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Beautiful Easter Nature Studies For Kids

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.
Photo by Amy Law

Beautiful Easter Nature Studies For Kids

Why not spend these weeks leading up to Easter with some joyful activities which point to The Savior?

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.
Lenten Countdown Calendar by Nature Illustrator, Victoria Vels

Lovely Lent Countdown Printable

Begin with a lovely reminder of the Lenten season. Countdown to Resurrection morning with this member printable calendar complete with nature prompts by our Nature Illustrator and Crafts Editor, Victoria Vels.

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.
Photo by Amy Law

Easter Lily Nature Study for Your Outdoor Hour Challenge

Outdoor Hour hostess, Shirley Vels, shares, “during the Easter season, churches and homes are adorned with gorgeous, fragrant Easter lilies. But why? Why have these flowers become synonymous with Easter?”

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Luke 12: 27

Also grow a mini egg shell garden and learn about seed germination! Make an edible Easter lily dessert and make paper lilies too. All available now in your Spring Course in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

Resurrection Garden

Easter Craft – Make a Resurrection Garden

Just some simple supplies but plenty of discussion can happen while making it. Victoria is leading our members in creating your very own Resurrection Garden for her continuing Nature Crafts series.

Easter Lily Art Lesson

What a beautiful symbol of the Easter season – the lily! Enjoy this art lesson from our sister site, You ARE an ARTiST, included in the Easter Lily Nature Study in membership.

Julie shares, “Easter seems to come up suddenly. Maybe it’s because Easter weekend moves around the calendar, or maybe because it is preceded by Lent which is more solemn.

I decided I wanted to spend as much time anticipating the Resurrection with my children as we did the Incarnation. Both are beautiful events in our faith. Both bring a sense of wonder and awe. The Resurrection is special because it shows “God with us,” and God victorious for us!” Draw Your Way Through the Resurrection Story

More Spring and Easter Activities for Your Homeschool

Here are even more spring and Easter activities for your homeschool:

Easter and Spring Nature Studies in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Join us for even more homeschool nature studies this spring! With a new nature study each week plus a nature study calendar with daily prompts, you will have joyful learning leading all the way to summer!

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.

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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Fun Bird Nests and Eggs Activities For Nature Study

Enjoy these fun activities for learning about bird nests and eggs. Includes ideas for getting outside, bird resources and suggestions for follow up activities as well.

Enjoy these fun activities for learning about bird nests and eggs. Includes ideas for getting outside, bird resources and suggestions for follow up.
Photo by Amy Law

Activities for Learning About Bird Nests and Eggs

Spring is the time for birds to nest and currently we have nesting boxes up for a variety of birds: bluebirds, swallows, flickers, chickadees, and new to us is a robin’s nesting platform.  Every bird has its own unique nest and as we learn about birds, take time to look up and learn about their nest and eggs.

Enjoy these fun activities for learning about bird nests and eggs. Includes ideas for getting outside, bird resources and suggestions for follow up.

In Homeschool Nature Study Membership, there are several notebooking pages to use to record information about birds and their nests and eggs.

Enjoy these fun activities for learning about bird nests and eggs. Includes ideas for getting outside, bird resources and suggestions for follow up.

Bird Nests and Eggs Homeschool Resources

One of my favorite resources is the book Birds, Nests and Eggs.

The book Birds, Nests, and Eggs is the perfect beginner’s book for homeschool nature study. It’s also a wonderful take along guide that features many of the common birds that we see in our yards and neighborhoods.

Examples of Nests and Eggs: This is a page on the Cornell website that shows actual nests and eggs for many common birds. Spend some time with your children clicking the images and viewing them together.

Nestwatch: This citizen science program is something your family could participate in if you have a nest in your yard. Take a look and see if it’s something you can incorporate into your nature study plans.

Beautiful Birds Nests: Your Spring Homeschool Nature Study: There are so many wonderful homeschool resources for birds nests in your spring nature study! These are some of our favorites. Nests are each unique and colorful!

bird art lessons

You ARE an ARTiST has over 25 bird art lessons to enjoy! Browse A Bird Study with Chalk Pastels.

