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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Weed Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Weed Nature Study

Winter weeds are a quick and easy nature study topic that you can complete in your yard or neighborhood, or at a local park or alongside a road (be watchful of traffic). Spend a few minutes this week to take notice of any weeds you may have, searching for seeds or signs of animals feeding nearby.

Beloved by homeschool families worldwide, this study focuses on the Handbook of Nature Study and winter weeds this week.

Easy And Engaging Homeschool Nature Study

You can use these links for some specific Winter Homeschool Nature Study ideas:

Beloved by homeschool families worldwide, this study focuses on the Handbook of Nature Study and winter weeds this week.

Getting Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge In Your Homeschool Nature Study


Download your free copy of our Getting Started ebook and complete challenge #6. You may wish to make a list of weeds you observed in winter and then check the list during the summer to see if you can add some more entries.   

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership For Support All Year Long

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

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge is from the Winter Wednesday Course and Curriculum.

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Winter Bird Homeschool Nature Study: Your Resident Winter Birds

Winter bird-watching can be rewarding! Even when the landscape is covered in snow or ice or mud, there are always birds that will come to visit if you create a little bird-friendly habitat with some seeds, suet, and freshwater. You can observe birds right from your window if the weather isn’t friendly. Or, if you have the right conditions, take a bird walk in a nearby wood. Winter is an amazing time to stroll your neighborhood looking for resident or visiting birds.

OHC Winter Bird Study – Looking at your resident winter birds.

This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Bird Study

In addition to just enjoying your local birds, this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge helps you to learn a little bit about bird migration using the information in the Handbook of Nature Study and a couple of online resources. Click over to the original challenge and see how easy this nature study can be for your family.

I’m enjoying Project Feederwatch which helps keep me motivated to look for birds at my own feeder. Use this challenge as a way to motivate your family to look for birds during the winter months.

Winter Bird Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 35-37

Make sure to note the links and additional resources suggested for your tree study.

Check the Handbook of Nature Study index for the bird you observe this week or use the bird tab at the top of my website to see if there is an archived Outdoor Hour Challenge for you to use in your study.

Winter Bird Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 35-37

Additional Ideas For Homeschool Bird Study

Download and save the Cornell Feeder Bird coloring book. This book has many of the most common birds you will see in your backyard and it makes a perfect complement to your family’s bird nature study.

Earlier this year I wrote about the book Birds, Nests, and Eggs as part of the Nature Book Club. You may wish to click over and read that entry and use the printables available in that entry for additional study.

OHC Winter Bird Study – Looking at your resident winter birds.

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series course available to our members. Log into your membership to download the Handbook of Nature Study Winter curriculum. There is a custom notebook page for this challenge included in the nature curriculum.

You can find even more winter bird nature study ideas in the Learning About Birds curriculum from the Outdoor Hour Challenge. This nature curriculum is available in membership.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Our nature members have access to all the curriculum books, an interactive calendar and a brand new, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge post each week.

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

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Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Insects

This week we are focusing on winter insects in our homeschool nature study outdoor hour challenges. We are using the Winter Wednesday course and Handbook of Nature Study curriculum with our members. You can join our membership at any time. You will find a button at the end of this post that will take you to the signup page.

We are delighted to have you along for our Outdoor Hour Challenges (OHC) using the Handbook of Nature Study either way so let’s hop right into this week’s challenge.

Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Insects

This OHC is from our Winter Wednesday course which utilizes both The Handbook of Nature Study and Discover Nature in Winter.

This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Insects

1. Read chapter seven in Discover Nature in WinterMake note of any ideas for observing insects that would apply to your area. The purpose of this chapter is to make you aware of the various places that insects over winter: as fertilized eggs, as larvae, a few as pupae, and a few that hibernate. This chapter has lots of great illustrations showing what insects in winter may look like during the various stages. I highly recommend sharing these illustrations with your children.


2. Our family is going to look for and record any overwintering insects we can find using the instructions on pages 140-141. We will be making a chart like the one on page 141 for our nature journal. We will also be on the lookout for galls and taking photographs for our nature journal. See pages 142-143 for more information.

