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7 Top Tips For Using The Handbook Of Nature Study In Your Homeschool

Have you ever wondered how to use The Handbook of Nature Study? Does one look at it have you feeling completely overwhelmed? Here are 7 top tips to help you use The Handbook Of Nature Study In Your Homeschool.

The Handbook Of Nature Study: Perfect For Your Homeschool

This is a BIG book and can be a little intimidating!

Don’t worry, I felt the same way which is why I want to share how The Handbook of Nature Study might be helpful in your homeschool.

Don't be put off using the Handbook of Nature Study, read our top tips on how to use the handbook of nature study in your homeschool.

The Pros And Cons Of Using The Handbook Of Nature Study As A Guide In your Homeschool

What made me not want to use this book before:

  • 1. Size-over 800 pages doesn’t transport well in my backpack
  • 2. Black and white photos
  • 3. I was trying to use it as a field guide.
  • 4. I wanted to just start at the front and work my way to the back like a “regular” book.
  • 5. I thought it would take too much time to use this book in our nature study because of the size and the sheer volume of information.

The Benefits Of Using The Handbook Of Nature Study As A Resource In Your Homeschool

Here are some thoughts that I have now that I took the plunge and started using this wonderful book:

  • 1. Read the pages at the beginning of the book that talks generally about nature study.
  • 2. Pick a topic to focus on and read the introductory pages for that section only. We are focusing on insects this term but you can pick anything that seems appropriate for your family. You could change your focus each season if you wanted to. 3. Take the time after your nature walk to look up things that you saw on that nature walk. I turn to the table of contents and just scan down the list and see if I can find what I want to research. For instance, you might have seen a honeybee and it is very easy to skim down and find honeybee and turn right to those few pages.
  • 4. Read the small section (usually 1 or 2 pages) that pertain to that object or creature.
  • 5. Write in the book……gasp. Yes, write in the book as you go along to highlight the little bits of information that you want to share with your children.
  • 6. If you don’t have time after your nature walk to look something up and share it right then, research it in the Handbook before your next nature study session and then share it the next time.
  • 7. Realize that nature study is a lifelong project, or at least I think it should be. You don’t need to cover every aspect of everything you find.
Tips for Using the Handbook of Nature Study

Making Homeschool Nature Study Easy And Effective

Anna Botsford Comstock suggests that nature study be only 10 minutes to half an hour in length. (page 6) I am finding this is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes outside with my boys each day….yes we are committing to 10-60 minutes outside per day. We all feel so much more refreshed and it has actually helped us be more focused when we are doing our indoor homeschooling.

If you’re not a member here on the Handbook of 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.

12 thoughts on “7 Top Tips For Using The Handbook Of Nature Study In Your Homeschool

  1. Hi Barb –

    Thanks for the great posts… we love the blog. We also have the Handbook of Nature Study… your reasons for not using it in the past make me laugh. They are so similar to my unspoken thoughts. Your approach sounds super and we’ll give it a shot.

    Also, thanks for visiting our blog and leaving such a kind comment. While it has nothing to do with home schooling, the blog is certainly a wonderful outlet for Mommy emotions in our foster/adoption experience. Maybe I’ll jump in with a home schooling blog in the future.

    May God Bless your efforts to point us all to Him through His glorious creation,

  2. Thanks for this “how to” post. The size of this book has been a little intimidating to me, so it is nice to see how we can use it. I’ve got it on my amazon wish list for next time I order!

  3. I bought the book this summer. I am with you, it can be quite a challenge at first. I read the first sections and fell in love. I admit that I sometimes forget about it now. We are so busy doing our nature walks that we forget about the study part.

  4. Glad to find your nature blog. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Great suggestions. I recently bought the book and had not used it yet because it was so intimidating. I confess that I didn’t read the first few pages though, so I will do that. Thanks.

  6. Thank you! I found you after an online search for the book. I will be referring back here often. You have made me definitely feel more comfortable about using this book.

  7. Thanks for this post. I linked to it from my blog at Heart of Wisdom.


  8. Thank you for this post. I was nodding my head as I was reading your reasons for not using the book. But your explanation of how to use it made alot of sense and I feel much less intimidated. Thanks!

  9. Hi! I just discovered your blog. I just bought the Handbook & I am excited to begin using it with my kids. Thanks for all the tips & advice.

  10. Karyn,

    Welcome to my blog and if you need any help, feel free to email me anytime.


  11. Hi,

    I just discovered you blog and am in *LOVE* with it!!! I find it very inspiring! Nature is huge for our family and it is nice to see other families enjoying the outdoors much like our own. We are starting up our schooling on a more official level in a couple of months and I am definately planning to add this to our studies. I am looking forward to studying your blog more and learning from you! Thank You for such a great resource!

  12. Wow, thank you for writing this. I own the book, and have tried to use it a few times.
    The first time, I tried to do cover-to-cover reading and, like you pointed out, that is obviously NOT the way to use this book!
    After reading these tips, I’m going to try again! We love, love nature study, and I just know that this book can be useful to us, if I use it correctly.

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