Learn how to draw a bird’s nest with this video art lesson.

Listen to Nana of You ARE an ARTiST’s John James Audubon podcast. He was the famous ornithologist, naturalist, and painter that documented all sorts of American birds in their natural habitats. He also identified 25 new species!

Homeschool Nature Study members can find Bird lessons in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter courses alongside the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Bird Nests and Eggs Studies in our Homeschool Nature Study Membership

You can use notebooking pages in Homeschool Nature Study Membership to complete a bird study that focuses on the nest.

You can find even more bird nature study ideas in the Learning About Birds Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum. This ebook curriculum is available in annual Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are also bird studies in each of the seasons. So many resources to enjoy!

Enjoy these fun activities for learning about bird nests and eggs. Includes ideas for getting outside, bird resources and suggestions for follow up.
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Tips for Tackling Difficult Nature Study Topics

All homeschooling moms have them: homeschool topics that we don’t feel confident to teach. Here are some tips for tackling difficult nature study topics.

All homeschooling moms have them: topics that we don’t feel confident to teach. Here are tips for tackling difficult nature study topics.
Photos by Amy Law

Building the Habit of Tackling Difficult Nature Study Subjects In Our Homeschools

Tackling the difficult topics found in nature study can be a stumbling block for many moms. Most of us find it easy to be interested in and to learn about topics like birds and butterflies alongside our children. But, what about things like spiders, fungus, or rocks? Are we as eager to study those things commonly found in nature? I’ve suffered from this lack of interest in tackling difficult topics in nature study with my children.

Reasons We May View Topics as Difficult

Let’s face it. Most of us are not “experts” in nature study. These things were not covered in our educational years. So many times, when we’re faced with introducing our children to nature study, we feel unqualified.

We lack knowledge in the area under study.

“But she should not let lack of knowledge be a wet blanket thrown over her pupils’ interest. She should say frankly, ‘I do not know; let us see if we cannot together find out this mysterious thing.’”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 3

We lack personal interest in a topic.

It’s our attitude about a topic that can either encourage or discourage our children in their pursuing the study of a topic. If you are disgusted by spiders, they will probably take on your attitude. Honestly, I found studying snakes one of the most difficult things to do with my children so I would continually put it off until a future date.

Resources may not be readily available.

At some point, we come across something during our nature study time that is not in the Handbook of Nature Study. It may be a local wildflower or a migrating bird. Whatever the topic, we lack the knowledge or resources to easily study it with our children. We realize we need to do more research in our study. It seems like too much work.

Ideas to Help with Difficult Nature Study Subjects

Start with the Handbook of Nature Study lessons for a topic.

Build Up Knowledge

If you need additional information, try the children’s section at your public library for books that talk about the topic. Search for videos on YouTube if you want some help making a topic less intimidating. (Note: The Outdoor Hour Challenges (OHC) will usually have all these ideas in the lesson so make sure to look up your topic to see if there is an OHC on the website that you may be able to use.)

Example from our nature study:

Rain Beetle – How to Identify a New Insect: I found that the closer I looked at this insect, the more beauty I found in its design and features. It taught me that sometimes if we just take time to learn more about a topic, the more interesting it becomes.

Develop Interest Over Time

If you introduce a topic and it falls flat, nothing says you can’t move onto something else. Sometimes you just need to let some time pass before you find a hook for a particular nature study topic. This is especially the case when you’re studying a subject that you haven’t encountered in person. We all get more excited about something new we see and experience with our own eyes!

“No teacher is expected to teach all the lessons in this book. A wide range of subjects is given, so that congenial choices may be made.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 24

Study a Variety of Nature Study Subjects

There is no end to the variety of nature study subjects available to you. You could easily stick to topics you are passionate about for a long time. Eventually, you may develop a desire to tackle some of the less attractive topics with your children. Give it time.

“Usually, the reason for this lack of interest is the limited range of subjects used for nature study lessons. Often the teacher insists upon flowers as the lesson subject, when toads or snakes would prove the key to the door of the child’s interest.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 6

Find a Group That Can Support Your Study

Ask around your community or look at local social media to find a group or event that will help you get excited about a nature study topic. Ask at a local nature center. Put the word out in your homeschooling community. Find a mentor for a topic that your child is interested in learning more about and you have no interest in tackling. There is no shame in finding help for difficult topics.