For families wanting to participate that do not have the Discover Winter in Nature book, I will list a few simple nature study ideas that you can try with your family.

1. This might be the perfect time to learn the life cycle of a common insect such as the monarch butterfly or a dragonfly.
2. Look for signs of insects: on bare tree branches, under rocks, on the backside of leaves, on or under a fallen log, in a woodpile, in the soil.

Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Insects

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership

By joining the Homeschool Nature Study membership you get access to all the curriculum, the interactive calendar and a brand new Outdoor Hour Challenge each week.

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

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Homeschool Nature Study the Gentle Way

Wondering how to enjoy homeschool nature study the gentle way? Here are some simple steps to get you started. No special equipment needed!

I don’t look at outdoor time and nature study as one more homeschool subject I need to plan and be ready for, I just let it unfold. If your children want to learn more about something they find while outdoors, gradually teach them to look things up for themselves in a good field guide or on your next trip to the library.

If you observe and identify one tree per year, over the course of your child’s education, you will have learned about 12 different trees! I don’t know about you but I have a hard time just listing 12 trees by name. So if your child has become acquainted with 12 trees, they are far better off than many of us.

Homeschool Nature Study the Gentle Way

My suggestion: Study one tree, one bird, and one insect per school year.

Take it slowly.

Wondering how to enjoy homeschool nature study the gentle way? Here are some simple steps to get you started. No special equipment needed!
photo by Amy Law

How to Enjoy Homeschool Nature Study in Simple Steps

Find one tree in your yard that you can study for a whole term.

  • Find out what kind of tree it is.
  • Make rubbings of the leaves and bark.
  • Does it drop its leaves or does it stay green year round?
  • Does it have any birds in it? Any insect holes? Hollows for critters?
  • Can you climb up into it and see what the view is?
  • Can you lay under your tree and watch the branches move in the breeze?
  • Does it have blossoms, fruit, cones, seeds, or other objects to study?
  • Do you see a nest in the tree?
  • Is the trunk straight, crooked, twisted, rough, or smooth?
  • Do the leaves or needles smell good? How about the bark?
  • Watch and observe and narrate one thing at a time you will find that it is really not so hard. If you feel like recording the experience, put something on paper.

Nature study the gentle way. Slowly, gradually, gently….it works.

Nature Study in Your Own Backyard – Studying One Tree

So I decided to follow my own advice and I went out and found a tree in my yard that I was interested in learning about. Turns out that after examining the leaves and the trunk of the tree, I discovered my tree is an Interior Live Oak. I know there are several varieties of oaks in my yard but I have never taken the time to identify them as any particular oak. My oak has leaves with pointy edges and they are glossy on both sides. It also has pointy acorns.

While I was examining the trunk I discovered that one side of it has *lots* of woodpecker holes drilled into it. I have walked by this particular tree hundreds of times but have failed to notice the holes. Amazing….now I will on the watch to see if I can see the woodpecker that makes the holes.

I used a tree identification guide and my new tree field guide to help me. This whole process, including taking the photos, only took a few minutes. I plan on watching my oak to see if there are any other things that I can learn about it.

So you can enjoy nature study the gentle way, the Getting Started ebook is available in every level of membership here on Homeschool Nature Study.

Wondering how to enjoy homeschool nature study the gentle way? Here are some simple steps to get you started. No special equipment needed!

This post first published by Barb May 2008 and Photo by Erin Vincent

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Winter Homeschool Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation

This winter homeschool nature study curriculum contains all the nature study Outdoor Hour Challenges, custom notebook pages for nature study as well as art and music appreciation, and three months’ worth of art and music appreciation.

Writing this winter homeschool nature study curriculum has helped us appreciate the winter season more than we ever have before. Part of our enthusiasm has come from spending more time outdoors bundled up with our families exploring the winter landscape.

Blankets of snow for your winter homeschool nature study!
Image by Amy Law

Winter changes our normal view of things by emptying the trees of their leaves and covering the ground in thin or thick blankets of snow. The colors of winter are more vivid and the sky seems more brilliantly blue at times with its puffs of white clouds dotting the horizon.

