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January Nature Studies Perfect for Winter Homeschooling

Enjoy January nature studies perfect for winter homeschooling! Make plans to get outside for a brisk nature walk and then to follow up with a nature journal page recording all of the interesting things you found while outside.

Enjoy January nature studies perfect for winter homeschooling! Make plans to get outside for a brisk nature walk and then to follow up with a nature journal page recording all of the interesting things you found while outside.
Photo by Amy Law

January Nature Studies Perfect for Winter Homeschooling

The best times I can remember with my children are the times we just took it slow and easy, looking for the little things that most people pass by. Turn over a rock and see what’s underneath. Look up in the branches of the trees and see if you can find any birds or other critters. Take a walk and listen to the crunch of the snow. Breathe the air and enjoy the day.

Go On a Winter Nature Walk

Getting outside for a walk in winter may be one of the most refreshing activities you could do with your children. Simple and fun!

snow experiments for your January homeschool
Melting snow nature study activity

Learn About Snow in January

In this homeschool snow study there is so much to discover! Included is a field guide to snow, experiments like filtering, guidance from the Handbook of Nature Study and more!

Enjoy January nature studies perfect for winter homeschooling! Make plans to get outside for a brisk nature walk and then to follow up with a nature journal page recording all of the interesting things you found while outside.

Study Insects In Your January Homeschool

We are focusing on winter insects in our homeschool nature study outdoor hour challenges. We are using the Winter Wednesday course and Handbook of Nature Study curriculum with our members. You can join our membership at any time. You will find a button at the end of this post that will take you to the signup page.

When Winter Weather Drives Your Homeschool Nature Studies Indoors

Taking your winter nature studies indoors when the weather outdoors is proving to be a challenge may be just the thing you need every once in a while. We have a lovely post from the archives to inspire your homeschool nature studies indoors for those days that you can’t face getting outdoors.

Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

January Homeschool Bird Study

Winter Bird Study for Your Homeschool – Even when the landscape is covered in snow or ice or mud, there are always birds that will come to visit if you create a little bird-friendly habitat with some seeds, suet, and freshwater. You can observe birds right from your window if the weather isn’t friendly. Or, if you have the right conditions, take a bird walk in a nearby wood. Winter is an amazing time to stroll your neighborhood looking for resident or visiting birds.

Winter Homeschool Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation

This winter homeschool nature study curriculum contains all the nature study Outdoor Hour Challenges, custom notebook pages for nature study as well as art and music appreciation, and three months’ worth of art and music appreciation.

Writing this winter homeschool nature study curriculum has helped us appreciate the winter season more than we ever have before. Part of our enthusiasm has come from spending more time outdoors bundled up with our families exploring the winter landscape.

More Winter Homeschool Nature Study Resources

Here are even more winter nature studies for you to enjoy together:

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Enjoy all kinds of January nature studies perfect for winter homeschooling! Get outside for a brisk nature walk and follow up with a nature journal page.

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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Creating a Nature Journal Supply Kit for Your Homeschool

Here are some tips for creating a nature journal supply kit for your homeschool. It is simple, inexpensive and is easy to do!

Creating a nature journal with your children is an experience you all can enjoy. I always told my children (and myself) that there’s really no right or wrong way to create a page, except if you never gave it a try. Over the years, I had to create a routine for nature journaling or we would procrastinate or forget it altogether.

One way to give us a better chance of creating a nature journal was to take our journal and our supplies along on our nature walk so we could create a page right at the moment. But, this meant I needed to be a little prepared before we left the house.

So, we created a nature journal supply kit.

Nature Journal supplies basic. Here are some tips for creating a nature journal supply kit for your homeschool. It is simple, inexpensive and is easy to do!

Creating a Nature Journal Supply Kit for Your Homeschool

What did we take along with us?

When the children were younger they exclusively used spiral bound journals because they were easier to take along with us when we did our sketching. We used No. 2 pencils and colored pencils pretty much for all the entries.

Nature Journal supplies pouch with pens pencils

For variety and as they grew older, we started to use colored pencils and thin markers to create our nature entries. Watercolors often gave a wonderful result but they required a bit more effort because you needed to bring along a water source, the brushes, and a paper towel or cloth in addition to the journal.