My Homeschool Mom Experience with Tackling Diffucult Nature Study Topics

One year we studied rocks and I took the kids to the local rock and mineral show at our fairgrounds. Talk about the perfect place to find a mentor in this area! Most of the participants were eager to share their knowledge and even invited the kids to join their rockhounding group. I was able to get suggestions for places to go look for rocks to collect and for books that we could add to our nature library.

More Ways to Include Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Here are a few more ideas you might enjoy:

Homeschool Nature Study Membership

All of the materials in Homeschool Nature Study Membership are going to give you support and direction in offering a simple study of difficult nature topics. Because we each have our individual likes and dislikes, it’s hard for me to point to just one resource for you to use in your study.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

written by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barbara McCoy

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February Homeschool Nature Studies Great for Bird Watching

These February homeschool nature studies are great for bird watching and study. Includes The Backyard Bird Count and more!

These February homeschool nature studies are great for bird watching and study. Includes The Backyard Bird Count and more!

February Homeschool Nature Studies Great for Bird Watching

There are so many ways to enjoy bird watching this month (or any month). Here are some ideas to get you started.

Great Backyard Bird Count Resources: Everything You Need

Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

What Is The Great Backyard Bird Count?

Each February, for four days, the world comes together for the love of birds. Over these four days we invite people to spend time in their favorite places watching and counting as many birds as they can find and reporting them to us. These observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

Birdcount.org
Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

Bird Watching 101: Attracting Birds to Your Yard

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching. We love to watch birds and do so on a regular basis without ever leaving our backyard. We can watch from our window or our deck and see usually around 4-5 different kinds of birds each day. At sometimes of the year, we have a lot more than that and it is exciting to see a new kind in the feeders.

Ultimate List of Bird Nature Studies Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! Find the list HERE.

These February homeschool nature studies are great for bird watching and study. Includes The Backyard Bird Count and more!
Photo by Amy Law

Make Bird Feeders and Bird Crafts for Your Backyard Birds

We created these amazing bird feeders in a special winter event with our sister site, You ARE an ARTiST! There are even more bird feeders/crafts you can enjoy in the replay. Find out more in this Winter Tree Homeschool Nature Study!

You might also like:

homeschool nature journaling
Photo by Amy Law

Start the Nature Journal Habit

Keeping a nature journal and building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. You will find nature journal ideas for everyone from young children to the homeschool mom!

You can even start a Calendar of Firsts – such a wonderful habit that will hep your children notice seasonal changes and more.

Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Music and Art

Because by the end of February we are all ready for spring! You may even have some early spring bulbs poking through the soil! Take a peek at this Spring Homeschool Nature Study.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these bird resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on bird nature study, bird watching and attracting birds 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!

Our family is going to be counting in the Great Backyard Bird Count! Join us! and be sure to share on social media and tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram or Homeschool Nature Study on Facebook with your results too!

Looking For More Activities For February Homeschooling?

Groundhog Day Homeschool Nature Study Activities

Whether it is Groundhog Day or you are just wanting to learn more about these mammals, enjoy these homeschool nature study activities about woodchucks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and marmots!

These February homeschool nature studies are great for bird watching and study. Includes The Backyard Bird Count and more!

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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10 Fun Groundhog Day Homeschool Nature Study Activities

Whether it is Groundhog Day or you are just wanting to learn more about these mammals, enjoy these homeschool nature study activities about woodchucks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and marmots!

Enjoy these groundhog homeschool nature study activities about woodchucks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and marmots - whether it is Groundhog Day or not!

10 Groundhog Homeschool Nature Study Activities

Have fun learning about these mammals! If you don’t have groundhogs near you, enjoy the alternate nature study activities for mammals.

Read About Groundhogs in The Handbook of Nature Study

1. Read pages 229-232 in the Handbook of Nature Study. As you read, highlight or underline some facts you can share with your children. There are observation ideas on page 231 and many of these suggestions are ones that you can continue to make over the next few seasons.

