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Homeschool Nature Study: Keeping Weather Records

The simple act of keeping weather records in our homeschool will keep us in touch with our natural world and build an appreciation for the science behind common folklore and traditions.

Do we personally need to keep track of the weather? Probably not. We could just rely on a weather app or the television meteorologist. Many people live, work, and play indoors in climate-controlled environments. They live as if the weather has little effect on their daily lives.

The simple act of keeping weather records in our homeschool will keep us in touch with our natural world and build an appreciation for the science behind common folklore and traditions.

Keeping Weather Records is Homeschool Science

Keeping weather records has not only been a pastime for thousands of years, but it has also been essential to predicting the weather and its effects on everyday life. What should we wear? When should we travel? Is it time to plant our garden? We make many of our decisions based on the weather and its patterns and cycles.

Do you eagerly look forward to Groundhog Day each February? Many of us are curious to see if the groundhog will see his shadow, indicating another six weeks of winter or not. Turns out he is not a great predictor of spring.

Keeping weather records in our homeschool will build an appreciation for the science behind common folklore and traditions and keep us in touch with nature.

Tradition, Science and Common Weather Expressions

Have you heard any of the weather folklore that people have historically used to predict the weather? Read about the science of these expressions in the Almanac.

  • Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
  • If there is a halo around the sun (or moon), then we can expect rain quite soon.
  • Dew on the grass, no rain will come to pass.

All these sayings are based on observations over time. When we take note of the weather and the patterns created over time, ideally writing the details down, the relationships between what we see out the window and what is coming soon becomes clearer. The record does not need to be elaborate or take much time. Our family has a clipboard with a weather chart and pencil on our front table near the window. Not every day, but often, we note the weather conditions.

weather course in homeschool nature study membership

Ideas for Keeping Weather Records

  • Use a weather chart – a simple chart for recording data is included in Homeschool Nature Study membership.
  • Note the weather on a wall calendar
  • Create a book of firsts – keep track of the first rain, first snow, first frost, etc.

Keep some weather records this season and see if your family can find some patterns and connections between the observations made and predicting the weather.

Keeping weather records in our homeschool will build an appreciation for the science behind common folklore and traditions and keep us in touch with nature.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Find all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for homeschool 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!

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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Winter Weather Walk and More

Use one of the ideas listed below to take a winter weather walk. There are so many variations of this nature study idea that I’m sure you’ll find one that sparks your interest. Why not pick one and get outside this week as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge?

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Weather Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Winter Weather Walk – with a printable

Winter Nature Walk – with a printable

Winter Wonder Walk – printable in the More Nature Study – Winter ebook

Use Your Senses Nature Walk

Winter Silent Walk

If you’re on Instagram, you can use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge to connect with other families using the Outdoor Hour Challenge all around the world. I also check the hashtag and am always happy to see what families are doing each week to get outside together.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

You can follow me on Instagram to see what I’m doing each week.

Have you seen the new ebooks?

Forest Fun ebook cover graphic

We’ll be starting with the challenges in this ebook next week! Click over and see all the interesting topics that we’ll be learning about together with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Creepy Thing Ebook Cover image

Bird Set ebook cover image

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 24 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist decenber 2019



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Our First Day of Summer 2019

I decided to observe the first day of summer by taking a tour of our yard to look for interesting things to note.  First of all, the temperatures have been cool again…really cool at 33 degrees when I get up in the morning. I haven’t lost any of our plants yet to the cold temperatures so I’m hoping they will continue to grow.

sunflower seedlings renees garden

Our transplanted sunflowers are looking good in their new box. I think we may have over planted but my husband just can’t bear to thin the seedlings. I’m dreaming of the colorful flowers to come. The only thing to be concerned about are the deer that may somehow get inside our fence and eat the flowers like they’re at a salad bar. It’s happened before!

I don’t think I have mentioned that the sunflowers we are growing come from Renee’s Garden. I have once again received some complimentary seeds from them to use in my garden.

