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Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers

These timeless Charlotte Mason nature study ideas are as relevant today as when they were written and I’m forever grateful for the encouragement these gave me when I was a new homeschooler. The ideas for this post have been taken from Volume One of Charlotte Mason’s homeschooling series.

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers includes ideas for how to help your child engage in nature and study wildflowers.

Charlotte Mason – Simple Nature Study Ideas for Wildflowers

My children benefited from Miss Mason’s simple and consistent approach to learning. We didn’t waste time learning things for a test, but were encouraged to explore and observe the natural world right outside our doorstep.

I would like to offer you the road map to learning about wildflowers in a “Charlotte Mason” way by giving you a short list that summarizes her ideas found in Volume One on page 51 under the subheading of “Flowers and Trees”.

Elements of a Wildflowers Nature Study

Your child should be able to:

  1. Describe the shape, size, and placement of the leaves.
  2. Note whether there is a single blossom or a head of flowers.
  3. Observe the flower and its habitat so well that it can be recognized in any location in the future.
  4. Use a field guide to learn about the wildflower (with help from a parent if needed).
  5. Collect, press, and make a record of the flower’s habitat and location. ***
  6. Optional: Make a watercolor of the flower or the whole plant.

*** It’s important to note that we shouldn’t be picking flowers in great numbers. Many wildflowers do not last long once picked and therefore are wasted if not going straight into a flower press. Here is Anna Botsford Comstock’s advice on picking wildflowers from the Handbook of Nature Study:

“Some flowers are so abundant that they can be picked in moderation if the roots are not disturbed, if plenty of flowers are left for seed, and if the plant itself is not taken with the flower….Everyone should have the privilege of enjoying the natural beauty of the countryside. Such enjoyment is impossible if a relatively small number of people insist upon picking and destroying native plants for their own selfish interests.”

HNS page 460
blue flag iris

More Wildflowers Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

If you’d like help in getting started with a wildflower study, I have some thorough posts with some ideas for your family:

There are three sets wildflower curriculum available in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers includes ideas for how to help your child engage in nature and study wildflowers.
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5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Homeschool Nature Study

Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.

Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.
photo by Amy Law

5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Homeschool Nature Study

“Adults should realize the the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit.”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 61

#1 – Nature Station With a Magnifying Lens


Create a magnifying glass station with natural items either indoors or outdoors. Collect a few things to have on hand to start but them encourage your child to find a few of their own while outdoors playing or during a nature walk.

Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.

#2 – Square Foot Nature Study


Use your magnifying lens in homeschool for a square foot study. There are plenty of ideas here on my blog to help you get started. You can follow-up with this entry: Small Square Study-Living vs. Non-Living.

Examine Insects with a Magnifying Lens

#3 – Examine Insects With a Magnifying Lens

Collect a few insects to examine close up with your magnifying lens. Look for dead insects in window sills, in the garden, or in spider webs. If you can capture a live insect and put it in a clear container, use the magnifying lens to get a closer look. Have your child observe closely the wings, the legs, the antennae, or the eyes of insects using a magnifying lens. Another tip is to place the insect on a mirror and then you can see the underside easily.

Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.

#4 – Create a New Level of Tree Homeschool Nature Study

As part of a tree study, use your magnifying lens to examine the bark, the leaves, and the cones or acorns of a tree in your yard or neighborhood. You can also use the magnifying lens to compare two trees with careful observations.

For more ideas to use with your magnifying lens and my recommendations for products, you can see my Squidoo Lens: Best Magnifying Lens Plans and Activities.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Nature Study Lens Activity

#5 – Use the Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Nature Study Magnifying Lens Activity

Discover the wonder of ordinary objects using this magnifying lens in homeschool nature study activity. Use the suggestions on the page to spark some ideas for objects to collect and observe. There is a place to record a few sketches and some follow-up thoughts if your child is interested in keeping a record of their magnifying lens activity.

Homeschool Nature Study Activities

Find this activity in Challenge 8 Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide available in membership and HERE.

A magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is fun and helps children see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us.
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Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

“Nature study is, despite all discussions and perversions, a study of nature; it consists of simple, truthful observations that may, like beads on a string, finally be threaded upon the understanding and thus held together as a logical and harmonious whole.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 1

Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

In the Handbook of Nature Study, the emphasis is learning about your own backyard. At first you may feel as if there is nothing interesting in your own backyard, but I have learned that the more you focus, the more you see.

Nature Study in Ripples – Start in Your Own Yard

Nature study is about training the eye to perceive what you have at hand. Learning to see and then learning to compare are two valuable skills you can develop with nature study. These skills will pop up in other areas of your life. Charlotte Mason wrote that learning to see the beauty in nature was the beginning of becoming more skilled as an artist.

“Nature study cultivates the child’s imagination, since there are so many wonderful and true stories that he may read with his own eyes, which affect his imagination as much as does fairy lore; at the same time nature study cultivates in him a perception and a regard for what is true, and the power to express it.”

Anna Botsford Comstock, see volume 1, pages 68 and 69

The backyard can hold your attention for a long time if you are diligent about looking for a variety of things to observe. Most of us have:

  • plants
  • birds
  • trees
  • rocks
  • insects
  • invertebrates
  • and mammals (that will visit us at least at certain times of the year)

Challenge your family to pick something each week to learn more about. This is a long-term project that you will find such satisfaction in doing together as a family. Each family member can develop their special area of interest. I love flowers and birds. My husband is a tree person. The boys enjoy insects, birds, and the garden. Amanda loves flowers and growing them in her garden. We all enjoy discovering a new critter in the backyard.

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

Nature Study in Your Neighborhood

Once you have awakened the desire for nature study you can widen out your range and spend time in your neighborhood as part of your nature study time. The circle widens a little and you begin to see your neighborhood street or park as another source of great nature study subjects. Your neighbor may have an interesting tree or you may have access to a pond to look for another whole range of plants and animals. The comparing and contrasting continue as you relate your backyard habitat to this new habitat.

“A twenty minute trip with a picnic lunch can make a day in the country accessible to almost anyone, but why do it just one day? Why not do it lots of days? Or even every nice day?”

Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 44

Nature Study – 20 Minutes From Home

I think we could easily spend a lifetime learning about all the interesting things in this slightly wider circle of exploration. Charlotte Mason suggests finding places within a twenty minute distance from your home to visit for frequent picnics and outings. The benefits of finding a few places to go regularly for family walks are immeasurable. It takes dedication to pack everyone up in the car and drive a few minutes but once you are on your way, you don’t regret the decision. Really, there is no real need for a car if you can walk to an interesting area in twenty minutes or so. Be curious about your local area and try to seek out a few interesting spots to walk and then rotate visiting them during each season.

The next step is to increase your circle even more….to ripple out even farther than your neighborhood. Perhaps you have a nature center, a state park, or a national park that is within a day trip’s distance. Occasionally it is refreshing to travel a bit to build excitement for a different habitat than you normally have access to for nature study. In our area we have within a few hours travel the Pacific Ocean, temperate rainforests, a conifer forest, oak woodlands, a river delta and wetlands, a bay, an estuary, farmland, sub-alpine trails, a hot springs, and so on. Get out a map and draw a circle around your home town that extends a hundred miles in radius. Look within that radius for places you can visit on a long day’s trip. You might be surprised what you come up with in your own area.

“Adults should realize that the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit.”

Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 61

Start as close as you can and then work your way farther and farther from your home. Spend as much time as you want in each area perhaps going back several times to a specific place to really get to know it. Experience it during every season.

Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

As your children grow older, you can increase your ripples to include longer road trips or special trips to fascinating habitats.

“Nature 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

More Simple Ideas for Your Nature Time in Ripples

The idea is a simple one. Think of ripples in a pond. The experiences you have close to home will help you develop skills and knowledge to later compare and contrast with other habitats. Learning about seeds and plants in your backyard will give your child a frame of reference when he goes to learn about seeds in wildflowers, or sequoias, or a cactus. Learning the skill of using binoculars to observe a bird on a tree branch in your yard will train him to use that skill when you are out on a nature hike in a marshland. Learning to sit quietly to see what you can hear in your own backyard will be time well spent for those times that you would like to observe something interesting on a nature outing, perhaps a deer or a squirrel.