The season of cold can bring surprising nature study subjects your way and if you are open and aware of these opportunities, you will soon find yourself loving or at least appreciating this winter season.

Our sincere wish is that this book will help your family find some joy in winter homeschool nature study. In addition to nature study, this curriculum offers you a chance to include some winter artist study and music appreciation as well. Give everything a chance and see what happens!

With much joy,

Homeschool Nature Study Team, Home of the Outdoor Hour Challenge

Winter Homeschool Nature with Art and Music Appreciation is available in membership, along with access to 26+ Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum and courses, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges, a monthly nature calendar with daily nature study prompts and more!

This winter homeschool nature study curriculum contains not only nature study but notebook pages plus three months’ worth of art and music appreciation.
You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse members also enjoy this course! Image by Erin Vincent.

The Winter Homeschool Nature Study for Members Includes:

You will have a complete plan at your fingertips for your spring nature study, art appreciation, and music study. You will need to have the Handbook of Nature Study in order to complete the nature study challenges. All of the art prints are included in the curriculum and there are links to viewing them online as well.

  • 10 Outdoor Hour Challenges – All the Outdoor Hour Challenges in this curriculum are based on the Handbook of Nature Study and include page numbers and suggested learning observations. More about the Handbook of Nature Study, here.
  • 10 Outdoor Hour Challenge notebook pages and nature journal suggestions.
  • 3 months’ worth of art and music appreciation- 3 composers and 3 artists with links, prints to view, coordinating projects, a coloring page, and notebook pages. More on our sister site and the Homeschool Fine Arts curriculum, here.
  • Links for further enrichment for each Outdoor Hour Challenge, artist study, and composer study.
  • Complete list of resources and instructions to get started with your winter study.
  • Topics Include: winter cattail study, tree study, sky, weather, pine tree, salt study, winter bird, small square study, early spring flower, signs of spring walk
winter homeschool nature study - snow melting activity
Image by Amy Law

Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum Included

Each challenge has three parts: inside preparation work, outdoor time, and then a follow up activity. You can complete all or part of each challenge as you go along. Each challenge is written so you can adapt it to your own backyard or local area. Use the ideas as a way to get started with simple weekly nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study. Some of the challenges include pages to read from the Discover Nature in Winter book.

Winter Series Art Appreciation Curriculum Included

Each month there is a suggested piece of artwork to study with your family. You can view the print on your computer, print out the page from the curriculum, or you can follow the provided link to see the artwork in a larger format. Plans for viewing, studying, and then completing a follow up piece of artwork are included with each painting.

Music Appreciation Homeschool Curriculum Included

To enhance your winter nature study, this curriculum includes a suggested piece of music for your family to listen to each month. The plans for each composer include links to biographies, links to listen to the music online, suggestions for CDs to purchase, and plans for completing your music appreciation studies. Each month has a suggested art activity to go along with the musical selection as well.

We have aimed to keep these challenges and studies as simple as possible with very few additional resources needed.

This winter homeschool nature study curriculum contains not only nature study but notebook pages plus three months’ worth of art and music appreciation.
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Preschool Homeschool Nature Study for Young People

Here you can learn how you to easily start preschool homeschool nature study. Nature study for young people is a joyous time of discovery and a time of introducing children to the beautiful world God created!

Think of the earliest years outdoors with your children as the way to start a valuable habit. I have seen in my family that developing a love and curiosity about the natural world developed gradually over their childhood. The earlier you start building a habit of nature study in your family, the easier it will be to encourage children who are eager to be outside and engaged in nature study. Here are a few more ideas on building the nature study habit at an early age.

How you can easily start preschool homeschool nature study. Nature study for young people is a joyous time of discovery of the beautiful world God created!
Photo by Amy Law

Preschool Homeschool Nature Study

“..the mother must not miss this opportunity of being outdoors to train the children to have seeing eyes, hearing ears and seeds of truth deposited into their minds to grow and blossom on their own in the secret chambers of their imaginations.”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 45

I believe in the younger grades that our responsibility as parents is to open the eyes of our children to the world around them, exposing them to real things and real places.

