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Homeschool Nature Study for Teens: Three Steps For Success

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.

Make your homeschool nature study for teens engaging and fun with these three steps for success. Includes practical examples.

Homeschool 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

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.
Make your homeschool nature study for teens engaging and fun with these three steps for success. Includes practical examples.

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.

Three Steps To A Better Nature Study Experience for Homeschool Teens

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 (NOTE: Homeschool Nature Study members have this guide in your Getting Started course in membership):

Get Your Three Steps To Nature Study Success Guide!

Subscribe to get your free nature study success guide.

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Three Steps to a Better Nature Study Experience How to Offer Age-Appropriate Nature Study for the Whole Family

    Homeschool Nature Study members will find this resource in your Getting Started course when logged in to membership.

    If you are not yet a member, you can download this resource for free, below:

    Make your homeschool nature study for teens engaging and fun with these three steps for success. Includes practical examples.

    What Can Parents Do? How to Encourage Homeschool Nature Study With Your Teens

    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
    • to 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 Homeschool Mom 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.

    More Homeschool High School Nature Study Encouragement

    Here is even more information on how nature study can enrich your homeschool teen’s high school experience:

    Advanced Studies in Each Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Nature Study

    Each week when we release a new Outdoor Hour Challenge, we include advanced studies with our older students in mind.

    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.”

    Make your homeschool nature study for teens engaging and fun with these three steps for success. Includes practical examples.

    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 children’s 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.

    Written by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy and updated by Tricia.

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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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    First Day of Winter Nature Walk Ideas for Your Homeschool

    Enjoy these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Getting outside for a walk on the first day of winter may be one of the most refreshing activities you could do with your children.

    The temperatures drop and we huddle inside more and more, especially on the shortest day of the year! 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.

    Get outside with your family with these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Simple and fun prompts to do together.

    First Day of Winter Nature Walk Ideas for Your Homeschool

    Encourage everyone to use all of their senses on this walk. Here are some winter nature walk ideas:

    • Did they see something colorful or unusual?
    • How does the air feel on your skin?
    • Is there a particular fragrance to the air?
    • Can you listen carefully for a minute or two to distinguish any particular sounds?

    Another idea is to ask your children to find differences in the landscape, comparing your neighborhood habitat on this winter day to what they remember about the first day of summer. This is a little harder and you may need to help them get started with a few of your own observations.

    Get outside with your family with these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Simple and fun prompts to do together.

    More Winter Homeschool Nature Study Resources

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

    Take Your Homeschool Winter Study 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.

    Make Memories Together This Winter

    Most importantly, take along a good attitude and leave yourself open to whatever the experience brings. Allow your children to direct you to things they find interesting and then share in their excitement. A good nature walk is pleasurable for everyone and allows you and your children to develop a relationship with our Creator.

    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. Sit quietly by the edge of a pond or stream and see what comes along. Breathe the air and enjoy the day.

    There’s a printable in Homeschool Nature Study Membership for the First Day of Winter Nature Walk for you to use as part of this activity. A simple list and a sketch will make a perfect follow up to your outdoor time.

    Get outside with your family with these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Simple and fun prompts to do together.

    Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

    First published by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy.

    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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    Nature Study Crafts For Kids: Easy Activities For Learning And Fun!

    Nature study crafts for kids are a hands on way to learn. What beautiful and easy activities for learning and FUN! Let us show you how.

    Nature study crafts for kids are a hands on way to learn. What beautiful and easy activities for learning and FUN! Let us show you how.

    Nature Study For Kids

    There is such value in adding nature study! Getting outside for a walk may be one of the most refreshing activities you could do with your children. Not only will you be learning about the beautiful creation in your very own backyard but you will be building lasting memories together.

    And, gathering supplies from your yard makes doing a nature craft together even more fun! Spend a little bit of time outdoors then come inside and create. You could even stay outdoors and be crafty on a nice day.

    Nature study crafts for kids are a hands on way to learn. What beautiful and easy activities for learning and FUN! Let us show you how.

    Nature Study Craft Activities For Learning and Fun

    Using our nature craft activities makes nature study easy on mom because our craft artist, Victoria, leads you and your students, step by step. Victoria grew up participating in the Outdoor Hour Challenges with her family. Nature has always inspired her work, right from when she was young. She, along with her sister, would go on weekly nature walks following lessons from the Handbook of Nature Study to learn about the beauty of our natural world. She has found through years of nature study that the slow and simple process of painting and being surrounded by nature has become her form of escapism from such a fast paced and material world.

