Posted on 3 Comments

Turtle Nature Study for Your Homeschool

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

Turtle Nature Study Inside Preparation Work

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

Pond Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Time

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

Turtle and Pond Follow-Up Homeschool Activities

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

Additional links:

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

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for the Whole Family

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

– By Barb July 2012, updated by Tricia March 2022

Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for homeschool. Includes activities for studying microscopic pond life.
Posted on 9 Comments

Homeschool Nature Study For The Child Who Loves Reptiles

This homeschool nature study incorporates indoor and outdoor activities, perfect for the child who is fascinated by reptiles.

Sometimes I feel inadequate to teach about something my boys are interested in studying. Reptiles are one subject that I would put in that category! I have a huge aversion to the sight of reptiles, but on closer acquaintance I am not so put off and can see the beauty in their creation and how they fit into the web of life.

Because both of my children are absolutely fascinated by reptiles, I have grown to appreciate their role in our interest-led learning and homeschool nature study.

The process of going from feeling totally disgusted by these sorts of creatures to admiration is by getting to know them better. Here is what the Handbook of Nature Study says about reptiles and nature study.

“But she(the teacher) was equal to the occasion, and surprised them by declaring that there were many interesting things to be studied about snakes, and forthwith sent to the library for books which discussed these reptiles; and this was the beginning of a nature study club of rare efficiency and enterprise.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 193

What better way to follow your child’s interest than to learn right alongside them? I can’t always start off as excited about things as my children are but I can muster up enthusiasm at learning about it as part of God’s creation. Each animal and plant has a place in the intertwined web of life we have all around us. Snakes, lizards, spiders, rodents, and everything else each are dependent on each other and in the long run so are we. Each creature has a job to do and when I think about that in relation to snakes and reptiles, it encourages me to dig a little deeper with my children.

Outdoor Homeschool Reptile Nature Study

While I do not love the idea of randomly seeking out reptiles in the wild, there are ways to incorporate this interest in our nature study.

Herping is a term used to describe going out into a reptile habitat and look for lizards and snakes. (I know, it can be cringe inducing, but hear me out.) Like any nature study, this is about exploring and getting my kids outdoors. After learning a few safety precautions (namely, we are not picking anything up!) it is actually a beautiful way to explore nature.

We discuss the various habitats and take pictures of any lizards we find. We hike and are always careful to watch out for rattle snakes.

Overall, it’s a brilliant outdoor nature study for our homeschool.

outdoor nature study

Ideas For Indoor Reptile Nature Study

Because it still stresses me out a bit to actually go looking for wild reptiles, we also devote a significant amount of time to indoor reptile study.

Here are some of my boys’ favorite learning activities:

  • Visit the pet store and discuss the various reptiles and their man made habitats.
  • Head to the local reptile zoo.
  • Look up various facts about reptiles online.
  • Check out books from the library.
  • Set-up our own habitat for our new pet lizard (because nature study has a way of creeping into my boys’ birthday wishes)
This homeschool nature study incorporates indoor and outdoor activities, perfect for the child who is fascinated by reptiles.

A Homeschool Nature Study Resource To Help Your Family Learn

Thankfully, our nature study does not end with reptiles. In fact, one of the best ways to continue our learning all year long is with the Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

With it, you will have everything you need to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool. It provides access to Outdoor Hour Challenges curriculum and tons of resources to enrich your homeschool.

Posted on 1 Comment

August Planning Page and Printables

August 2018 Nature Planning Page – Print Your Copy Here!

August 2018 Nature Planning Page

Download your copy here: August 2018 Nature Planning Page

Eagle Nature Study Notebook PageRattlesnake notebook page image

Seashore Observations Notebook Page Activity

In addition, I’ve created three new printables for you to use this month as well.

Seashore Observations: This is an exciting new printable activity that you can take with you to the beach. It helps your family through making some observations and then a scavenger hunt!

Rattlesnake Notebook Pages: This set of three notebooking pages will give you a spot in your nature journal to record what you learn and/or observe with rattlesnakes.

Eagle Notebook Page: Here’s another page in our on-going bird series for the eagle. We’ve seen so many eagles this summer that it just has to be featured on one of my nature journal pages. I invite you to do the research and then look for eagles soon!

Printables for Members Button

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

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Outdoor Mom’s Journal – March 2017

Outdoor Moms Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

 

Outdoor Mom’s Journal

March 2017

We have had so much rain that the thought of traveling somewhere warm and more on the dry side was very appealing. My daughter and I had started planning this trip way back in August because she lives in New York where the winters are far too long for that California girl.