So much of our modern life is spent indoors. Our families need the refreshing spirit that comes from being outdoors and under the sky. We can start nature study in a small way in our own yards, but once the ripple is started, you never know where it might take you.

Find some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

Join Homeschool Nature Study membership for access to year round nature study for all seasons – for the whole family!

first published March 2009

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Charlotte Mason Nature Study For Your Homeschool

Just how do you enjoy a Charlotte Mason nature study for your homeschool? Let’s look at some advice from Charlotte Mason herself and apply it in a simple way to our own outdoor times.

Charlotte Mason Nature Study for Your Homeschool

All quotes are from Charlotte Mason (modern English), volume 3

“One afternoon a week, the students in our ‘Practicing School’ [taught by the student teachers at Charlotte Mason’s teacher’s college] go for a ‘nature walk’ with their teacher. They notice things by themselves, and the teacher tells them the name or gives other information only if they ask for it.”

“The teachers are careful not to turn these nature walks into an opportunity to give science lessons, because they want the children’s attention to be focused on their own observations.”

“They’re allowed to notice things with very little direction from the teacher. By doing this, children accumulate a good collection of ‘common knowledge.’ ”

-Charlotte Mason

“Even more important, students learn to know and take pleasure in objects from nature like they do in the familiar faces of friends.”

-Charlotte Mason

Nature Study in Your Own Backyard

I have certainly given my share of “science lessons” during our nature walks and nature time. I am getting better about letting the children direct me to what they are curious about. I see the wisdom in allowing them to explore and learn in a way that makes sense to them, but I can be available to assist them with questions they might have. I am pretty comfortable with telling them that I don’t know the answer to their question and then find someone or some resource that does have the answer.

“The nature walk shouldn’t be used as a chance to dispense miscellaneous tidbits of scientific facts.”

-Charlotte Mason

These principles are the same whether your nature study takes place in your backyard, on the trail, or during some other nature study outing. As the parent, you set the mood. If you quietly observe your children, you will see what they are drawn to learn more about without much effort.

Try it the next time you are having your outdoor time.

Photo by Amy Law

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.”

You can feel free to pick and choose which questions you will give your homeschool high school student according to their interest and abilities.

You can successfully continue nature study with your teenagers. They may need some encouragement to make the study their own by adjusting your subjects, your methods of follow-up, and your attitude towards what nature study should look like.

More Resources for Charlotte Mason Nature Study Time

Besides our free Getting Started in the Outdoor Hour Challenges download, we invite you to enjoy these wonderful nature resources.

You will find hundreds of Charlotte Mason style homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges in our Homeschool Nature Study membership.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find hundreds of Charlotte Mason style homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges 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!

How do you enjoy a Charlotte Mason nature study for your homeschool? Look at advice from Charlotte Mason herself and apply it to outdoor times.
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Ideas for Drawing in Your Nature Journal

Here are some great resources you can use as ideas for drawing in your nature journal. Several are links to coloring pages but I like their black line drawings that simplify an object so we can learn to draw them on our own in our journals.

Make sure to check out all the links even if they are from a state or habitat other than one where you currently live. Many times there are animals, plants, and birds that you will have in your location too. I don’t necessarily print the coloring book pages out and color them. We will use them as a guide to draw our own sketches of things we see in our Outdoor Hour Challenge or for our nature journal.

Ideas For Drawing in Your Nature Journal

Drawing Wildflowers in Your Nature Journal

Celebrating Wildflowers from the US Forest Service
These coloring pages are in PDF format so once you bring up the page, you can print out just the page you want and there is no need to print every page out on your printer.

Birds Homeschool Nature Study

Feeder Birds Coloring Book from Cornell
These are not only coloring pages but could actually be used as notebooking pages for your nature journal. I print out the table of contents to keep in my notebook as a reference. This way I know what birds are included in the coloring book.

How to Sketch Trees

Guide to Tree Sketching
I’ve shared this one before but it is worth listing again.

Drawing Flowers and Plants

How to Draw Flowers and Plants
Step by step to various garden flowers

Drawing Ducks

How to Draw a Duck on YouTube

Magnifying glass for a close up look at a butterfly in your homeschool nature study.