    Each craft activity is seasonal and matches what you are already studying in your homeschool. Plus, nature crafts are just so much fun!

    Here are a few examples of the nature study craft activities you can enjoy in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

    Nature study crafts for kids are a hands on way to learn. What beautiful and easy activities for learning and FUN! Let us show you how.

    Ice Nature Art

    Ice art incorporating foraged berries, leaves, cones or whatever else you find in nature makes for a beautiful garden decoration…even of it only lasts a few hours.

    How to Make Forage Fairies

    This homeschool nature craft makes it so much fun to get outdoors and forage for your supplies.

    How to Make a Leaf Mask

    You will love making a nature craft with leaves! We will be making these gorgeous leaf masks with only a handful of supplies. Let your creativity go wild with these masks!

    Other nature study crafts include:

    • Last Days of Summer Wreath
    • Flower Hammered Note Cards
    • How to Make a Pouch for Your Nature Journal
    • Pressed Flower Vase

    With new nature study crafts for Homeschool Nature Study annual members each month!

    Nature study crafts for kids are a hands on way to learn. What beautiful and easy activities for learning and FUN! Let us show you how.

    More Resources For Nature Study In Your Homeschool

    We love the nature crafts Victoria shares! And, did you know that Victoria’s mother, Shirley Vels, is your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess? Not only does Shirley share your new, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge, she also encourages fellow homeschool moms with her monthly Outdoor Mom lessons in membership as well!

    Find out more about the Outdoor Mom encouragement and prompts in The Joy of Nature Study in Your Homeschool Year.

    If you are not a Homeschool Nature Study membership 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.

    nature membership for your homeschool

    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!

    Annual members of Homeschool Nature Study enjoy access to both the Nature Crafts course AND Outdoor Mom plus more exclusive courses and content.

    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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    Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool This Winter

    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.

    Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool This Winter

    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.
    Photos by Amy Law

    Take a First Day of Winter Nature Walk

    Getting outside for a walk on the first day of winter may be one of the most refreshing activities you could do with your children. The temperatures drop and we huddle inside more and more, especially on the shortest day of the year!

    “The most obvious work of nature has been the preparation for winter. A wide range of observation should be used to impress the truth: the trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, and stored the provisions for spring in the buds and branches; many softer plants die down to the ground, storing the food in roots, others in bulbs, and still others in tubers. The question may be asked for each plant that comes up for observation – How did it get ready for winter?”

    Nature Study by Months
    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.

    1. Take a walk this week and spend a few minutes looking at the plants in your yard and neighborhood. Look for bushes and trees without leaves, stopping to note that these plants are many times not dead but just waiting for spring to begin a new growth cycle. Don’t go into too much detail but allow time for quiet observation.

    2. After your outdoor time, spend a few minutes discussing how plants get ready for winter. You can bring out the following points:

    • Some plants (Annuals) have seeds that survive the winter even when the plant does not.
    • Other plants (Perennials) have roots that survive the winter and start to grow again in the spring.
    • Deciduous trees shed their leaves, conserve food, and have buds that are waiting until spring to open and grow.

    3. Make a nature journal entry recording anything of interest from your outdoor time.

    Alternately, 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.

    animal tracks in winter

    Animals in Winter Homeschool Nature Study

    “The same thought should be applied to the animals. Most of the birds have gone south because of the cold, and also because their food is gone; the frogs, turtles, and toads are going to sleep all winter down in the mud or earth below the frost; the caterpillars are waiting in their cocoons for the warm spring sunshine; most of the other insects have laid their eggs for the next season, while a few of them have crawled into warm places to wait; the squirrels have gathered a store of nuts, and will soon be asleep in the old tree-trunks; the cats dogs, horses, and cows have grown a fresh coat of hair and fur. Nothing is forgotten; each is ready in its own best way.”

    Nature Study by Months

    Ideas to Prepare for Outdoor Study:

    This will be another easy week of nature study that will blend easily with other Outdoor Hour Challenges. Take the opportunity to spend some time outdoors noticing the way that animals prepare for winter. Make this one an investigation!

    You might prepare with a little discussion about the various animals and birds that live in your local area. Some ideas to get you started:

    • migrating or visiting birds
    • squirrels gathering nuts
    • insects in cocoons
    • changes in color of various animals as they prepare for the white of the snow time
    • You can also read this article: Animals in Winter.
    snow homeschool nature study
    Snow Outdoor Hour Challenge included in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

    Get Outside!