More Fun Learning About Groundhogs

Have you ever seen a marmot or a groundhog? Here is a cute video to introduce you to this mammal.

Read About The Groundhog in The Burgess Animal Book for Children

Enjoy this supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 7-8. After you read each story, pause and let your child narrate back some facts they learned from the reading.

This could be as simple as looking at the illustrations on pages 48 and 54 and having them tell you a few things about the woodchuck, the marmot, or the prairie dog.

Mammals: Groundhog Homeschool Nature Study Activities

Groundhog Outdoor Hour Nature Study


Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Look for signs of mammals as you walk. Look for tracks, burrows, holes, or scat. If you are able to observe one of this challenge’s featured mammals, be sure to use some of the observation ideas from page 231. Be alert for any opportunity to observe a mammal during your outdoor time. So far we have learned about rabbits and squirrels, but be on the look out for more common mammals like dogs, cats, or horses.

Don’t have groundhogs near you? More ideas for a mammal nature study in the Ultimate Mammals Homeschool Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Enjoy founder Barb McCoy’s family study of groundhogs and a foggy day walk.

Groundhog Nature Journaling Activity

After your outdoor time, if you observed a mammal, you can look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study. For your nature journal you can sketch something you saw during your outdoor time. One additional idea is to compare two animals that we have already studied. You can compare a rabbit and a prairie dog or a squirrel and a prairie dog. Make sketches or make a list of the comparisons. You may also use any of the additional resources for your nature journal.

Additional Groundhog Resources for Your Homeschool

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find a continuing series on mammals 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!

Enjoy these groundhog homeschool nature study activities about woodchucks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and marmots - whether it is Groundhog Day or not!

Written by Outdoor Hour Challenges founder, Barb and updated by Tricia.

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Snowman Bird Feeder Activity For Kids: A Winter Nature Study

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study and feathered friends.

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study.

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study.

Happy birds! We had large numbers of birds visit our yard during our snow days earlier this week. We had feeders filled with seeds and suet for them to enjoy. This time we had a special treat for them….a snowman bird feeder!

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study.

Winter Fun: How To Make a Snowman Bird Feeder

We created a small snowman on our deck and made eyes out of sunflower seeds and then filled the top of his head with a handful of sunflower seeds. I saw this idea on Pinterest and have been itching to try it. It took a little while for the birds to find the seeds but once they did it didn’t last for long.

They ate the eyes and all!

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study.

The second day I refilled the spot on the snowman’s head and they came back again.

It was a simple and fun way to observe birds from our window. The birds didn’t care if our snowman bird feeder wasn’t all that pretty.

I highly recommend trying this if you have snow in your yard. Snap a few photos and send one to me!

Join us for our Winter Wednesday homeschool nature studies!

winter homeschool nature study

More Winter Homeschool Nature Study Resources

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

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder Barbara McCoy

How to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study and feathered friends.
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Project Based Homeschool Nature Study: Keeping a Calendar of Firsts

Keeping a perpetual calendar of nature firsts is a wonderful long-term nature study project for families. It’s a simple way to learn the cycle of life in your world, noting the nature firsts that catch your attention each year. Comparing the dates of the firsts in nature will give you a more accurate telling of the passage of time.

Keeping a perpetual calendar of nature firsts is a wonderful long-term nature study project for families. It’s a simple way to learn the cycle of life in your world, noting the nature firsts that catch your attention each year. Comparing the dates of the firsts in nature will give you a more accurate telling of the passage of time.

Keeping a Calendar of Nature Firsts

Calendars: It’s a great idea to have children keep a calendar to record when and where they saw the first oak leaf, the first tadpole, the first primrose, the first ripe blackberries. Then next year they can pull out the calendar and know when to anticipate seeing these things again, and they can note new discoveries. Imagine how this will add enthusiasm for daily walks and nature hikes! A day won’t go by when something isn’t seen to excite them.

Charlotte Mason-in modern English
calendar of firsts nature study

Download Your Free Calendar Page

(Note that members have this printable in your Planning Resources course in Homeschool Nature Study membership!)