More Drawing Resources for Your Homeschool

 Here are some great resources you can use as ideas for drawing in your nature journal. Perfect for using for your homeschool nature study.

Hope there is something here that will help you with your endeavors to draw in your nature journal.

More Nature Journal Resources for Your Homeschool Nature Study

Here are several more posts I have shared on using a nature journal with your homeschool studies:

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

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find a continuing series on nature journaling plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. Plus 25+ continuing courses with matching 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!

-First published by Barb May 2008. Updated January 2022 by Tricia.

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Homeschool Nature Journal or Nature Notebook?

Should you have a homeschool nature journal or a nature notebook? What is the difference between the two?

I always remind new homeschool nature study families that the journal page is the icing on the cake. The most important part of nature study is the time spent outdoors together with your children. You are successful whether you end up with a page in your journal each week or not.

Should you have a homeschool nature journal or a nature notebook? What is the difference between the two? We answer this question.
Photo by Amy Law

Homeschool Nature Journal or Nature Notebook?

I had a really good question from Joy and I thought maybe you might like to hear my response.

Here is Joy’s question:
First off, I have read all of Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series as well as Karen Andreola’s Charlotte Mason Companion, along with various others (and I’ve read all that you have on your site concerning Nature Journaling). But, I am still left wondering, is there a difference between a nature journal and a nature notebook?

For example, the notebooking pages that are offered along with the GH challenges (that Tina made) would go into a nature notebook. However, I really like the nature journal idea, with the dry brush method, etc. and it would seem that this would be a different thing all together.

The nature journal would seem to be a sketch book whereas the notebook would be something that would go into a 3 ring binder. So, how do these mesh together, and should I have my children do both? I know these questions are possibly silly to those who have done this for a while, but since I am just starting out, I don’t want to overwhelm my little ones (2nd grade and 1st grade). I really just want a streamlined way to encourage them to interact with what they are learning outdoors.

The Answer To Nature Journal or Nature Notebook:


First off I think this is a really good question and if you ask ten different people, you will get ten different answers. But I will take a stab at it since it relates to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. Clarifying things is always a good opportunity to fine tune our ideas.

I did a little research on what a “nature journal” is and the best explanation of it I found was in Clare Walker Leslie’s book, Keeping a Nature Journal. She explains it this way.

“Simply put, nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you. That is the essence of the process. The recording can be done in a wide variety of ways, depending on the individual journalist’s interests, background, and training. Some people prefer to record in written prose or poetry, some do it through drawing or painting, others with photographs or tape recordings, and still others through musical notation…..Many people use a combination of these techniques.”

Should you have a homeschool nature journal or a nature notebook? What is the difference between the two? We answer this question.

In the Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Comstock calls the nature journal a “field journal” but it is still the same thing, a nature journal. In Charlotte Mason’s original homeschooling series in volume one, she refers to the nature journal as a nature diary. The idea is all the same idea, to record personal observations and thoughts about the world around you.


So Joy, to answer your question with the short answer, either method is still considered nature journaling whether you use a spiral bound sketch pad with watercolors, markers, or pencils or if you choose to use sheets of paper slipped into a 3-ring binder when you are finished. In our family, we do combinations of both recording in the nature journal and on paper.

Notebooking Pages May Be Easier For Younger Writers

Your children are still very young so you may wish to have them work on individual sheets of paper and slip them into sheet protectors when they are finished and store them in a binder. You may at a later date start them in their own spiral bound nature journal. Either way you can include many different types of mediums.

You can still watercolor and slip them into the binder. You can press flowers and slip those in too. If you come across a nature notebooking page you like you can fill those out and put those in the binder. The notebooking pages are nice for younger children because most of them include lines to write your notes on – which is easier for younger writers. I have one son that likes the notebooking pages because he hates a blank page. If it is in a notebooking page format, he can easily think of things to fill it up.

I hope that clears things up a bit. I know there are a lot of choices and you will eventually come to the answer for your family about which one works the best. Nothing is set in stone either. You can start one way and change at any time. It depends a lot on how you are going to use the nature journals and how your children feel about recording in them. When my boys were little, we filled up lots of pages each year so they loved starting fresh each fall. Now we perhaps make an entry a week and we have slowed down considerably in the volume of notebooks.

