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Spectacular Night Sky Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

Spectacular Night Sky Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool


Outdoor Hour Challenge
Night Sky Study

Record your night sky observations using this free printable. Barb McCoy created it so you can get two simple journal pages from one sheet of paper. Print the page, cut it in half, and then staple at the top to make a Night Sky Journal. Print several pages if you want to create a larger journal.

Night Sky Journal Printable


Night Sky Journal Printable Notebook Page

Please fill out the form, below, to receive your free night sky journal page!

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    Stargazing: Perseids Meteor Shower Homeschool Ideas

    If you aren’t familiar with the Perseid Meteor Shower, it is one of the brightest and longest-lasting meteor showers. And, it happens in August, so it’s usually easy to view because the weather is warm, and the sky is likely to be reasonably clear. 

    Barb McCoy, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges, shares some Perseids Meteor Shower encouragement and a journal page:

    Last weekend I visited with a friend who is also a nature lover. She and I talked about the night sky for a long time and how much joy it brings to us to view the magnificent canvas of stars each night. We shared stories of past experiences with viewing meteor showers and agreed that it is something to make time for even if it is late at night.

    Our family was able to view the Perseid meteor shower over the last few nights…it doesn’t disappoint! As soon as it is dark you can view a few “shooting stars” so don’t think you have to keep your kids up too late. It is more spectacular later in the night but just getting your children aware of what is out there is worth the effort.

    We also looked up the next full moon for August and marked it on our calendar. We noted last night’s sunset and the time in our area..planning on checking it a few more times later in the month.

    Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

    My nature journal entry is a work in progress and as the month goes by I will add more of my thoughts to the box I made on the bottom of the page.

    Getting Started in Nature Study Suggestion


    If you already own the Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #4.

    *Note: the free Getting Started book has the first three challenges. Members enjoy all 10 Outdoor Hour Challenges.

    Have a short discussion with your child about which aspect of the night sky they are most interested in and focus on that as long as they are interested…could be a week or the whole month.

    Some night sky nature study ideas are:

    • stars
    • planets
    • meteors
    • or the moon

    Complete the notebook page from the Getting Started ebook if you want a more formal record of your study. 

    Moon phases homeschool nature study

    More Hands On Night Sky Homeschool Nature Study

    You might also like these fun ways to learn about the night sky:

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

    Enjoy the outdoors at night with your children. If you have early risers, you can even enjoy some time then. It is a special time to share together.

    Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

    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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    Homeschool Nature Study: Winter Sky Constellations

    This week’s homeschool nature study outdoor hour challenge looks upward towards the stars, yes, it’s time to learn about the winter sky constellations!

    Homeschool Nature Study Winter Sky Constellations: Outdoor Hour Challenge

    1. Read chapter three in Discover Nature in WinterWinter stargazing is something that our family has always wanted to do but we have never taken the initiative to get out and do so. Now we have the perfect excuse. Read the chapter with a view to picking some winter stars to learn about and observe as a family. Start with the North Star or Orion’s belt if you are not sure what you are doing yet.

    “Unlike owls and other nocturnal creatures, our eyes are not well designed for seeing in the dark. After leaving a lighted building at night, it takes about thirty minutes for our eyes to become adjusted to the lower light levels.”

    The Handbook of Nature Study, page 37

    Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust and to take in the night sky.
    2. Our family decided to make sure we can find these four constellations in the winter sky:

    • Big Dipper (North Star as well) page 44
    • Ursa Major page 45
    • Cassiopeia page 47
    • Orion (using Orion’s belt) page 49

    We do not have a telescope but we use our eyes and sometimes our binoculars to view the night sky. We also plan to bundle up to keep warm and then go inside afterwards for some hot cocoa or apple cider.

    3. If you can’t fit in some nighttime stargazing for winter sky constellations, how about some sunset observations? You could also look for the moon as well as stars and write about it in your nature journal. Being able to name a star or constellation is a great skill but it can be just as satisfying to spend some time contemplating the universe while gazing at the stars.