Get Your Nature Study Calendar Page!

Subscribe to get your free nature study calendar page.

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

    You can use a calendar page for each month with the list of days down the side or a more traditional grid style calendar where you fill in the boxes as you go. Whichever way you choose will work if you just remember to weekly take a minute or two to note any nature firsts you observed. Make sure to record the date (including year), time, and or location of your observation.

    Keeping a calendar of firsts a great project based activity for your homeschool nature study. Here's how to make it work.

    Nature Study Items To Look For Each Year

    • First elk
    • First ground squirrels
    • First snow
    • First robin, junco, swallow, hummingbird
    • Last leaves on the aspen (Yes, you can keep track of “lasts” as well.)
    • First campfire of the season
    • First fire in the wood stove
    Keeping a calendar of firsts a great project based activity for your homeschool nature study. Here's how to make it work.

    More Nature Study Firsts for You to Observe in Your Homeschool

    • First bee seen
    • Frogs chirping– first day heard
    • First mosquito bite
    • First skunk smell
    • First trillium or other wildflower blooming
    • First acorns on the ground
    • First green grass
    • First tulips blooming
    • First day warm enough for shorts and t-shirts
    • First freezing temperatures
    • First snowfall

    As you can see from the list, you are not limited to any one season or any one area for your firsts. Challenge your children to come up with some nature firsts of their own.

    A calendar of firsts can be kept by the entire family or by each individual child. The observations can be listed in words and/or pictures!

    The beauty of this project is that it can be started at any time and can be completed over many years with no guilt if you forget to record something for a period of time. If that happens, just pick up where you left off.

    Keeping a calendar of firsts a great project based activity for your homeschool nature study. Here's how to make it work.

    More Ways to Include Nature Study in Your Homeschool

    Here are a few more ideas you might enjoy:

    Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

    Written by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy in 2015. Updated by Tricia 2022.

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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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      A Robert Frost Style Winter Nature Study for Your Homeschool

      You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Frost’s poem, Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

      You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

      There was so much snow in our favorite woods…it brought to mind the Robert Frost poem that we have been reading in our poetry study the past few weeks.

      A Robert Frost Stopping By The Woods Winter Nature Study

      “Whose woods these are I think I know.

      His house is in the village though;

      He will not see me stopping here

      To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

      Robert Frost (Few lines from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, 1923).

      Using Snowshoes or Cross Country Skis for a Snow Hike

      Our Winter Wednesday color walk and cattail observations were combined into one snowy hike…snowshoes firmly attached. It started off with 18 degree weather but by the time we finished it was around 40 degrees, sun shining brightly.

      Look for Winter Colors in Your Homeschool Nature Study

      We started off with not much aim other than looking for colors and finding the cattail pond. I decided that it is nice to have something in mind as we head out in the really cold air….otherwise you keep your eyes down and forget to look up and out.

      The color palette of this snowy world is actually quite beautiful. The blue sky, the evergreen pines, the red-yellow-orange of the shrubs, the colorful lichens, and the blue of the lake really stand out against all the snow.

      1 6 11 Cattails at Taylor Creek with snow
      Our cattails this year are quite secluded and we aren’t even sure if we will be able to get out here since we think this is marshy in the spring and summer. It will be interesting to see how the terrain changes by the season.

      1 6 11 Cattails in the snow Taylor Creek
      Look at the mountain covered with snow! The colors really pop when you have all this whiteness going on…blue sky, reddish-oranges of the willow and dogwood, green evergreens.

      1 6 11 Snowshoe trail

      Keep Your Cross Country Ski Route in Mind

      It seems unlikely that we would get lost but we did wander around following someone else’s path. It is a really good idea to have in mind a route when you are out in the woods like this. We knew our general direction but you get tired trudging through large amounts of snow even with snowshoes on. (I also got hot…too many layers.)

      Our problem was that there are two large creeks that run through the snowy meadows and if you don’t plan it right you are stuck on one side with the water running between you and the rest of the path. I could see where animals had just jumped across the gap but with snowshoes on, you don’t jump very well. We had to find a way to go around.