Nature Journal Kit in ziploc

I found that keeping our supplies all together in one spot and storing them in an easy to find place, made it more likely that we would actually complete a page while we were taking our Outdoor Hour.

I suggest you find a container like a plastic crate, a tote bag, or a backpack to use as a storage container for your journal supplies. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Don’t use anything too large or too heavy or you won’t want to lug it around on your nature walks.

Nature Journal supplies watercolors

I have a plastic container that I purchased at the Dollar Tree store many years ago that has held up nicely, but I’m sure you have something sitting around your house that you could start off using for now.

Gather your supplies and remember to keep it simple. A few No. 2 pencils with erasers, a small set of colored pencils, a small set of watercolors and a brush, some tape, a pair of scissors, a water container, and a pencil sharpener can form the foundation of your supply kit.

Over time, your family will find favorite supplies to have when journaling on the road. The most important part of journaling is to have experiences to document on the journal pages. Start there. Create the opportunity for a good nature study and then follow up with a little time to work in your nature journal.

“It was time for new nature notebooks for sure. We purchased these smaller versions of our old notebooks at a Michael’s, and I think they’ll be just perfect. We’ve tried them out, and we are finding the smaller size to be super convenient. I love all the fun colors!” – Amy Law

The habit of nature journaling is something that will benefit your child long after they have grown up. It teaches important observation and documenting skills that will benefit other areas of study and real life.

Handbook of Nature Study: an Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum - Nature Journaling

More Nature Journal Encouragement For The Entire Family

Here are some more ideas and encouragement on nature journaling for you and your children:

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Homeschool Nature Study Resource: Keeping a Nature Journal – Review

Keeping a Nature Journal is a great homeschool nature study resource and contains a wealth of ideas that you can pick and choose to use as inspiration. This book is a tool like so many other tools we use in our family’s nature study.

This book is a great homeschool nature study resource and contains a wealth of ideas that you can pick and choose to use as inspiration. Keeping a Nature Journal, is a tool like so many other tools we use in our family's nature study.
Photos by Amy Law

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Homeschool Nature Study Resource

This is a book that many of us own and is sitting on our shelf. It may also be a book that you have looked at online, have seen others using, or actually paged through at a bookstore. It is a familiar book that I have a love/hate relationship because of the perceived expectation that it creates for journalers.

Many of us struggle with perfection. We think that a nature journal should be a place of beauty and value…which I agree with wholeheartedly. But, it also can be a place that we experiment and mess up from time to time. A smear here or a misspelled word or funky drawing we don’t like can also appear on a nature journal page. Those “mess ups” shouldn’t keep us from striving to create pages on a regular basis.

Don’t let the great page examples overwhelm or discourage but allow them to create a reservoir of ideas to use over the years as you fill your journal.

A review of Keeping a Nature Journal Homeschool Nature Study Resource

Quick Thoughts About the Book

Note: page numbers are from the first edition

  • This is a book for all ages to use as they learn to keep a nature journal.
  • You will find ideas for using a nature journal in all curriculum areas on page 165 (A Curriculum Web for Nature Journaling).
  • The “Getting Started with Drawing” section (pages 139-153) would be a wonderful basis for an art course using nature as your subject.
  • I found the section titled, “Subjects to Observe, Draw, Record throughout the Seasons“, to be a wonderful inspiration and I intend to refer to it for my own use. Each season is listed in the chart along with ideas for drawing birds, animals, plants and trees, weather and sky, and seasonal celebrations.
  • ***I see the second edition of this book has an expanded section showing more of Claire’s actual journal pages.

Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth gives this long term nature journal mom some fresh ideas that I can’t wait to use in the upcoming summer season.

Find this great resource HERE.

More Homeschool Reviews

Are you making your nature journal your sidekick this summer?

Previous Month’s Books and Reviews and More Nature Journaling Homeschool Resources

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!

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Monthly Nature Journal Activities For Your Homeschool

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.