    Bundle up and spend fifteen minutes outdoors enjoying the December world. A good nature walk is pleasurable for everyone and allows you and your children to appreciate God’s beautiful creation. 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.

    Look for signs of animals and think about ways they prepare for winter. You can also make bird and animal observations, noting their behavior. How are they staying warm? finding food? sheltering from the weather?

    Encourage everyone to use all of their senses on this walk:

    • Did they see something colorful or unusual?
    • How does the air feel on your skin?
    • Is there a particular fragrance to the air?
    • Can you listen carefully for a minute or two to distinguish any particular sounds?

    Another idea is to ask your children to find differences in the landscape, comparing your neighborhood habitat on this winter day to what they remember about the first day of summer. This is a little harder and you may need to help them get started with a few of your own observations.

    More Outdoor Hour Challenge Ideas:

    • 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.
    • Sit quietly by the edge of a pond or stream and see what comes along.
    • Breathe the air and enjoy the day.
    indoor winter nature study ideas for your homeschool

    Follow Up Indoor Winter Nature Study Activities:

    • After your outdoor time allow time for a nature journal entry. Use the notebook page or the journal idea from the December Newsletter to record your observations of anything that your child finds interesting. I also have a December World Notebook Page included Homechool Nature Study Membership or you can use one of the journaling pages included in the free membership sample, below.
    • Maybe this week you could use a different art medium in your journal…many of us get stuck in a rut. Offer colored pencils, thin markers, watercolors, or pastels.

    Paint a Winter Frosty Leaf in Chalk Pastels

    Nana of You ARE an ARTiST offers a sample of her winter art lessons series in You ARE an ARTiST Complete Clubhouse membership. Suggested supplies: dark blue construction paper and leaf chalk pastel colors. Baby wipes or slightly damp paper towel for easy clean up.

    • You could also try offering modeling clay as an alternative to drawing the subject this week and then take a photo of the finished product to include in the nature journal.
    • Additional Link: Animals in Winter lapbook – free printable

    Not all nature study needs to happen outdoors during the winter season! There are so many lovely ideas for you in Taking Your Winter Nature Study Indoors.

    Wonderful Winter Homeschool Nature Study Topics

    In Homeschool Nature Study membership, each challenge gives you step by step instructions to get started with simple weekly nature study ideas…even in the middle of winter! This may just be what your homeschool week needs to get you through the cold winter days of January, February, and March.

    Each challenge is written for you to complete in your own neighborhood or backyard and you can adapt each challenge to fit your local area with suggestions I offer with each topic. Don’t be discouraged if you look at the list of topics and think you don’t have that particular subject close at hand. I will guide you through finding a replacement to still offer you a weekly dose of nature study.

    The winter homeschool nature study challenges were written for families with children of all ages. In addition to the regular challenge, I have bumped up the nature study for older or more experienced children, complete with their own set of notebooking pages. You will be able to use these studies with your whole family and pull it out from year to year and have a nature study resource for all levels.

    Outdoor Hour Challenges for Winter – Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

    Membership includes all you need for using the Handbook of Nature Study and enjoying learning together as a family. See a sample membership Winter Homeschool Nature Study by signing up with the form, below.

    Membership includes all of this plus MORE!

    • notebook pages and coloring pages
    • Upper Level notebook pages for advanced or experienced students
    • Charlotte Mason style exam questions
    • Complete list of supplies needed
    • Detailed instructions for each challenge, including links and printables
    • Nature journal suggestions
    • Alternate ideas to adapt the challenges to your local area

    Members also enjoy:

    • Bird in Snow video art lesson
    • First Day of Winter Walk and Observations Page
    • December World Notebook Page
    • Winter Weather Observations Journal Page
    • Window Observations Journal Page
    • December Words and Poem Journal Page

    Special Outdoor Hour Challenges

    • Snow Study!
    • Red and Green Outdoor Hour Challenge
    • Moon and Moon Names
    • Study on Magnets and the Compass

    And more challenges from all of the courses pictured above!

    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.

    Get Your Free Sample Of Membership: Winter Homeschool Nature Study Download

    Get Your Membership Sample of Winter Homeschool Nature Study!

    Subscribe to get FREE Membership Sample of Winter Homeschool Nature Study.

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Most importantly, when you get outside for your winter homeschool nature study, take along a good attitude and leave yourself open to whatever the experience brings. Allow your children to direct you to things they find interesting and then share in their excitement.