      1 6 11 Taylor Creek with Snow
      Another factor is that with all this snow, our familiar landmarks are erased. The bushes are flat with snow and there is far more water than we are used to. All those lumps are bushes weighed down with a couple feet of snow. You can’t really hike over the top. Going around again.

      1 6 11 Snow Shoes at Taylor Creek
      In the end, we made it back to the car by following the creek and finding the bridge. It was a wonderful romp through the woods, successful in refreshing our hearts with some wonderful awesome vistas that you would never see if you didn’t break out the snowshoes or cross-country skis.

      You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

      A Homeschool Snow Study

      If you don’t have snowshoes or cross-country skis, you can still enjoy a fun homeschool snow study! Browse all of these fun ideas: Homeschool Snow Study

      You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

      A Robert Frost Art Lesson and Tea Time

      Follow up your outdoor hour time with a fun art and homeschool tea time! Fun ideas for Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening Homeschool Tea Time with You ARE an ARTiST. A printable Robert Frost poem is included in ARTiST Clubhouse membership.

      You might also like a Winter Snowflake Study with Snowflake Bentley.

      You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

      More Winter Homeschool Nature Study

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

      Be sure to share photos of your Robert Frost winter nature study with us! Tag us @outdoorhourchallenge

      Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

      Written by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy in 2011. Updated by Tricia 2022.

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      The Purpose of Nature Study: How to Use Questions and Answers in Your Homeschool

      Just what is the purpose of nature study? Use these examples for how to use questions and answers in your homeschool as a jumping off place for even more discoveries and further adventures! Learn together and make memories as a family.

      Photo by Amy Law

      The Purpose of Nature Study: How to Use Questions and Answers in Your Homeschool

      Nature study is more about asking questions than it is about finding answers. I always enjoy a good question because it means that my children are taking something they see or hear and are internalizing it and then coming up with a good question. Many times just asking the question helps solidify what they already know.

      “Nature study does not start out with the classification given in books, but in the end it builds up in the child’s mind a classification which is based on fundamental knowledge; it is a classification like that evolved by the first naturalists, because it is built on careful personal observations of both form and life.”

      Handbook of Nature Study, page 6

      For instance, if they see a little creeping creature and wonder what it is, they will need to look a little closer. On examining the creature, they see that it has six legs. Six legs equals an insect and not a spider.

      So already before asking me what it is, they have decided it must be some sort of insect and we can then pull out the proper field guide to see if we can identify it by habitat, color, shape, and size.

      Using Field Guides and References in Your Nature Study

      If we never positively identify a particular insect, we still have taken some time to investigate it further both in the field with our eyes and afterwards in the house with the field guide. The important work was done. We could be finished there if we felt satisfied or we could dig further, checking on the internet or at the library if we were inspired to know more.

      Other than the Handbook of Nature Study, a science reference shelf with a collection of field guides are the best tools for research. The process of going through identifying a subject leads you through a series of questions…good questions.

      questions and answers in nature study

      Nature Journaling in Your Homeschool

      Some families are making the next step and trying to keep a record of their time in nature with a nature journal. Our family finds this activity very rewarding but we don’t always draw in our journals after every outdoor time.

      Honestly, when we do take the time to try to draw what we see during our nature time, we get a lot more out of it. There is something about the process of taking your experiences and putting them down on paper that creates a special bond between you and the subject whether it is a leaf, a spider, a flower, or anything else you choose to draw.

      questions and answers in nature study

      Maybe you have a collection of items from a picnic nature study last summer….the process of collecting the items can be more fun than spending time identifying them. Just enjoy them and then leave them there at the beach. Maybe next time you will have some questions ready to ask and the proper field guide on hand and will get down to the business of knowing the particular rock and tree.

      So don’t be afraid of questions….questions are a great tool. You don’t need to know all the answers to the questions that your children have about nature study. Consider it a good thing when you find something you need to research because you will learn right alongside your child.

      More Ways to Spark Interesting Questions and Answers in Your Homeschool

      Here are a few more ideas you might enjoy:

      questions and answers in nature study

      Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

      by Barb McCoy, Outdoor Hour Challenges founder, September 2008