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.
Photos by Amy Law

The Value Of Nature Journaling In Your Homeschool

Paging through the completed journals gives such a sense of accomplishment, each page a nugget of learning from your nature study.

This time of year is an opportunity to reflect on our goals and habits. I don’t know about you but one thing that has been a little neglected over the last year is my nature journal.

Monthly Projects For Nature Journaling

Our Homeschool Nature Study members will receive new nature journal activities each month! I jotted down a list of journal ideas for each month of the year. Creating a  page a month will be a simple and reachable goal and I hope it will help you and your family to complete a few pages too.

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.

Homeschool Nature Journal Supplies Needed?

Let’s keep it simple. Pull your nature journal off the shelf or out of your backpack and take a look at what you have done so far and decide if your journal choice is inspiring you or hindering you.

Or, if you are new to nature journaling, take a trip to the office supply store and look over your journal choices. It is important to like the feel and size of your journal. I like to use sketchbooks but some people like to use fancier journals.

Here are a couple I have used in the past and really liked. They lie flat, are spiral bound, and they hold up to just about any medium I want to use (including watercolor with varying results).

Some links may be affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Nature Journals

The point is not to get hung up on choosing a journal but just pick one and get started!

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.

Art Supplies for Writing and Sketching

I use a variety of things to write in my journal.

  • If you have a good black pen you like pull that out and keep it with your journal.
  • Gel pens
  • Prismacolor markers and Prismacolor watercolor pencils round out my nature journal writing and sketching choices.
  • Don’t forget a good old No. 2 pencil is always handy for making quick sketches in your journal.

Other Journaling Supplies

Other items that may be helpful for your nature journal activities include a small ruler, a jar lid for making circles, double sided tape to adhere items in your nature journal, a pencil sharpener, and a small cup and paint brush for working with watercolor pencils.

More Encouragement

Handbook of Nature Study nature journaling

Nature Journal Series Overview By Month

The first months of nature journal activities is ready for Homeschool Nature Study members in the Nature Journaling course in membership. This will give members the rest of the month to spend some time outdoors as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge or other family activity and then create a journal using the suggestion.

Each lesson is filled with ideas and how tos for your family:

  • June – Sketch Outside
  • July – Using Your 5 Senses

More nature journal activities coming for members each month!

Monthly Nature Journal Activities For Your Homeschool

Share Your Nature Journals!

Share a photo of your nature journal and tag us on social media @outdoorhourchallenge Join us in continuing this fun Nature Journal Project started by our founder, Barb McCoy!

Browse examples by others on this Nature Journal Pinterest board.

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 Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling for Your Homeschool

I have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool. <<<<< This book is going to help me in my journaling and drawing skills immensely.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

This review includes Amazon.com affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling – Review

I finally received The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws from our public library and it has taken a few weeks to get through an initial read through of this detailed and thorough book. My first reaction was one of happy surprise.

I would have been happy with this book just being a helpful “how to” sort of book with suggestions and hints for getting started with drawing in my nature journal. It was much more than I expected! The sections at the beginning of the book were a delight as they unfolded many ideas and insightful help in the philosophy and methodology behind nature journaling. Laws reminds us that careful and thoughtful observations should be the backbone of our nature study.

“Copying the journaling approaches of others will not reduce your own creativity or make you a clone of another person. You will incorporate what you find useful into your own style and discard what does not work for you.” John Muir Laws (page 63)

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is full of inspiring illustrations that are not just in the book to be pretty. He breaks his example pages down to show how we can use the ideas and patterns in our own journals.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

 

There are many, many specific drawing tutorials for everyday subjects you may encounter in your nature travels like frogs, flowers, trees, birds, and so much more. This section of the book could be the basis for a complete course in nature journaling. If my children were still homeschooling, my brain would be organizing the material so we could work through it methodically.

“Before you pick up your journal again, reform your intentions; let go of the goal of making a pretty picture. You don’t have to be good at drawing to discover amazing things through the process of journaling. John Muir Laws (page 86)

One of my favorite sections in this book is the two page spread that is titled, “A Road Map from Wishes to Practice”. On these two pages, John Muir Laws puts into words so much of what I try to encourage my blog readers to remember about journaling – everyone can draw with practice!