    For those families that do not have the book to work from, please join us by going outside at night and observing the winter sky. Try to pick a cloudless night where you can observe plenty of stars. Observing the moon in the winter is a great nature study experience as well. Keep it simple and give it a try.

    Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Sky Constellations

    Winter Sky Resource For Your Homeschool

    This website has a wealth of materials to help you map the winter sky!

    Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Nature Study Curriculum and Year Round Support

    There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

    An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

    Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

    Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

    There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

    An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

    Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

    Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

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    Astronomy Learning Styles: Nature Study at Night

    Nature study is most successful when you allow your children to make connections that are meaningful and fit their style of learning. I invite you to think about the ways you can adapt a night sky study to embrace the ways your child learns the best.

    “When I say that life should be full of living, I mean that we should be in touch and able to relate with some genuine interest no matter where we are, what we hear, or what we see. This kind of interest isn’t something we give to children…. The question isn’t how much a student knows after he’s completed his education, but how much he cares, and how many categories of things he cares about.” Charlotte Mason

    Astronomy Learning Styles printable

    I’ve prepared a helpful printable for you to download that shares some ideas for night sky study by learning style. No one fits neatly into one category so consider combining suggested activities from several sections.

    Download the Printable: Astronomy Study by Learning Styles.

    With just a little preparation, you can get your family started with meaningful and fun night time nature study.

    Look for the upcoming Outdoor Hour Challenge for the constellation Orion that will post this next Friday.

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    Night Sky Family Nature Study-From the Newsletter Archives

    The night sky is a fascinating subject to study. Over the years we’ve used our powers of observation to notice so many things right from our own back deck. We have a fairly dark neighborhood so gazing at the stars is a bit easier than if we lived in the city. My youngest child has always had an interest in learning about space and the universe, so hooking him into a little nature study at night has been easy and fun.  We further nurtured his curiosity by creating a high school astronomy course that fit his needs and interests.

    August 2013 newsletter cover
    Look for the August 2013 newsletter in your member’s library!

    Tips for a Night Sky Study

    * It takes a long time for your eyes to adjust to being outside at night. I read it takes 30 minutes, so allow enough time to get your “night vision” working before you start to look for stars.

    * Have a good glow in the dark type constellation chart and know where your compass points of reference are while standing at your observation spot. This will make it easier to orientate your star chart to the sky.

    “Geology, mineralogy, physical geography, botany, nature, biology, astronomy–the entire realm of science is like a beautiful fenced green field and we need to bring the child to the gate and leave it open for him. He doesn’t need a thorough collection of facts. He needs what Huxley calls ‘common information’ so that he’ll feel some connection with things on the earth and in the heavens.” Charlotte Mason

    * Don’t expect too much at first. It takes time to learn the basics like where the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and North Star are to be found during each season.  Take it slowly and realize you have many years of stargazing to learn more.

    * Dress appropriately! It is cold at night for a large part of the year so bundle up. Have a blanket to wrap in or to lay on for stargazing.

    * Spend some time viewing the night sky and watching for meteorites, satellites, and airplanes. This is a fun activity because they move across the sky and are easy to spot.

    * Get the whole family involved and take turns pointing constellations out. Our family became really good at this by using a free iPhone app called Sky Map. It allows you to point your phone at the sky and identify the objects you can see using a GPS system. Fun! (There is also an Android app—Google Sky Map.)

    * Binoculars on a tripod are a great alternative for amateur stargazing.

    Look for a Local Observatory

    * We visited our local observatory several times a year and enjoyed the help and explanations of the volunteer docents. It was great to get one on one time with astronomers and students who were willing to share their knowledge with interested children.

    Night Sky Journal astronomy
    Night Sky Tracker- Highly recommend!

     

    Keep a Journal

    * Keeping a journal is an excellent way for older children to learn more about the night sky. We didn’t require a journal entry every time we completed an observation but only when there was something interesting to note.