      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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      Turkey Homeschool Nature Study Activities for November

      “The gobbler is the most vainglorious bird known to us; when he struts to show his flock of admiring hens how beautiful he is, he lowers his wings and spreads the stiff primary quills until their tips scrape the ground, lifting meanwhile into a semi-circular fan his beautiful tail feathers, he protrudes his chest, and raises the iridescent plumage of his neck like a ruff to make a background against which he throws back his red, white, and blue decorated head.”

      Handbook of Nature Study
      This turkey homeschool nature study includes fun activities and a free printable - everything you need for fall learning.

      Fun Turkey Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

      Wild turkeys are a funny bunch of birds. Homeschool Nature Study founder Barb McCoy says, “we lived in California, many times we saw turkeys in the woods and sometimes trotting down the back roads. They make a funny sound as they move through the trees and poke around on the ground for tidbits to eat.  Then, if you get lucky, you’ll see the male turkey strutting his stuff and displaying his beautiful tail feathers!

      This turkey homeschool nature study includes fun activities and a free printable - everything you need for fall learning.

      Homeschool Bird Study – Turkeys

      If you have a wild turkey or even a domestic turkey to observe, you’ll enjoy the suggestions in the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study.  Another suggestion is to watch the videos in the original challenge to get a taste of what turkeys are all about and then read the Handbook of Nature Study lesson and finish with a nature journal page with your children.”

      The full turkey homeschool nature study is included in membership – along with all the fun, fall favorite topics and a member calendar filled with daily nature study prompts!

      November Homeschool Nature Study Activities

      November Homeschool Nature Study Activities

      Before the whole month of November slips away, let’s make time to observe what nature is doing at this time of year. Start off by completing the reading of pages 1 and 2 in the Handbook of Nature Study as a refresher.

      Take a few minutes to think about how keeping a regular nature study period each week has benefited your family. Ask your children what they have learned so far this autumn season about the birds, insects, and plants in your neighborhood.

      Let this give you encouragement to keep participating in the Outdoor Hour Challenge as the weather turns colder and wetter.

      Follow up your Outdoor Hour Challenge turkey time with a Turkey Walk with Chalk in Turkey Art Activities.

      Free Your November World Printable Journal Page

      your November World homeschool nature study

      Use the ideas in this challenge to get outside and find something of interest to note about your November World. Complete the notebook page in the Autumn Course included in membership or create a page in your own blank journal.

      Get Your November World Notebook Page!

      Subscribe to get FREE Your November World Notebook page.

        We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

        More Fall Homeschool Nature Study and Homeschool Ideas

        Here are even more ideas for your November homeschool:

        November is such a month of change and transition…don’t miss getting outside to view it for yourselves! Be sure to share your outdoor time on social media and tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram or Outdoor Hour Challenges too!

        This turkey homeschool nature study includes fun activities and a free printable - everything you need for fall learning.

        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 Ultimate Guide To Fall Homeschool Nature Study In Your Own Backyard

        The benefits of autumn or fall homeschool nature study in your own backyard are endless! These simple resources get you started making memories together.
        Photos by Amy Law

        When the calendar flips to September you might be ready for an autumn or fall homeschool nature study in your own backyard. How about your part of the world? Are you feeling like autumn or is it lingering summer? Whatever your world looks like you can take a fall walk and discover some fall color…maybe not your leaves but look for berries, nuts, and weeds that are changing color.

        autumn nature study with light coming through the treees

        The Benefits of Nature Study in the Fall

        The benefits of fall nature study seem to be endless! The most important of all is making memories together as a family. The crisp, cooler air and the brilliant blue sky (on sunny days) highlight all of the fall leaf color for us. Being outside does wonders for moods. And having an outdoor ‘laboratory’ for discovery is as simple as swinging open your backdoor.

        The fall Outdoor Hour Challenges are among our very favorites. My children and I have wonderful memories of looking for not only different leaf color but leaf shapes. With the cooler weather, we tend to take nature walks even more.

        Plus, a fall homeschool nature study gives an opportunity for all ages to learn as little or as much as they would like to.

        Fall Nature Study Lesson Plans

        We have Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Nature Study Curriculum filled with weeks of fall nature study plans! You can also take a look at this sampling of the resources we have for you to enjoy simple, fall homeschool nature study in your own backyard.

        • Seasonal Tree Observations Outdoor Hour Challenge
        • Fall Color Walk with Printable Color Cards in membership (great for your youngest adventurers)
        • How to Make Leaf Rubbings (video)
        • Tips for Drawing Leaves
        • Learn Why Leaves Change Color
        • Advanced studies on the chemistry of leaves
        • Coming soon: apples, pumpkins, bats, turkeys and more!