Take Your Nature Journaling Skills to the Next Level

If you are new to drawing or feel you don’t have a gift for drawing, this book is going to be a perfect bridge for you to get from where you are to the next level. It has specific step by step tutorials that will give you the confidence to start a practice of journaling. The author gives us all encouragement that we can take our skills to the next level with lots of practice and we will only fail if we give up or don’t try!

I highly recommend The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. I am going to be purchasing it to help me in my nature goal for 2017 to create a nature journal page each week. It will be a very beloved and well used book that I will keep in my personal nature reference library. I may be purchasing a few as gifts to share with some young friends I know that love nature and drawing.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

The Laws Guide To Nature Drawing And Journaling: An Overview

  • If you read this book, don’t miss the first 17 pages. There are some fundamental ideas found there that I truly think will shape my thinking about science and nature study for a long time to come. He has gathered some important ideas on these pages and I would hate to think you are going to skip them to get to the drawing tutorials.
  • He suggests using the prompts I notice, I wonder, and It reminds me of to help us go a little deeper in our nature journaling.
  • There are project ideas that help you get started as you face a blank page. Check out pages 20 and 21.
  • Although this book is written by someone who lives on the west coast of the United States, the ideas and tutorials are applicable to anyone no matter where you live.
  • There is a comprehensive supplies list with specific suggestions that I found extremely helpful. I am a firm believer that having quality materials and a variety of media to choose from makes all the difference in your results.
  • Not only does he have a list of supplies, he has pages dedicated to showing you exactly how to use the pencils, pens, colored pencils, gouche, watercolors, and watercolor pencils in your nature journal, including some common mistakes beginners make using the materials. Helpful!
  • If you have never checked out the author’s website, you NEED to: John Muir Laws.

Look for this book at your public library or put it on your Amazon wishlist!

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

first published 2017

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3 Tips for Nature Journaling When You Think You Can’t Sketch

Here is some encouragement for you with 3 tips for nature journaling when you think you can’t sketch. My personal nature journal is a source of great joy and it gives me such pleasure to create pages that record my observations and memories of a particular day, excursion, or season.

Enjoy encouragement with 3 tips for nature journaling when you think you can't sketch. Your nature journal can be a source of great joy in your homeschool.
Photo by Amy Law

This post is directed to moms who think that they can’t start a nature journal because of a lack of drawing skills.

Nature Journals For The Mom Who Doesn’t Sketch

I do very little actual sketching in my nature journal but have learned to use a variety of techniques to keep each page fresh and in touch with my personal style.

So what should you remember if you think you can’t sketch and you want to start a nature journal?

Enjoy encouragement with 3 tips for nature journaling when you think you can't sketch. Your nature journal can be a source of great joy in your homeschool.
Photo by Amy Law

3 Tips for Nature Journaling When You Think You Can’t Sketch

1. Keep it simple and don’t be afraid to get started in nature journaling.


A blank page can intimidate even the most seasoned journal-keeper. Work through your fear of failure by starting small and keeping it simple. Be a good role model. If you have children and you are encouraging them to keep a nature journal, you can empathize with their feelings of inadequacy. Be brave and your children will look to your example and be more confident about their own journals.

2. Use a variety of ideas…find something that works for you.


You are not required to sketch. Try something else. Keep a list, include an photo, copy a poem or some facts…just get started. Don’t wait. You may someday feel like sketching or watercoloring in your journal but it is not a requirement. There are no rules for nature journals. Use color and a few well placed decorations to make your journal more personalized if you feel inclined.

3. A nature journal can be a private place of joy.


Keep in mind the purpose of a nature journal and remind yourself that it is a personal keepsake and record of your thoughts and experiences. You do not need to share it with anyone…in real life or on the internet. If it makes you happy that is all that counts.

Taking it one page at a time, you will build a treasured spot for your nature study and outdoor memories.

3 Tips for Nature Journaling When You Think You Can’t Sketch - Taking it one page at a time, you will build a treasured spot for your nature study and outdoor memories.