Chocolate Cherry Sunflowers

Van Gogh Sunflowers

Birds and Bees Sunflowers

I also have a container filled with Junior Sunflowers.

I will share my results once they flower!


wildflowers in the yard june 2019

We’re blessed with an abundance and variety of wildflowers in our yard this year. Partly because we have kept the deer out and mostly because I convinced my husband to let a few areas just grow wildly. This has revealed a number of plants we didn’t know we had growing along the edges like the penstemon, the goosefoot violets, and the salsify.

leaf rollers aspen june 2019

Along with the increase in flowers, there are many more insects to observe. Right now there’s an insect that is rolling itself up in our aspen tree leaves.

We have ground squirrels that are burrowing into our landscaping berms. They are trying to tunnel their way over to the birdfeeder. Our dogs then take the opportunity to dig the tunnels out and chase the squirrels away. This is a problem because they unearth so many of our newly planted flowers in the process. I’m trying to resolve this problem without harming any flora or fauna.

chickadee june 2019

The babies are all hatching in our nests and nesting boxes. There have been a few casualties along the way but I think for the most part the birds are thriving and it has been a successful year of supporting the birds in our habitat.

mushroom june 2019

On a more serious note, we almost had a tragedy involving our puppy and mushrooms growing in our yard. We didn’t realize we had any mushrooms until I started looking carefully when Sierra started acting strangely. She was stumbling around, very agitated, and drooling. I found the mushroom near where she had dug up a small tree stump in our backyard. We rushed her to the vet’s and they were able to get her stabilized with fluids and oxygen. They tried to induce vomiting but were not successful. But, in the end, after a long and scary night, she came out the other side and seems to be recovering. We were very relieved that we caught it in time to get her help and that she’s a strong, healthy puppy.

sierra june 2019

PLEASE check your yard for mushrooms. Doing more research on this topic, I’ve learned that mushrooms are a common cause of poisoning for dogs. You can bet I will be mighty vigilant from now on and pluck any mushrooms up and throw them away as soon as I see them.

We’re looking out over the next couple months with anticipation for all the summer things we want to do while the weather is warm.

What did you do for the first day of summer?

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Weather @handbookofnaturestudy

Here’s a link to the original challenge for many ideas and printables to use as part of your early summer weather study: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Weather



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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Weather and First Day of Summer Ideas

I don’t know about you but I’m so very ready for the summer season! We’ve had a LONG and WET winter and spring this year and finally we’re experiencing a bit of summer temperatures. The most noticeable change is the amount of daylight. The sun is up early and it lingers in the evenings.

While you’re just starting your summer nature study planning, please consider completing this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge and observe your weather and perhaps make a special day of activity on June 21st as we all usher in the summer season.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Weather @handbookofnaturestudy

Link to the Summer Weather Challenge in the Archives: Summer Weather Study.

In addition, here are some terrific ideas for your First Day of Summer Activities.

sunflowers in our containers

First Day of Summer Flower Field Trip: Take a trip to your local garden nursery and let your child pick a plant to add to your backyard garden or patio container garden. After you plant your flower, sketch it into your nature journal along with the name of the flower and the date you planted it.


You can combine this activity with this Garden Flower Nursery Field Trip ideas and printable.

Summer Photo Challenge

First Day of Summer Photo Walk – Take a camera outdoors and find some special First Day of Summer subjects, take a photo, print out a few and safely tuck them into your nature journal. You can combine this with the Summer Photo Challenge.

First Day of Summer notebook page

First Day of Summer notebook page – After a nature walk, preferably under a shade tree, complete this notebook page for your nature journal.

Lava Butte

Are you as excited about summer as I am?

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Spring Weather 2019 – Outdoor Hour Challenge

Start Here:Spring Weather Nature Study

There is nothing better than seeing the beginning of the spring season, whatever that looks like in your local area. I am currently in California and the landscape is very different than back at home in Central Oregon. Here, the California rolling hills are turning green with the first of the spring grasses. The wild mustard is making its appearance with its yellow flowers that dance in the spring breezes. I have seen lots of red-tail hawks sitting in trees and up on telephone poles. The morning has birdsong and I can pick out a few of the main players like the robins and California quail.