        The benefits of autumn or fall homeschool nature study in your own backyard are endless! These simple resources get you started making memories together.

        Fall Notebooking Pages For Your Homeschool

        There are so many easy printable pages in Homeschool Nature Study membership for quick and fun nature walks!

        • Access to a Fall Leaf Nature Study Grid for printing (you can place in your journal and ‘check off’ scavenger hunt style. Includes a bookmark for coloring in the colors of the fall leaves near you)
        • Autumn nature study journal pages for each Outdoor Hour Challenge
        • Autumn coloring pages
        • Under the Fallen Leaves notebooking page
        • Autumn Changes in Your Own Backyard
        • Learning About Leaves – with journal page
        • Autumn Weather Tracking chart printable
        • Signs of Autumn Notebook Page
        • Printable Fall Series Field Notebook

        And SO much more! (with more topics coming!)

        More Homeschool Nature Study for Your Fall Learning

        Join Us For Fall Homeschool Nature Study

        We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, stating that they thought it would restrict their freedom to focus on one topic. But, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside and it helped them be better at taking a few minutes to learn about an object they encountered, even if it wasn’t the original aim for getting outdoors.

        We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

        Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

        The benefits of autumn or fall homeschool nature study in your own backyard are endless! These simple resources get you started making memories together.

        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.

        Posted on 4 Comments

        Creating a Nature Study Atmosphere in Your Homeschool: Start With Your Attitude

        Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. In fact, the best nature study is done without much effort and is guided by your child’s interest in topics that come along.

        Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. In fact, the best nature study is done without much effort and is guided by your child's interest in topics that come along.
        Photos by Amy Law

        The nature study we talk about here is meant to be simple, a constant vigilance for something to be interested in right in your own neighborhood.


        Creating a Homeschool Nature Study Atmosphere – It Starts With You

        Nature Study- You can do this and your children will thank you. That really is my main message for this post and this Homeschool Nature Study website.

        Nature Study Close to Home

        Traveling to national parks can be a goal for everyone and I feel so very blessed to live in a part of the county where they are at my fingertips. But your own backyard can produce meaningful nature study if you are aware of things that come along…you need to be watching and listening.

        Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. The best nature study is little effort and is guided by your child's interest.

        No Need for Homeschool Group Learning

        Participating in nature clubs can be a wonderful experience for a nature study atmosphere but having a few minutes with just your own kids outside each week can be just as wonderful.

        Be Flexible With Your Time

        Focusing on one nature study topic gives your family a full picture of that aspect of nature but don’t miss out on other subjects that come around because they are not on topic. Take a detour if needed and remember that nature study should be a life-long endeavor.

        I have observed that families that make nature study a consistent part of their everyday life are the ones that feel the most satisfaction. Honestly, it warms my heart to see and hear about the times where families have an opportunity arise and they drop everything to pursue the learning more. A spider in a web, a bird’s song, the weather, rocks in pockets….take a few minutes to share it with your children.

        dragonfly homeschool nature study

        You may be surprised how your attitude changes with knowledge. 

        In the end, what matters most is the way you view nature. Children are very keen observers and they will know when you are not excited about something. I can’t say I am always excited about every nature study topic…snakes and fish come to mind…but I do try to share my passion for learning new things and encourage my children to learn more about topics of interest. Funny thing is that once you start learning about things like snakes, the more interesting they become. The closer you look at a fish, the more beautiful it is.

        Join us in Homeschool Nature Study Membership for a NEW Outdoor Hour Challenge each Friday!


        You will find encouragement and resources to get your nature study atmosphere started. It is all done for you. Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

        Outdoor Hour Challenge Getting Started Guide – the beginning of so many good times with your children outdoors!

        Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. In fact, the best nature study is done without much effort and is guided by your child's interest in topics that come along.

        Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

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        Homeschool Nature Walks: The Benefits of Nature Study

        The idea of taking a nature walk is nothing new. However, the need for nature walks has never been more evident in our increasingly indoor, sedentary lives. Childhood used to be times of exploring outdoors for hours at a time, but in today’s world few children have the circumstances or incentive to get outside on their own. This is where involved parents can be of such value.

        “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”

        ― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
        Consider nature walks and nature study an adventure! Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.
        Photo by Amy Law

        Building the Nature Walk Habit In your Homeschool

        Taking a nature walk can bring refreshment to your whole family. Maybe you are having a tough day and the children are a little restless or perhaps the weather is just too nice to stay inside all day…these are perfect opportunities to drop everything else and take a walk in your own neighborhood or a park close by.