More Nature Journal Encouragement For The Entire Family

Here are some more ideas and encouragement on nature journaling for you and your children:

first published by Barb 2012

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How to Make Leaf Rubbings for Your Homeschool Nature Study

Taking the time to draw leaves helps you observe the details. For young children, a wonderful starting place for a homeschool leaf nature study is to make leaf rubbings.

When my children were young, autumn walks always included collecting colorful leaves. We might get home with handfuls of leaves in a rainbow of autumn shades. We would talk about the shapes and what tree each leaf came from or which ones were our favorites. Once home, we’d pull out crayons or markers and attempt to draw a few of the leaves on paper to be hung on the refrigerator or given as gifts to grandparents. Nature study was casual and enjoyable.

As they grew older and we would be out during our homeschool day, I would sometimes follow up with a more detailed nature study lesson using the Handbook of Nature Study or our tree field guide. The amount of information we would cover really depended on the children’s interest and my aim. By high school we were more deliberate in our autumn leaf studies using more scientific vocabulary and I expected them to create a more detailed nature journal as part of our more formal science lessons.

Learning about trees, leaves, autumn, and the neighborhood can build over many years and still seem to be just a part of learning about the world we live in and the trees that share the same space.

I love this quote from Anna Botsford Comstock:

“During autumn the attention of the children should be attracted to the leaves by their gorgeous colors. It is well to use this interest to cultivate their knowledge of the forms of leaves of trees; but the teaching of the tree species to the young child should be done quite incidentally and guardedly. If the teacher says to the child bringing a leaf, ‘This is a white-oak leaf,’ the child will soon quite unconsciously learn that leaf by name. Thus, tree study may be begun in the kindergarten or the primary grades.” Anna Botsford-Comstock

Leaf Homeschool Nature Study: How to Make Leaf Rubbings

I have many resources here on my website that will help your family learn about leaves, some for younger students and some for older and more advanced students. I’ve found that taking time to draw leaves makes you observe them closely and see the specific features each tree’s leaves involve.

I highly recommend starting with simple sketching and/or rubbing of leaves with younger children.

  • You can watch my short YouTube video that shares some of my tips for drawing leaves, how to make leaf rubbings, and using a flower press for pressing leaves here: Tips for Drawing Leaves.
  • You may wish to complete the Outdoor Hour Challenge that features collecting leaves. Click over and read how to complete a simple leaf study: Collecting Leaves.
  • Watercolor crayons demonstration – Fall Leaf for the Nature Journal. I created this YouTube video a long time ago that shows how I use watercolor crayons in my nature journal. It makes me want to go gather some leaves and do this again in my nature journal!

  • Making Leaf Prints with Ink: This activity is wonderful for older students to quickly create a leaf nature journal page using ink pads and leaves they collect.
  • Image of the cover 9/15 NL

Now that autumn is here, I’m trying to embrace its beauty. We don’t have much “fall color” here in my part of the world but the little bit we do have will be appreciated and perhaps even make its way into my nature journal.

Members can look in the library for many more printable tree and leaf activities and notebook pages in the Trees course.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find hundreds of homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges 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!

Taking the time to draw leaves helps you observe the details. For young children, a wonderful starting place for a homeschool leaf nature study is to make leaf rubbings.
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Charlotte Mason Nature Study For Your Homeschool

Just how do you enjoy a Charlotte Mason nature study for your homeschool? Let’s look at some advice from Charlotte Mason herself and apply it in a simple way to our own outdoor times.

Charlotte Mason Nature Study for Your Homeschool

All quotes are from Charlotte Mason (modern English), volume 3

“One afternoon a week, the students in our ‘Practicing School’ [taught by the student teachers at Charlotte Mason’s teacher’s college] go for a ‘nature walk’ with their teacher. They notice things by themselves, and the teacher tells them the name or gives other information only if they ask for it.”

“The teachers are careful not to turn these nature walks into an opportunity to give science lessons, because they want the children’s attention to be focused on their own observations.”