It will be months before these are spotted in my own neighborhood once I return home.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the spring season while I can and make mental notes that will eventually go into my nature journal.

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge is linked above and the suggested activities will get you started with ideas for your outdoor time. There is a free printable notebook page included in that entry.

Links to prior season’s Outdoor Hour Challenges:

Autumn Weather Nature Study – Free Printable

Winter Weather Nature Study-Free Printable

Spring Ebooks Graphic button

There are many more spring related nature study ideas in the four ebooks shown above. You can find them in the Ultimate Naturalist membership library.


Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use discount code OHC10 for $5 off any membership!

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Winter Weather Study -Outdoor Hour Challenge

This week features an Outdoor Hour Challenge that everyone can complete no matter where you live! Take note of the weather using the suggestions in the winter weather nature study link below. This is a super easy and fun nature study topic that can be the start of a seasonal weather study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Weather Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Winter Weather Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 808-814

Outdoor Hour Challenge Weather Index @handbookofnaturestudy

Check the Handbook of Nature Study index for other weather related challenges for winter.

clouds+and+winter+sky.jpgDo Some Comparisons

Did you make autumn weather observations? Do a little comparing to this season using the questions below.

  • How is the scene you observed this week different from the autumn scene?
  • How are the temperatures different?
  • Is there a difference in the number of hours of daylight?


My Seasonal Weather Notebook Page

Printable Notebook Page: My Seasonal Weather.

Use the notebook page above to create a record of your observations for your nature journal.

Make sure to click the link below to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, and suggested follow-up activities.

Winter Weather Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 808-814


Winter Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series ebook found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link. Included in the ebook, there is a custom notebook page for this challenge.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

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3 New Printables for December Nature Study

Now available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships:

Under a Rock * First Day of Winter Walk * Cloud Journal

Use these new printable notebooking pages with your family this month!

Cloud Journal Notebook Page

First Day of Winter Walk Observation Notebook Page

Under a Rock Notebook Page

Under a Rock notebooking page: This was a special request from a family with young children and I thought it was a great addition to the printable library. Take an early winter walk and look for things still to be found under a rock!

First Day of Winter NatureWalk notebooking page: It’s hard to believe that this month we will have the official first day of winter but why not take advantage of the turn of the season to get outside and see what surprises you can find with your children? I am hoping to be recovered enough from my surgery to join you in a first day of winter nature walk on December 21st.

Cloud Journal notebooking page: Print this page at the beginning of any month and keep track of your clouds with simple sketches and words. I am really looking forward to this activity! This journal can be part of your winter weather nature study. Look for the official challenge on December 28, 2018.

Note: If you have any subjects you would like me to create nature notebook pages for, please let me know in a comment here on the blog or in an email:

Printables for Members Button

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

Please note that members have access to the complete year’s plan in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships. Non-members can follow along by subscribing to this blog and each Friday the Outdoor Hour Challenge will come into your email inbox.

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

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Autumn Weather Nature Study

Autumn Weather Nature Study

Autumn weather nature study

This week we’re going to do the first of our seasonal weather observations using the Handbook of Nature Study. Make sure to read the pages noted below in the Handbook of Nature Study under the section “How to Keep a Daily Weather Map”. There are more pages in the Handbook devoted to weather but this section will give you detailed suggestions for observing and then recording the weather with your children.

Autumn Weather Nature Study – Handbook of Nature Study Pages 806-807

Archive Outdoor Hour Challenge – Click the link above to take you to the original challenge.

Autumn Fire

“Few schools are able to have a working barometer, but observations of temperature and sky should be made in every school.”

Let us make it a daily habit to give a thought to weather conditions, the wind directions; the presence or absence of dew during the hours of evening, night, or early morning…”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 806

Make sure to click the link below to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, printable notebooking pages, and suggested follow-up activities.