Big Island Landscape @handbookofnaturestudy

One of my favorite places to be warm and beachy is on the Big Island of Hawaii. It made sense for all of us to rendezvous there for a winter escape. The added bonus was this year our friend was able to round out our group to make it more fun. This was her first time traveling to Hawaii so we got to see all of the things through her eyes and enjoy sharing our favorite places.

We have been to Hawaii several times but never during the month of February so that part was new to all of us. What a treat! We were able to see whales just off the coast as they breached and spy hopped out of the water.

Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (5)

Snorkeling just about every day gave us plenty of opportunity to see the colorful fish and sea turtles in abundance. I love the feeling of just floating around in the water and watching the turtles as they feed off the coral. One afternoon we boarded a boat and did some serious snorkeling in Kealekekua Bay.  The conditions weren’t perfect, but we still saw plenty of interesting things including a puffer fish.

Akaka Falls Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (8)

The day the weather was gray and a little misty, we ventured to the Hilo side of the island.

Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

We hiked to Akaka Falls which are amazing and the walk down to them is lined with all sorts of interesting plants.

Hawaii Volcanoes Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

Later that day we made it over to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The internet has been full of images of the lava lake and the lava spilling over into the ocean so we were hoping to see this in person. We were able to see the actual lava lake in the caldera of Kilauea but we weren’t prepared for the 8 mile round trip hike to see the lava “fire hose” going into the ocean. The weather was turning rainy too so we decided we would be satisfied with the lava that we could observe from the museum’s lookout. Totally worth it!

Coffee Tree Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

We visited an actual Kona coffee farm for a tour and tasting. The experience was even more special because we saw cardinals singing and a chameleon hiding in an orange tree.

Chameleon Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

I never thought I would see a chameleon up close like that and they are amazing creatures.

Sea Turtles Waikoloa Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

We did lots of beach walking in Waikoloa where we were staying but you need to put aside your preconceived idea of what a “beach” is to do that. These are not white sand beaches but rather black lava rock with coral washed up on the shore. It was fun to do beachcombing and we nearly always saw whales off shore and sea turtles sleeping on the beach.

I squeezed in some nature journaling time while there and I have a short list of things to research and record now that I am home. I will be sharing my journal entries in a separate post next week!

Sometimes taking a trip is not really a vacation but this one allowed me to relax, spend active and quiet time in nature, and enjoy the company of my family and friends.

 

Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

Just a Note about the Cost of Traveling

We make our trip fit our budget by taking advantage of air miles for free tickets, researching condos for the perfect location and amenities, cooking almost all our own meals, and then planning activities that are within our financial reach. Also, traveling with other family members and friends allows us to split costs like food, gas, and the condo. Our condo had snorkel gear, chairs, beach umbrella, and boogie boards for us to use while we were there, so check into that benefit if you are thinking about booking a condo on the islands.

Hawaii 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy (7)

Read more about my experiences: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

How Do You Join?

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

  • During our outdoor time this week we went….
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudy

You can use the free monthly newsletter along with the Handbook of Nature Study book for your nature study. Adding a membership gives you access to the Ultimate Naturalist Library’s ebooks and printablse which provides members with even more in-depth studies each month.

Read more about it!

Posted on Leave a comment

National Audubon Society – First Field Guide Reptiles Review

 National Audubon Society First Field Guide Reptiles @handbookofnaturestudy

There is a book that I have found very helpful in my study of reptiles. Yes, it is a children’s book but it is just what I need. There are so many helpful aspects to this particular book that I wanted to recommend it to you and your family. It is available on Amazon.com only as a used book from third parties but I don’t think it will disappoint you even in used condition.

Here is my affiliate link: National Audubon Society First Field Guide Reptiles

A few things I like about this book:

  • For advanced students: Naming reptiles with order, family, genus, and species. Talks about scientific names and many common names for same thing.
  • Clear images for each reptile in the book, with look alikes and related species noted right on the side of the page.
  • Maps are clear and understandable.
  • Simple explanations about where reptiles live. (pages 38-39)
  • Specific ideas for how to find reptiles in llate spring, summer, early fall. Helpful tips are including like keep sun at your back and look for reptiles basking on sunny parts. (pages 44-45)
  • There is a helpful index.

If you would like to have a wonderful reptile reference book for your nature study shelf and library, this is one that I highly recommend.

 Still time to join us this month with our newsletter focus on reptiles.

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter October 2015 reptiles

 

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

October 2015 Printables for Members

Outdoor Hour Challenge October 2015 Monthly Printables for Members @handbookofnaturestudy

I’m really trying to encourage you to go a little deeper in your reptile study using the brand new reptile reproduction notebook that has been added to the membership library. Also, it isn’t too late to take a brook or stream walk this season using this mini grid notebook page. Print one for each member of your family and take a walk sometime soon!