“They’re allowed to notice things with very little direction from the teacher. By doing this, children accumulate a good collection of ‘common knowledge.’ ”

-Charlotte Mason

“Even more important, students learn to know and take pleasure in objects from nature like they do in the familiar faces of friends.”

-Charlotte Mason

Nature Study in Your Own Backyard

I have certainly given my share of “science lessons” during our nature walks and nature time. I am getting better about letting the children direct me to what they are curious about. I see the wisdom in allowing them to explore and learn in a way that makes sense to them, but I can be available to assist them with questions they might have. I am pretty comfortable with telling them that I don’t know the answer to their question and then find someone or some resource that does have the answer.

“The nature walk shouldn’t be used as a chance to dispense miscellaneous tidbits of scientific facts.”

-Charlotte Mason

These principles are the same whether your nature study takes place in your backyard, on the trail, or during some other nature study outing. As the parent, you set the mood. If you quietly observe your children, you will see what they are drawn to learn more about without much effort.

Try it the next time you are having your outdoor time.

Photo by Amy Law

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.”

You can feel free to pick and choose which questions you will give your homeschool high school student according to their interest and abilities.

You can successfully continue nature study with your teenagers. They may need some encouragement to make the study their own by adjusting your subjects, your methods of follow-up, and your attitude towards what nature study should look like.

More Resources for Charlotte Mason Nature Study Time

Besides our free Getting Started in the Outdoor Hour Challenges download, we invite you to enjoy these wonderful nature resources.

You will find hundreds of Charlotte Mason style homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges in our Homeschool Nature Study membership.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find hundreds of Charlotte Mason style homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges 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!

How do you enjoy a Charlotte Mason nature study for your homeschool? Look at advice from Charlotte Mason herself and apply it to outdoor times.
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The Homeschool Nature Journal Habit

Keeping a nature journal and building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. You will find nature journal ideas for everyone from young children to the homeschool mom!

The Homeschool Nature Journal Habit

Like all habits, the habit of keeping a nature journal starts by making it a regular part of your routine. I’ve found that families that create a simple nature journal page after their outdoor time are the most successful at keeping that habit over time. Don’t make it too complicated or overthink the process.

Many of us struggle with perfection. We think that a nature journal should be a place of beauty and value…which I agree with wholeheartedly. But, it also can be a place that we experiment and mess up from time to time. A smear here or a misspelled word or funky drawing we don’t like can also appear on a nature journal page. Those “mess ups” shouldn’t keep us from establishing a nature journaling habit.

Building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. Find nature journal ideas for everyone here!

The Benefit of Nature Journals for Young Children

I can’t emphasize enough that the single most important factor in starting a nature journaling habit in your family is the example you as the parent can set for your children. If you regularly get out your own nature journal and make entries, eventually your children will participate alongside you. Charlotte Mason wrote that if a child is too young to write or create their own journal entry, the mother can be their secretary and help them with the writing portion of a nature journal entry.

In my experience, many times after a nature walk, my kids were eager to do a sketch of something they observed while outdoors. Those pages may not be elaborate, but they are personal to the child.

See Outdoor Hour Challenge #2 Using Your Words and Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 Now is the Time to Draw for help getting started with simple nature journals with your children. If you’re a Member, you can download the Getting Started ebook for additional information and printable journal pages.

nature journal for homeschool mom
Nature Journal Page by Shirley Ann Vels https://buildingahouseholdoffaith.com/

Nature Journals for Homeschool Moms – Good Habits Start With You

It is my journal, and it can be any way that I wish it to be. When I first started journaling back in approximately 2008, I felt the pressure to make my entries pretty and artistic. The examples I could find online were by real artists and not just a regular mom like myself. I needed to stop comparing myself and just be inspired by these other nature journal pages.

Keeping a nature journal is a long-term life project. My nature journal goes with me on every trip we take….I have packed it three times to Hawaii, to Yellowstone, on countless trips to Yosemite, and on most every little day trip I make. Do I always remember to pull it out and record things? No. Do I wish I would have made more entries? Yes. There is the lesson: Once you build the habit of journaling, you will be more excited about recording all your nature experiences whether they are close to home or far away on an adventure.