Autumn Weather Nature Study – Handbook of Nature Study Pages 806-807

Weather Record Chart

Use this chart to record your weather statistics.

Link to chart: Weather Record Chart

My Seasonal Weather Notebook PageLink to notebook page: My Seasonal Weather

Use this printable notebook page to record your seasonal weather observations. Be sure to note on your planning calendar a reminder to create a page in each of the seasons!

Observing the weather does not need to be complicated and even looking out the window to note the sky conditions will build an appreciation and connection between what your children observe and the weather.

Printables for Members Button

A complete list of printables currently available to members can be viewed here:

Handbook of Nature Study Printables for Members List

OHC Plan 18 to 19 Join Us

This Outdoor Hour Challenge is part of the 2018-2019 Plan here on the Handbook of Nature Study. We’ll be using the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock to discover new things about the world around us. Join us each Friday for a different nature study topic. Make sure to subscribe to this blog to receive the weekly challenge right in your email box.

Note this is an Amazon affiliate link to a product I own and love.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn Seasonal Weather


Autumn weather nature study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Autumn Weather Observations 2017

From the Archives and from the Autumn ebook

If you’ve been following along with the Autumn Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges, you have been using comparisons to learn more about the topics. This week is no exception. Here are some of the ideas for using comparisons to learn about your seasonal weather.

  • Compare a sunny day and a rainy day by looking at the temperature, clouds, and wind speed or direction.
  • Compare weather on the same day by making observations both in the morning and then later in the afternoon or evening.
  • Compare your autumn landscape to what you remember about the summer or winter or spring.

Make sure to click over to the original challenge for more observation ideas. If you have the Autumn ebook, you will find several notebooking pages to use for this challenge.

Even if you just take 15 minutes to go outside and check the weather and have a breath of fresh air, you can feel successful with this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudyUse the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership!

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

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November Nature Walk Project

November Nature Walk Project

As the winter approaches, the temperatures have dropped significantly here in Central Oregon. This makes it hard to remain enthusiastic about getting outside for my daily walk. I did purchase a pair of winter boots to help keep my feet warm and dry on my outdoor excursions.

All I needed now was some motivation.

Then it came to me! Create a daily challenge to walk to the river.

I am such a creature of habit and I know making myself put those new winter boots on and get out the door every day would soon be something I looked forward to doing.  So, I started on the first of November and have so far kept my determination to take the short walk down from my back door to the Little Deschutes River every day.

I chose a spot to take a daily photo, showing the changes and conditions each day. It is just a few paces down from the back fence and it faces towards Paulina Peak centered between two trees and centered over a stump.


November 1st– just a typical autumn day


November 2nd – this was a weather transition day and there were quite a few gray clouds and it was getting cold


November 3rd– woke to a few inches of snow and we took our first snowy walk out to the river.


November 4th– a lot of the snow had melted but the weeds were still crunchy with ice and the river was getting icy on top.


November 5th– Back to a snowy landscape…the most snow we have had to date. We were out on our walk and it started to snow with large amazing flakes. Note: I forgot to take my traditional “over the stump” photo so this one will have to do!


November 6th–  The sun came out in the afternoon and I ventured out with our Kona dog. What a joyous walk! If only every day were this brilliant.


November 7th–  Still a little snow on the ground and the air temperatures never left the 30’s. The Kona dog and I took our romp down to the river’s edge, noted how cold the water looked today and then rushed home to warm up.

The value of a daily nature walk, even in the same place every time, is something I hope you can experience in your family. 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. The fresh air does wonders for blowing away the cobwebs of an indoor life.

Here a few nature walk ideas from my archives:

No Technology Walk

Use Your Senses Nature Walk

Members here on the Handbook of Nature Study have access to newsletters with nature walk ideas:

October 2013 – This whole edition is filled with nature walk ideas.

December 2016 – You will find the “3 Questions Hike” idea in this edition.