your findings in your nature journal along with a drawing, the date, the weather, the time of day, and the type of animal if you have identified it at this time. You can use your own blank journal.
2. Compare a dog’s and a cat’s footprints in the snow or mud.
3. Research an animal that hibernates and record what you learn in your nature notebook.

You can also sketch your animal and what its tracks look like.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership Resources For Your Animal Tracks Hunt

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

Our members will enjoy even more for this animal tracks nature hunt with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Course!

These member resources will also be helpful:

  • Brand NEW Mammals Outdoor Hour Challenge Nature Study lesson post – all about sheep!
  • Mammal Notebook Page
  • Winter Series notebook page

Know you are ready to join us?

Go on an animals tracks nature hunt for a great mammals homeschool study. Use these nature study lesson plans and resources for identifying animal tracks!

Be sure to take photos of your animal tracks nature hunt time and share them with us! Tag us on social media on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge – we can’t wait to see!