Remember the Ultimate and Discovery levels of membership receive access to all of the monthly printables.

Reptile Reproduction Notebook Page – perfect for more advanced students who are taking their reptile study to a higher level.

Brook and Stream Mini Grid Notebook Page and Activity – print one for each member of your family and use it to have some fun at a local brook or stream.

These new printables are in your membership library if you are a member of the Ultimate Naturalist or Journey level memberships. You need to log into your account and then check the “Other Releases” section for brand new printables to enjoy along with the Outdoor Hour Challenges in 2015. Currently there are 36+ printables in the members library in addition to the ebooks and newsletters.

Be Inspired! Be Encouraged! Get Outdoors!

Posted on Leave a comment

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – October 2015 Reptiles

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter October 2015 reptiles

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

October 2015 – Reptiles

When I was preparing ideas for this newsletter, my husband and I were up in the mountains on a camping trip. One afternoon on a hike, we happened to encounter a snake on the trail. Well, apparently I almost stepped right on him without noticing. My husband saw him and shouted a warning to me. I screamed and jumped up and promptly ran further along the trail. Then, I calmed down, gathered my wits and went back to see the snake…a mountain garter snake. He had stopped just off the side, near a log. His amazing coloring blends in and provides such protection in the rugged habitat. We snapped a few images and decided to leave him in peace, probably searching for his next meal.

sugar Pine Point aug 2015 (38) garter snake

As always, my initial reaction to a snake encounter is fear but then it turns to admiration upon closer inspection.

Please read the following explanation outlining how to get this month’s newsletter.

The newsletter link is not in this email but will come separately. There may be a delay in your receiving the email so please don’t email me until the second day of the month if you haven’t received the link on the first. For some reason, some email providers take longer to receive the newsletter email.

If you don’t receive the separate email with the download link, you probably aren’t subscribed to the blog yet. This will take less than a minute to do if you follow the steps below.

If you are a subscriber and you haven’t received your newsletter email yet, check your SPAM inbox. Some subscribers have found the email buried in SPAM inbox.

If you need to subscribe:

  • You will need to go to the Handbook of Nature Study, look to the top right corner for the box to type in your preferred email address, and then confirm the email that comes to your email inbox.
  • Once you subscribe, you will receive a thank you email from me with the download link.

This month’s newsletter link will be available only during the month of October so be sure to download it before 10/31/15.

Remember! All of the archived and current newsletters are available as part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library…every level!

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

  • Reptile nature study tips and resources in the form of links to the Handbook of Nature Study website, contributor’s links, and Pinterest. This month’s featured contributors are Heather Woodie from Blog She Wrote and Alex from Life on a Canadian Island.
  • October Nature Study Planning Page printable – don’t miss the little extras I have added this month like nature photo ideas, field trip ideas, and a special 15 minute challenge for parents.
  • I have written an article entitled, Learning About Local Reptiles, where I encourage you to learn more about reptiles using your own personal style.
  • Reptile Study Notebook Page – This page includes a prompt at the top to help your family go more deeply into a leaf study this month or in the months to come. It can also be used as a nature journal topper if you want to cut and paste the prompt into your own nature journal.

Members: You may also wish to download the April 2013 Newsletter from the archives. You will find additional articles, printables, and links to support your tree nature study. Note: All levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study include all back issues of the newsletter.

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter April 2013 Cover

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section. There is a reptile related notebook page that has been created to go along with this month’s newsletter theme. Look for it in the printables section of your membership.

Getting Started FAQ Button
Need help getting started with your nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study? Check out the fresh “Getting Started” page here on the website!

 

Posted on 5 Comments

Lizards! Our Lizard Observations

We have seen lots of lizards since the OHC – Lizard Study posted but they are very hard to capture with a camera.

They are quick and really don’t want you to get too close.

But yesterday, a friend of mine pulled up and I spied a lizard on the back of her car! She had apparently brought the lizard all the way from her house, giving the lizard the ride of his life.

lizard

My husband also found a shed lizard skin in our front yard when we were trimming up our lavender. What an fabulous find! I was interested to see this up close and to realize that it was pretty much all intact.

I think it is a California Alligator Lizard.

Lizard shed skin @handbookofnaturestudy Lizard shed skin @handbookofnaturestudy

So the lesson is to not ever give up and to keep your eyes open to things all around you every day, not just during your OHC time.

Have you observed any lizards, geckos, or anoles?