If you want your drawing skills to improve, you must practice. That’s a tough one for most of us. I did not come from an artistic background so giving myself permission to try to learn to draw or paint or do anything artistic took a big shove from my husband. It took time and effort. My suggestion for people who are striving to do a better job in sketching is to go to your library and go to the children’s section first and check out “how to draw” books and use them alongside your children. I checked one out on how to draw insects and one on how to draw birds and then found some nature sketching books to try. These experiences with the book open in front of you and your sketching from the step by step instructions will eventually spill over into your nature journal. The added bonus is that you will be modeling for your children the process and the effort to nature journal. There is no magic formula, but your success is equal to the effort you are willing to put into it.

Nature Journal Resources For Your Homeschool

Simple Nature Journal Ideas (on Hubpages): This is a thorough collection of my simple to use nature journal ideas and a resource for my picks for nature journaling supplies.

Nature Journal Examples: This link will take you to a Flickr album with many nature journal pages our family has created.

Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to lIfe in your homeschool

Nature Journaling in the Handbook of Nature Study:

  • Pages 13-15 (The Field Notebook). In this section Anna Botsford Comstock helps us with a detailed description of her idea of a field notebook or nature journal. She also states that if done properly “they represent what cannot be bought or sold, personal experience in the happy world of out-of-doors”. Make note of any suggestions you want to implement with your children.
  • Page 17 (The Correlation of Nature Study and Drawing). Highlight the points that will help you with your nature journals. “Too much have we emphasized drawing as an art; it may be an art, if the one who draws is an artist; but if he is not an artist, he still has a right to draw if it pleases him to do so.”
Building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. Find nature journal ideas for everyone here!

Nature Journal Outdoor Hour Challenges in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 – Now is the Time to Draw: This challenge from the free Getting Started series is a perfect way to begin small with nature journaling. Members can download the ebook and the notebook pages that go along with it to introduce a nature journal to your children.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #2 – Using Your Words: If you’re having trouble coming up with words for your nature journal, this challenge will give you some direction.

You can always use any of the printable notebook pages in the Homeschool Nature Study membership for your nature journal.

If you’re not a member 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 homeschool family.

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Ideas for Drawing in Your Nature Journal

Here are some great resources you can use as ideas for drawing in your nature journal. Several are links to coloring pages but I like their black line drawings that simplify an object so we can learn to draw them on our own in our journals.

Make sure to check out all the links even if they are from a state or habitat other than one where you currently live. Many times there are animals, plants, and birds that you will have in your location too. I don’t necessarily print the coloring book pages out and color them. We will use them as a guide to draw our own sketches of things we see in our Outdoor Hour Challenge or for our nature journal.

Ideas For Drawing in Your Nature Journal

Drawing Wildflowers in Your Nature Journal

Celebrating Wildflowers from the US Forest Service
These coloring pages are in PDF format so once you bring up the page, you can print out just the page you want and there is no need to print every page out on your printer.

Birds Homeschool Nature Study

Feeder Birds Coloring Book from Cornell
These are not only coloring pages but could actually be used as notebooking pages for your nature journal. I print out the table of contents to keep in my notebook as a reference. This way I know what birds are included in the coloring book.

How to Sketch Trees

Guide to Tree Sketching
I’ve shared this one before but it is worth listing again.

Drawing Flowers and Plants

How to Draw Flowers and Plants
Step by step to various garden flowers

Drawing Ducks

How to Draw a Duck on YouTube

Magnifying glass for a close up look at a butterfly in your homeschool nature study.

More Drawing Resources for Your Homeschool

 Here are some great resources you can use as ideas for drawing in your nature journal. Perfect for using for your homeschool nature study.

Hope there is something here that will help you with your endeavors to draw in your nature journal.

More Nature Journal Resources for Your Homeschool Nature Study

Here are several more posts I have shared on using a nature journal with your homeschool studies:

Homeschool Nature Study Membership. Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find a continuing series on nature journaling plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. Plus 25+ continuing courses with matching 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!

-First published by Barb May 2008. Updated January 2022 by Tricia.