I have long said here on this blog that it makes no sense to me to teach our children about the rain forest if they haven’t even learned about the trees and animals in their local habitat. The younger years of preschool homeschool nature study are the time to get outside and take walks and look at real things up close. The preschool years are the time to form memories and impressions. There is a time for books and textbooks (in limited amounts) but that can come later.

“As soon as a child is old enough, he should keep his own nature notebook for his enjoyment. Every day’s walk will give something interesting to add–three squirrels playing in a tree, a bluejay flying across a field, a caterpillar crawling up a bush, a snail eating a cabbage leaf, a spider suddenly dropping from a thread to the ground, where he found ivy and how it was growing and what plants were growing with it, and how ivy manages to climb.”
Charlotte Mason Volume 1 Home Education page 54.

homeschool nature journaling with preschoolers and young students

Thoughts on Nature Study from Charlotte Mason

  • The skill of drawing should not be addressed in the nature notebook. pg. 55
  • If the child is too young to write, the mother should do it. pg. 58
  • Encourage your children to sit quietly and patiently and to look closely. pg. 57
  • Some children are born naturalists but all have a natural curiousity that can be encouraged. pg. 58
  • Most children will think of a million things to put in his nature notebook. pg 55
Learn how you can easily start preschool homeschool nature study. Nature study for young people is a joyous time of discovery and introducing children to the beautiful world God created!

Some of My Own Observations on Preschool Nature Study

  • It takes my children a long time to explore outdoors and they can do it very well without my interfering. I try to follow their lead and not rush them.
  • I need to participate in the nature study myself. I try to model how to find a subject for my notebook and really observe the object.
  • Drawing the object in the notebook is the last step in really “seeing” the object.
  • There is no use in forcing a child to work in a nature journal. Regular exposure to the outdoor life will eventually lead to a desire to keep a record of what they see that interests them.
  • Every nature journal is unique to the owner. I tend to record scenes in my journal. My daughter usually finds something pretty to draw. My boys find “things” to record in their journals like sticks, bugs, leaves, and seeds.
  • Don’t limit your journals to sketches. Sometimes we include photos in our journals. We have taken rubbings of bark or leaves. We have even taped small objects into our journals. Variety in our journals make them more interesting.

It will always be a joy to look back on the sketches and remember what fun you had exploring the outdoors. It’s homeschool nature study the gentle way.

Nature Study Year Round Support for Your Homeschool Family

We would love for your family to join us for the Outdoor Hour Challenges! We will help you bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool! The Getting Started ebook is available in every level of membership here on Homeschool Nature Study. It provides access to Outdoor Hour Challenges curriculum and tons of resources to enrich your homeschool.

This post first published by Barb May 2008. Updated January 2022.

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Guide to Spring Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season with this guide to spring nature study in your homeschool.

Getting outside with our children can be the sanity saving activity we all need. As spring approaches, have you considered adding a little nature study into your weekly routine? I’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, stating that they thought it would restrict their freedom to focus on one topic. But, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside and it helped them be better at taking a few minutes to learn about an object they encountered, even if it wasn’t the original aim for getting outdoors.

Guide to Spring Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Here are some ideas from year-long nature study topics that we have hosted with the Outdoor Hour Challenge. All of these are available in Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

  • Spring Weather Observations
  • Spring Splendor Walk – spring nature walk scavenger hunt
  • Signs of Spring – Outdoor Hour Challenge
  • Spring Bird Observations
  • Seasonal Cattail Study
  • Seasonal Milkweed Study
  • Year-Long Pond Study
  • Year-Long Queen Anne’s Lace Study
  • Burdock Study – start a year-long study

You may wish to start a new year-long study this spring using some of the ideas above.

Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season with this guide to spring nature study in your homeschool.

The key is to make a regular habit of getting outside and taking note of things that interest your family. You can even enjoy spring nature study in your homeschool with multiple ages.