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Lizard Study

Lizard Anole Gecko Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

  • You can find lizards everywhere on earth except the Arctic and Antarctic.
  • Lizards are cold blooded, lay eggs, and have scales.
  • Lizards never stop growing and they shed their skin as they outgrow it.
  • The tail of a lizard can be released when it is grabbed by a predator, leaving the tail to squirm to distract or confuse the attacker as the lizard takes cover. (It will grow back slowly.)
  • Most small lizards are insectivores, eating ants, termites, gnats, bees, etc.

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Use pages 210-213 in the Handbook of Nature Study to introduce the topic of lizards. View the images and share a few of the descriptions to create some interest in lizards. Then use the links below to view online some of the various lizards, including anoles and geckos, linked there. There are a lot of possible subjects to study but don’t be overwhelmed. Find something in your local area that you could someday see in real life.
  • Lizards of the United States Links: Anguids, Teeids. There are lots of lizards in the US but if you follow the two links here you will find listings and images for more lizards than you can study in a week. Find a lizard that lives in your area by viewing the map in each listing.
  • Green Anole for younger children . Advanced Students: Green Anole—background information. Green Anole video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/blXmYtPXrQ4
  • Geckos of the US—I found this to be an informative page about geckos found in the United States. Geckos– this link has some amazing images! Green Gecko video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/SdGBnQzpXb4

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Spend some time outdoors this week hunting for lizards, anoles, or geckos. This may be a up-close study that you cannot accomplish until the opportunity arises but view the challenge as preparation for when the opportunity arises for a lizard, anole, or gecko study.
  • Use the Reptile and Amphibian Field Trip mini-book included in the Autumn Nature Study continutes ebook to stimulate interest in this subject by visiting a local pet shop.

Follow-Up Activities:

  • Use the notebook page included in the ebook to record your lizard observations and/or lizard facts. Coloring page for younger students.
  • Visit your local public library to look for books that feature lizards, anoles, and geckos.
  • Advanced Study: Create a list of three questions about lizards that you can research on your own. Record the answers on the notebook page provided in the ebook.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist LibraryOHC Autumn Nature Study Continues Cover Button

Join us for this series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study. If you want to purchase the Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Autumn Nature Study Continues content list on the announcement page.

Posted on 4 Comments

Hiking in the Adirondack Mountains- Mount Arab

Mount-Arab-Adirondacks-May-2014

What a glorious thing to explore a new state, a new trail, and then to top it off…a NEW to me flower.

Our recent trip to New York (via a road trip across the complete United States), gave us an opportunity to take several new hikes in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. My daughter picked the hike to Mount Arab out of the guide book and it was a winner! Just outside of Tupper Lake, NY, this trail is a short hike up the mountain and through a heavily wooded forest. Since it is early spring, the trees were just starting to get their new leaves and there were wildflowers just starting to bloom alongside the trail.

purple trilium

I created a list of wildflowers to look for during our trip, flowers we don’t have in California but are listed in the Handbook of Nature Study. I had a east coast wildflower field guide with me too for reference since most of the flowers are new to me.  We actually spotted this variety of trillium (Purple Trillium) right at the beginning of the hike…so pretty and colorful in the brown woodsy floor. (Outdoor Hour Challenge for this flower in the future.)

Trout Lily

Then we saw lots and lots of Trout Lilies! This is another one on my list of wildflowers to study and I will now be able to create an Outdoor Hour Challenge for this flower. The abundance of these lilies really created a special atmosphere as we hiked up the mountain.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (34)

I read in a guide book before we left that May is “mud season” in the Adirondacks. There were sections of this trail that turned out to be quite muddy but the trail makers had made it easier by adding these board walks to span the muddier parts. The mud created spots for insects to gather and we tried not to stop and get eaten by bugs.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (24)

The trail at the top opens up where there are large rock slabs and an incredible view. The weather had been threatening to rain in the morning but we enjoyed sunny skies when we reached the top.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (25

Here is the fire tower at the top of Mount Arab. The wind was blowing really hard which felt like air conditioning after a hot hike up. I am not great with heights but my kids and husband were eager to climb up the stairs and check out the view from the top.

Mount Arab New York Adirondacks May 2014 (7)

I was a little sunburned…that’s the trouble with fair and freckled skin. I had on sunblock…really. I climbed about half way up the tower and the wind was whipping through up there. I was good with the view from there, I know my limits.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (35)

On the way back down the trail, we spied several toads. The above image is a “Where’s Waldo?” sort of photo where the toad is very well camouflaged by the leaves on the forest floor.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (39)

We also saw a snake! He was as curious about us as we were about him.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (10)

What a great hike! We will remember this one for its trilliums, lilies, toads, snake, and view from the top. I will also try to remember the variety of bird song we heard as we hiked along as a family.

This hike will count toward my Nature Study Goals for 2014…a new hike!