        I’ve observed that families that take nature walks on a consistent basis, as part of their weekly routine, benefit greatly from the efforts they spend in making them happen. They feel more relaxed in nature, they see their children get excited about things they discover, and they feel a closer bond as a family because of shared nature experiences.

        Whether you use the Outdoor Hour Challenges as part of your nature studies or not, the fundamental idea of taking a short walk outside with your child is the basis of building a happier childhood.

        “Nature is often overlooked as a healing balm for the emotional hardships in a child’s life.”

        ― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
        The idea of taking a nature walk is nothing new. The need for nature walks has never been more evident in our increasingly indoor, sedentary lives. Childhood used to be times of exploring outdoors for hours at a time, but in today’s world few children have the circumstances or incentive to get outside on their own. This is where involved parents can be of such value.
        Photo by Amy Law

        Getting the Habit of Walks Started with The Outdoor Hour Challenge

        Talking nature walks can be as simple as putting on your shoes and jacket and heading out the door, letting nature inspire what you do and what you study. Or, you can have a few ideas in mind before you head out the door.

        Sometimes it’s nice to head out the door and see what comes your way, no assignments. Start with nothing more than pointing out the beauty in the flowers, trees, animals, and birds that you encounter during your everyday life. Speak to the heart at first by just enjoying the amazing living things in front of you and then eventually you will be able to focus on naming your subjects and knowing a few facts.

        Parents do not need to be worried that they don’t know everything about their nature study subjects.  You can become learners right alongside your children. Remember that there are many things about nature that nobody knows the answers to so when our children ask us questions that are deep and thought-provoking, acknowledge the question and look for the answer together. We are all students of God’s creation, and we will never know everything there is to know.

        Consider nature study an adventure, a lifelong achievement. Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.

        It doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair or take very much time for you to see a difference in your attitude and that of your children.

        “It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson (nature walk), since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned.”

        Handbook of Nature Study
        “It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson (nature walk), since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned.”  Handbook of Nature Study

        Creative Nature Walks: Pick a Focus For Your Study

        Pick a theme for your walk such as insects, birds, trees, flowers, etc. Then have everyone make observations within that theme.

        In my experience, having a focus during a walk makes it much more enjoyable for everyone. Each person can use their eyes and senses to look for items within the theme and then share them with the group. One person can be the designated photographer and take photos of things of interest. Or take along your nature journal and make a record of your sightings as you go along.

        If you have older children, this is where you could use the Outdoor Hour Challenge and the Handbook of Nature Study to pick a focus for your walk. Pick a topic for the many challenges available and be on the lookout for the subject of interest.

        “Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

        How Long Should Outdoor Time Be and How Frequently?

        Short regular walks are much better than the occasional walk. The trick is to find a balance that works in your family. When my boys were homeschooling, we aimed for a once a week walk or hike with a little follow up once we got home. In high school, our walks became less frequent, but we aimed to take a “nature day” once a month where we would take the time to get outside together and explore as part of our more formal nature study program.

        Homeschool Nature Study membership

        Help Getting Started with the Nature Walk Habit in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

        Below you will find links and resources for Homeschool Nature Study members to use as part of your nature walk time and usually a follow up idea for your nature journal. Please pick those ideas that get you excited to give regular nature walks a place in your family’s weekly routines.

        Homeschool Nature Study Members:

        • Read “The Field Excursion” on page 14 of the Handbook of Nature Study.
        • Getting Started Guide – Outdoor Hour Challenge #1
        • Autumn course – Fall Color Walk Challenge
        • Spring course – Spring Splendor Walk

        Printable Journal pages

        • My Nature Walk – Senses Notebook Page
        • Silent Autumn Nature Walk
        • Spring Nature Hunt
        • Spring Walk
        • 1st Day of Winter Nature Walk printable
        • 3 Questions Hike
        • My Summer Nature Hike
        • 5 Senses Walk at Sunset Notebook Page
        • Walk in the Forest Notebook Page

        Nature study using the Outdoor Hour Challenge aims to introduce you to your own backyard and neighborhood, seeking out the things that interest your children. I invite you to get to know your child’s special area of interest and to build from there a foundation of knowledge and experience outdoors. Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges, my own family has been enriched with a love of nature, a bond with each other, and lots of wonderful memories of seasons past. 

        If you’re not a member here on Homeschool 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.

        Consider nature walks and nature study an adventure! Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.