Spring is a fantastic time to start a season of nature study. Please see the offerings listed below along with their specific topics. Consider working through a course in our membership or you can pick and choose subjects from any of the courses. Without a lot of extra effort, you can customize your spring nature study by picking your favorite topics from any of the courses listed. Or you can follow the wonderful Nature Study Plan that your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess, Shirley Ann Vels, has put together for you. There is a brand new Outdoor Hour Challenge for our members each Friday!

Spring Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum

Spring With Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum

Did you know this course also contains art and music appreciation? Here is a sampling of the Outdoor Hour Challenges you will find.

  • Spring Peepers
  • Jack in the Pulpit
  • Yellow Ladies Slipper/Yellow Adder’s Tongue
  • Trillium
  • Bluets
  • May Apple
  • Newt
  • Petunias
  • Geranium
  • Nasturtiums
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Crayfish
  • Mountain Laurel
nature journaling

More Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenges – Spring Splendor Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum

  • Spring Splendor Walk
  • Buds, Catkins, and Blossoms
  • Spring Birds – Robin
  • Spring Wildflowers – Buttercups and Poppies
  • Spring Mammal – Goats
  • Spring Tree – Dogwood
  • Ferns
  • Vines – Sweet Pea, Dodder, or Hedge Bindweed
  • Garden Snails
  • Blue Flag Iris
Handbook of Nature Study book for homeschool nature study
More on The Handbook of Nature Study book here.

Spring Series Course and Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool

  • Signs of Spring-Bonus challenge
  • Maple Tree Observation Sheet
  • #1 Year-Long Tree Study
  • #2 Spring Weather Observations
  • #3 Spring Bird Study
  • #4 Spring Wildflower Study-Dandelions
  • #5 Spring Cattail Observations
  • #6 Apple Tree Study
  • #7 Cats
  • #8 Snakes
  • #9 Earthworms
  • #10 Ants
Garden Handbook of Nature Study curriculum

The Garden Flower and Plant Course and Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum for Homeschool

  • #12 Focus on Garden Flowers – Seeds
  • #13 Garden Flowers – Flower Parts
  • #14 Garden Flowers – Pressing Flowers
  • #15 Garden Flowers – How To Draw A Flower
  • #16 Garden Flowers – Sunflowers
  • #17 Garden Flowers – Collecting Leaves
  • #18 Garden Flowers – Pollen
  • #19 Garden Flowers – Seeds and Germination
  • #29 Sunflowers
  • #30 Weeds and Seeds
Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season with this guide to spring nature study in your homeschool.

Spring Nature Study With Art and Music Appreciation

You will have a complete plan at your fingertips for your spring nature study, art appreciation, and music study. You will need to have the Handbook of Nature Study in order to complete the nature study challenges. All of the art prints are included in the ebook and there are links to viewing them online as well. There are three featured composers and their music are offered on one CD: Classical Music Start-Up Kit Volume Two. You can choose to purchase this CD for convenience or use the online links to listen to the music suggested in the music appreciation plans. We have aimed to keep these challenges and studies as simple as possible with very few additional resources needed.

Won’t you join us for spring nature study?

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Nature Study-Creating Habits Young

Here you will find some of the best tips for homeschool nature study and creating habits young. Nature study can be a family activity with short lessons for your preschoolers or elementary-aged children during outdoor time.

“As for the baby, when he is put down, he will kick and crawl and grab at the grass, loving every minute of his freedom as he takes in nature in his own way. He should be dressed in something comfortable that can handle a bit of dirt and play.”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 45

Homeschool Nature Study – Creating Habits Young

In our family, when the children were young, we would work and play in the yard together just about every day. The habit of getting outdoors for a few minutes together began even before we started any sort of formal nature study. Simply being outside as a family pulling weeds, cutting flowers to bring inside, sitting on the grass and watching the birds in the feeders, sweeping the walk, swinging on the rope swing, tidying the garden, playing with the dog, turning the compost, or watering the deck plants, brought us in touch with so many interesting things to observe and enjoy.

There were rocks to turn over and look at what was hiding underneath…..ants and spiders and crickets. There were plants to smell like roses, thyme, and lavender. There were trees to touch and leaves to gather.