    I created a high school level course for my son to complete during his 11th grade year. See the details and suggestions here:

    Astronomy for High School

    The link above will share all the resources we used to make astronomy a living science course.

    If your children are young, remember that you’re trying to build interest in the night sky, make them curious to know more, and to build an appreciation for all that they see.

    Newsletter Index download

     

    Please note that the August 2013 Newsletter in the archives contains lots of ideas to help with a night sky study. Members can find it in their library for download.

    Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time.

    You can use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

     

     

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    New Printables for Members: First Day of Autumn and Full Moon

    Now available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships:

    1. First Day of Autumn Grid Study and Nature Journal Toppers printable:  I think we are all ready for a little change in the season! Using these printables in your nature journal will help jump start your nature journaling year.

    2. Full Moon Planner 2020 notebook page:  I have so enjoyed gazing at the full moons this summer. But,  I seem to lack enthusiasm as soon as the evenings turn chilly. I wanted a way to remind myself to get outside and look at the moon in all the seasons so I created the planner page to help encourage our family to take note of each of the full moons over the next year. Please join me and I hope the helps you create a record of your moon observations.

    (See the end of this post for more information on how you can become a member.)

    First Day of Autumn Printable Notebook Page

    Full Corn Moon is September 2, 2020!

    Full Moon 2020 Planner Page

    Printables for Members Button

    Print a complete list of printables available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships by clicking the button above.

    Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

    September 2020 nature planner page

    Members also have access to the Nature Planner pages in their library.

    Print out this month’s page and use it to stimulate your weekly nature study time.


    It’s time to pull out this autumn favorite!

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    Nighttime Nature Study Summer Edition

    Nighttime Nature Study

    Try an Outdoor Hour Challenge at night! With the warmer evening temperatures and longer twilight hours of summer, your family can enjoy a few nighttime nature study activities. The list below is just a taste of the opportunities you can create for learning about the natural world right in your own backyard.

    More than anything else, be aware of your surroundings and use all your senses. When you can’t rely on your vision…listen, feel, and smell the nighttime in your backyard. Try to spend a few minutes just sitting quietly in the dark if your children are able and see what you notice. Even a few seconds of quiet is good for younger children.

    My+Backyard+Nighttime+Study.jpg

    Download and complete the My Backyard at Night Notebook Page after you nighttime nature study.

     

    Benefits by Level graphic  26 ebooks
    I invite you to check out a membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. The benefits of a membership are numerous including 26 ebooks, 76 archived newsletters, and dozens of printable nature journal pages and activities.
    Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

    Use discount code SUMMERNATURE for $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

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    Winter Sky and Stars – Learn Those Constellations

    There is something timeless about studying the night sky. I know when our family would gaze up at the stars and the familiar constellations, we would feel connected to all those throughout human history that had looked up at essentially the same things: stars, planets, moon. It can be an awesome experience.

    “After the polar constellations are learned, we are then ready for further study in the still earlier evenings of winter, when the clear atmosphere makes the stars seem more alive, more sparkling, and more beautiful than at any other period of the year.”
    Handbook of Nature Study, page 823

    In my opinion, the winter night sky tends to be more dazzling. Bundling up and getting outside in the evening takes effort but the rewards are huge. Use the information in the Handbook of Nature Study linked below in the winter sky study for a helping hand at getting started with the basics of a winter sky study.

    Read the Outdoor Hour Challenge:

    Winter Sky Study-Handbook of Nature Study Lesson 226-229  (pages 823-829)

    Make a short list of constellations to look for during your winter sky study. Here are a couple of suggestions:

    Our family decided to make sure we can find these four constellations in the winter sky:

    • Big Dipper (North Star as well)
    • Ursa Major
    • Cassiopeia
    • Orion (using Orion’s belt)

    Makes sketches of each of the constellations in your nature journal to aid your memory.

    Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Nature Study Curriculum and Year Round Support

    There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

    An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

    Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

    Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Moon Gazing

    This weeks lesson is Number 135 on page 513

    Outdoor Hour Challenge

    This week’s challenge will help you get started with observing, naming, and thinking about the moon in the night sky. The full moon for March (Full Worm Moon) is on March 12th. Or, we can aim at looking at the next full moon on April 11 (Full Pink Moon). Making observations between the full moons will give you the complete experience of full to new moon and then back to full moon again.

    Encouragement for Moms – Especially Those with Teenage Boys

    In completing this challenge when it was first posted back in 2012, I had some insight into the value of regular weekly nature study.

    “Do you want to know something? Even though it pains me sometimes to have a challenge to complete each week….keeping myself accountable on the blog…..I realize that if we didn’t have a focus of some sort we would miss out on some really wonderful and insightful discussions and time outdoors together. Even when we just complete the preparation and then the outdoor time with no real follow-up, we are gaining something extra from our Outdoor Hour. If nothing else, it gives me an activity to enjoy alongside my teenage son.”

    Be Encouraged! Be Inspired! Get Outside!

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Magnet and Compass Fun

    Outdoor Hour Challenge Magnet and Compass Fun @handbookofnaturestudy

    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Magnets and Compass

    From the Archives and found in the Winter ebook

    You can use any of the activities listed in this challenge to prepare for a study of magnets and/or the compass. Magnets are a simple item to carry along on a nature hike and after you have discussed what a magnet is and what it does, your children will have fun on a little magnet hunt looking for things in nature that are magnetic. Or, if your children are a bit older,  you can use a compass to learn about the four cardinal directions and use this knowledge to describe a nature walk. Are you hiking east, west, north, or south?

    I have an app on my iPhone that is a compass so you can look for that in your app store. I nearly always have my phone with me when I hike so it is easy to pull it out and find which direction we are headed. This is a skill that will help your child now and in the future as they learn more about maps.

    I hope you have a great week of nature study and are able to get outdoors!

    You also can complete this challenge as an alternative or as an additional study: Winter Sky and Stars.

    Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter 2016 More Nature Study

    If you are interested in purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist Membership at this time, you will gain access to the custom notebooking pages that go along with each of the challenges in the ebook.

    Ultimate Naturalist Library June 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

    Note: You do not need to purchase the ebook to participate but they are handy to have for planning and for the regular and advanced notebook pages included in each one. Click the graphic at above to go over to check out the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

    Spring Plans!

    We will be working through a new series of wildflower challenges starting in April using a new ebook that will publish sometime in March. The new wildflower ebook will also be added to the Ultimate Naturalist Library so if you purchase a membership now, you will have the new ebook as soon as it is available. I will posting details about the new ebook soon.

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – My Backyard at Night 2016

    Outdoor Hour Challenge My Backyard at Night @handbookofnaturestudy

    My Backyard at Night – 2016
    Archive Challenge

    Let’s take a look at our backyards at night…or in the evening! We have had high temperatures during the day so getting outside for our normal nature hikes has been difficult. But, in the evenings we venture outside to enjoy the cooler air and the world that fills the evenings. We can watch the sunset, spy bats in the air, hear the crickets start to chirp, or just sit and enjoy the peace.

    I invite you to join us this week for a focused look at your own backyard at night. Here is a link to an archive challenge that has a free printable notebook page and some other resources for you to use: Backyard at Night.

    My+Backyard+Nighttime+Study.jpg

    You don’t have to camp out all night to enjoy a little evening nature study! Even if you just take a few minutes to look for stars and the moon, your children may build a memory!

     

    Note these are affiliate links to products I love!
    Wildflowers, Weeds, & Garden Flowers Notebooking PagesNature Study Notebooking Pages

    Download a FREE sample of A-Z Animal Notebooking Pages from NotebookingPages.com.

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