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Practical Homeschooling Award for Science 2021

This year’s results from the Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards have been published in the Summer issue of the Practical Homeschooling magazine. The Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenges have once again been chosen to receive the honor of winning third place in the Elementary Science category.


Since 2008, families from around the world have participated in the Outdoor Hour Challenge. There is such joy in writing about things I love and then to be honored for sharing them with all of you. I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you for supporting my passion.

It makes my heart happy to know that so many families enjoy nature study as part of their regular science program. The lessons and skills honed by including nature study as part of your homeschooling week will be used in the years to come.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

As a BIG thank you, I’m going to be extending a discount code for you to use towards ANY level of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Discount code: FRIENDS2021

Use this code at checkout and you will receive $10 off your purchase of a membership. Code will expire 8/9/2021.

If you choose an Ultimate Naturalist Library Membership, this will give you all current 26 ebooks available for downloading.

Printables for Members Button

Newsletter Index download

PLUS, you’ll receive access to the printables library with dozens of notebooking pages and activities for you to print out. PLUS, it will include access to all 76 archived issues of the monthly newsletter.

Benefits by Level graphic  26 ebooks

Now is the time to join so you can start using the resources right away and then for the next year of your membership! I will soon be publishing the year plan for 2021-2022. You can be assured that the plan includes many ideas from the Ultimate Naturalist Library and you will be constantly referring to the challenges, the printables, and the newsletters as part of the upcoming year plan.

Thank you so much for your love and support of the Handbook of Nature Study!


Don’t forget to use the discount code: FRIENDS2021

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Homeschool Blog Awards – Thank You

Best Nature Study/Field Trip Blog

I want to thank my loyal readers who nominated and voted for me in the 2012 Homeschool Blog Awards. I feel the same way that I did last year about the award….this is truly a community award to all those who participate each month in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival, sharing your experiences and inspiring me to keep going with this blog.

This will be my last year as a homeschooler so next year this award will go to one of my readers, I just know it. Keep sharing your nature study experiences and encouraging other families to get outside. No matter what the future holds for this blog, the newsletter, and the Outdoor Hour Challenge, I know that all we have done together is testament to the power of spending just a few minutes outside each week.

Thank you again for your support and encouragement.

Check the up coming newsletter for a special offer as my additional way of thanking you.

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Knowledge Leads to Pleasure-My Heartfelt Thank You

Autumn Sky and Trees 2

“Knowledge is power. It is also pleasure or affords pleasure. Many students learn for the mere pleasure of learning. This is the case of the scientist who discovers the laws of nature or proves a theory, without a thought of their practical application. Even a child in the satisfaction of his curiosity has a similar feeling.

But we can get sweet and helpful pleasure also from the sensuous enjoyment of the beauty of nature’s forms and colors, the songs of birds and the sound of running waters, the fragrance of the flowers and the smell of the earth and sea, the delicious flavor of fruit, the warmth of the genial sunshine, the touch of our feet on the ground, or the feel of the earth as we lie upon it. These pleasures of the senses, though not the higher kind, should not be neglected. Without them life would be much more matter-of-fact and uninteresting”
Nature Study and the Child by Charles B. Scott, late 1800’s

I want to say that my life has truly been enriched by keeping this blog of our family’s adventures. The knowledge we have gained about the natural world, seeing the creation of a loving heavenly Father, has indeed made our hearts full and life more sweet. But this blog would not be complete if it were not for all the wonderful people who have joined us along the way. The kinship of like-hearted moms who have helped create a place of sharing and encouragement is really the other ingredient to the Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Woodpecker Tree
Our woodpecker tree

The journey has been even more pleasurable as I have come to know many, many families from around the world who also take time to spend a few minutes each week outdoors with their children. I want to seize this opportunity to thank those who nominated the Handbook of Nature Study for the Best Homeschool Nature Study Blog again this year. This community has helped build a great nature study blog and resource. As the winner of the 2011 Homeschool Blog Award we can perhaps share our adventure with some new families who learn about the weekly challenges and start to participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Make sure to check out the other winning blogs when you have some time.

Kona and Barb
Kona and I say, “Thank you so much.”

My thank you would not be complete without a word or two to my wonderful supportive husband and my four children, without which this adventure would never have started. Seeing the world through your eyes has made every moment more special. Thanks for putting up with your crazy nature loving mama. I look forward to many more years of adventures either with you at my side or as I hear of your own journeys out into the world.

2009 Calavaras Big Trees 1
2009 Family Photo – Under the Sequoias

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Homeschool Blog Award….Heartfelt Thanks for the Honor

Bird Taylor Creek 2

I was informed yesterday that this blog had won the Homeschool Blog Award for
Best Homeschool Nature Blog.

Hope Valley Fall Color Drive Mr B

I have been thinking about the award and what it means, bringing back great memories from the last year and how much the Outdoor Hour has become the center of a great community of blog readers and participants.

Many of you follow the challenges and post your links faithfully, some of you pop in when you get a chance and blow me away with your great family nature study, and there are probably many of you I haven’t even “met” but who read through readers and email. I think all of you deserve a little bit of this award….without you there would be no real reason to keep this nature blog.

Hope Valley Fall Color Drive

I think this award belongs to the community we have developed and nurtured. Behind the award is a lot of effort not only on my part but by all the moms and dads who have slowed down to take the time and value outdoor activities with their children. You all make what I do have meaning. The fruits of my labor are viewed in the smiles and great learning that I see each week when I open up my links to glimpse into your nature study.

Barb and her Boys Redwoods 2010

Although the award is a great honor and I realize that you all supported me by voting, I think the real reward is the everyday, week-to-week sharing of nature study that I am privileged to be a part of with families from all over the world.

Thank you very much for your support of this blog, Handbook of Nature Study.

I didn’t take a single photo in this post. Here are the captions that go with each one:
1. Water bird at Lake Tahoe, taken by my son this past October.
2. Typical family nature outing….my youngest being silly and if you look in the background you can see me taking photos.
3.Another beautiful photo with mom and her camera… two oldest sons have inherited my photography passion.
4. Rare photo of all three of my boys standing still with their mom…..this year’s camping trip to Northern California and the Oregon Coast. (Please note that this photo was taken on the last day of a week-long camping trip with four guys so I am a little rough around the edges.)

Redwoods trail
Wonder where this year will lead us?