Nature Study is a Family Activity

The earlier you start building these habits in your family, the easier it will be to create children who are eager to be outside and engaged in nature study. Think of the earliest years outdoors with your children as the way to start a valuable habit. I have seen in my family that developing a love and curiosity about the natural world developed gradually over their childhood.

“..the mother must not miss this opportunity of being outdoors to train the children to have seeing eyes, hearing ears and seeds of truth deposited into their minds to grow and blossom on their own in the secret chambers of their imaginations.”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 45

I believe in the younger grades that our responsibility as parents is to open the eyes of our children to the world around them, exposing them to real things and real places. As I said in Nature Study for Young People, “it makes no sense to me to teach our children about the rain forest if they haven’t even learned about the trees and animals in their local habitat. The younger years are the time to get outside and take walks and look at real things up close and form memories and impressions. There is a time for books and textbooks (in limited amounts) but that can come later.”

Nature Study with Very Young Children – Getting Outside Safely

Once you decide you want to venture out of your own yard, the stroller is a great way to get the little ones out but still let them be a part of your nature time. You can point things out to get them started, but soon they’ll be looking for clouds and birds on their own. Be flexible. I have one child that would rather push the stroller than sit and ride so I would tell him that he had to keep a hand on the stroller as we walked along at his pace. This kept him from running too far ahead and I could interact with him as interesting things caught our eye. This gave him a little sense of freedom, but I could be in close supervision.

From a very early age, we included the little ones along on our family hikes. The baby backpack was our best friend and the boys both loved riding along on dad’s back as we hiked. We trained them to ride in the backpack and then gradually shifted them to walking on their own.

Homeschool Nature Study Tips for Young Children

One of our favorite daily activities when the boys were very small was to let them use a small watering can to water our deck plants each morning. We would observe the flowers and play in the water a little, but they began to have an appreciation for growing things.

Also, the boys have always loved helping to fill the birdfeeders. This would get us outdoors and talking about the different visitors we had that ate the seeds. Scooping seed was a favorite toddler activity as well.

Collecting things to bring home and organize is also something very young children enjoy. I have one son that always had a pocket full of acorns every time he went outside. We collected them in a coffee can each day and he enjoyed spilling them out on the deck to count and sort through on his own.

Using the Outdoor Hour Challenge for Creating Habits Young

Let’s say that your family has preschool or young grammar age children. You have a suburban backyard. You have one afternoon a week that you can devote to nature study. You are new to nature study but you know your children have an interest in birds. How will you use the Outdoor Hour Challenges?

  • Pick your Outdoor Hour Challenge from the selection of birds available for creating habits young. You’ll need to read through the Challenge and then read the corresponding pages in the Handbook of Nature Study. Note a few points that you can weave into your outdoor time. Prepare the children as much as you can in a way that is appropriate for their ages. If the lesson for the week is to learn about bird’s beaks, you might mention a few facts about bird beaks before you head out the door.
  • I might start off our outdoor time with a walk around the yard to see if we find anything new or interesting. If a bird happens along at the feeder or nearby, stop and quietly observe the bird, making special note of the bird’s beak.
  • After the birds flies away, take a minute to ask if your child was able to observe anything about the bird’s beak. Was it long, short, pointed, round, black, yellow, bigger than the head, and how did the bird use the beak? In this way you start to create the habit of observing nature carefully together. Keep the “lesson” short.

“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel when introducing a young child to the natural world. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.”

-Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder

Nature Study for Young Children: In My Experience

In the younger years, we should be more concerned with creating that direct contact with nature and not the memorizing of facts about things we haven’t encountered in real life. Nature study should include those objects most often seen and encountered during your outdoor time. The flowers, trees, birds, insects, and rocks that are found in your own yard or neighborhood are the perfect start to your nature study experiences. The best way for creating habits young and to teach nature study is not by setting out a rigid course of study but to be aware of topics that are all around you and one by one to make observations and to learn as a family.

For instance, you could read about a monarch in a book, noting the illustrations and the scientific facts about this beautiful butterfly. This may soon be forgotten. But, if you are out in your garden or on a nature walk and come across a monarch butterfly that maybe has a tattered wing, your child might just want to know about where it came from and why it has a few ragged edges on its wings. They care about the real butterfly. Their personal experience with this insect will now give the reading about it in a book more meaning. This butterfly now has a story and your child might be more inclined to tell that story in their own words either orally or on paper. The correlation between what they saw in the garden and what they have learned about the monarch may even spur them to act in behalf of that monarch by planting a butterfly garden with milkweed or participate in a citizen science project where they tag monarchs.

If you are 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 with creating habits young and growing the habit of nature study within your family.

The best tips for creating habits young. Homeschool nature study can be a family activity with your preschoolers or elementary-aged children.
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Bear Nature Study for Your Homeschool

We’re starting with a favorite topic, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge and bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool.

We’re starting with a favorite topic of mine, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Forest Fun for Your Homeschool

You can enjoy some forest fun nature studies in your homeschool and do a bear nature study Outdoor Hour Challenge. Just how to do this?

Choose your resource for learning about the black bear. This can be an online site like National Wildlife Federation or the National Park Service.

Please note that I will not be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you’ll find the detailed bear nature study challenge in the Forest Fun course that’s available with Homeschool Nature Study Membership. Sign into your account and download the accompanying homeschool curriculum for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

Find a bears study for your homeschool in the Forest Fun course in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

You can work through the Forest Fun Handbook of Nature Study curriculum any time during your homeschool studies. Forest Fun is a brand new series of homeschool nature studies featuring things you might find in the forest. It’s not too late to join us by purchasing a membership.

Enjoy a bears study in your homeschool!

It might be interesting to investigate online all the different types of bears there are in your area of the country. For example, we saw grizzly bears at Grand Teton National Park. The, on a camping trip to Yosemite, a black bear visited our campsite.

More Bears Study Resources for Your Homeschool

If you are looking for some hands on fun, you might also enjoy these bear nature study ideas from our sister website, You ARE an ARTiST:

Nana tells the story of bear coming into her backyard and taking a nap. She lives in an Atlanta suburb, so this was a really big deal! She also shared about how her neighbor said when the bear walked and the sunlight hit the bear’s coat, it had a rainbow of colors. Nana created a homeschool art lesson around her bear experience.

Paint a bear with Nana of You ARE an ARTiST!

And you can’t mention a bear study without including a very favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh! You can enjoy a Homeschool Nature Study with Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood as well. Paint a map of the Hundred Acre Wood, have a Teddy Bear Picnic and more.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 26+ nature courses and so much more!

We’re starting with a favorite topic, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge and bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool.
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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Tree Silhouettes Homeschool Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Tree Silhouettes

This week we are going to be on the lookout for interesting tree silhouettes in our own yard and neighbourhood. Here is the link to the previous challenge: Winter Wednesday – Tree Silhouettes

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes

In this challenge, be sure to look for the list of four ideas to use when completing this challenge with your children. You can also work on your Winter Tree Study and your Four Seasons Tree Study.

Homeschool Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge

Special Activity: My Tree is a Living World
This may be a great week to revisit this activity:
My Tree is a Living World

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes

You might also like to see how Tricia’s family enjoyed this winter tree silhouettes challenge. They did a blind contour drawing. They also noticed how paying attention to winter tree silhouettes made them notice the backyard birds!

Getting Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge In Your Homeschool

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #4. Use the ideas in the challenge to start a focused study of trees with your children. Use the accompanying notebook page to record your outdoor time and your focus area.   

It is simple to get started. We will show you how. Grab this free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

If you do not own the Getting Started in the Outdoor Hour Challenges guide then hop on over to our shop and grab your free copy! We would love to have you join our membership for full access to the new year’s nature study plans as well as access to the curriculum with detailed lesson plans for each weekly challenge.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership - Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Helpful Tips Year Round

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Connect With Us On Social Media

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

In addition to this winter tree silhouette challenge, our nature study homeschool members enjoy so much more! Membership includes three sets of Winter Handbook of Nature Study curriculum, additional nature study resources and ideas plus a calendar FULL of easy, daily nature study prompts. This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge comes from:

Handbook of Nature Study - An Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum - Winter Wednesdays
Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes

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