Make nature journaling a pleasant experience. I know that many times for myself I end up not liking a page until it is all done. It has taken me many years to develop my own style of nature notebook. Want a glimpse into my nature journal? How to Get Started Nature Journaling

Should you have a homeschool nature journal or a nature notebook? What is the difference between the two? We answer this question.

I have come to the conclusion that the line between nature study and a nature journal is getting sort of fuzzy. You can have lots of nature study and not have a nature journal.

Don’t let your lack of skill in drawing keep you from your nature study

  • Nature walk = Time outdoors + time spent in observation
  • Nature study = Time outdoors + time spent in observation + time learning about your discoveries
  • Nature journal = Time outdoors + time spent in observation + time learning about your discoveries + time recording your observations and thoughts

I am in no way discouraging nature journals but I am convinced that if you spend enough time in nature study, you will have more to write about in your journal.

Homeschool Nature Study membership bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to Life!

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find a continuing series on nature journaling in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. Plus 25+ continuing courses with matching 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!

First published May 2008 by Barb. Updated January 2022 by Tricia.

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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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Spring Wildflower Study with the OHC

Spring Wildflowers with the OHC ebook giveaway and links

Spring Wildflowers with the Outdoor Hour Challenge

Don’t miss the giveaway below!

Ambleside Online Approved @handbookofnaturestudy

Here in Central Oregon we haven’t experienced many wildflowers yet but I know they are coming! I’m trying to support the Charlotte Mason homeschoolers who are following the Ambleside Online’s nature study schedule so I’ll compile some ideas for studying wildflowers. As you observe the wildflowers in your neighborhood, check with the Handbook of Nature Study (the book and my website) for information and inspiration.

Here are some of the main wildflower links for you to use here on the website.

  1. Gardens Tab at the top of the website. This page lists all of the wildflowers we’ve studied here with the Outdoor Hour Challenge in the past. You will find them listed by ebook and then at the bottom of the page in alphabetical order. These links are available to everyone.
  2. Wildflower Nature Study Set #1. This ebook contains 5 wildflowers not specifically covered in the Handbook of Nature Study book. This ebook is part of the Ultimate and the Journey level memberships. Purchase a membership by following this link: Handbook of Nature Study membership information.
  3. Wildflower Nature Study Set #2. This is the second set of 5 wildflowers not specifically covered in the Handbook of Nature Study book. This ebook is part of the Ultimate and the Journey level memberships. Purchase a membership by following this link: Handbook of Nature Study membership information.
  4. Wildflower Printables: There are 6 additional wildflower printables available to Ultimate and Journey level members. Purchase a membership by following this link: Handbook of Nature Study membership information.

Wildflowers lupine and poppies at the OHC

 

Getting Started

I hope these links help you locate the wildflower study that your family is interested in completing this season. There are so many to choose from so don’t be overwhelmed. I decided when I first started out identifying wildflowers with my children that we would take each flower one at a time. We aimed to learn a new flower each time we took a walk and that strategy helped us not be overwhelmed. Take it one flower at a time and use the Outdoor Hour Challenges to help you dig deeper and then follow up with a nature journal entry of some sort.

Is it important to know each flower’s name?

I recently took a hike with a friend and she was hoping I could teach her the names of the wildflowers we saw as we walked. I told her that once you know a flower’s name, you think of it as a friend, the kind of friend you look forward to seeing. She laughed at first but later realized that it does change your view of a wildflower once you know its name.

Wildflower OHC

My Best Hint: Take lots of pictures for future reference!

It’s much easier to identify a wildflower with a field guide if you have an image of the flower, its leaf, and its stem.

Some Links to My Past Wildflower Studies You May Want to View for Inspiration:

California Poppies: We have spent many hours observing the poppy and its many interesting features.

Hike to the River – Spring Wildflowers: When we lived in California, we had our favorite trail to the river and at this time of year it was full of wildflowers. Be inspired to take your own walk!

Spring Wildflowers: Here is another one that is full of our California wildflowers.

Spring Wildflowers with the OHC ebook giveaway and links

I’m giving away 5 copies of each of my wildflower ebooks. I will randomly draw 5 winners to receive Set #1 and Set #2 of the new wildflower ebooks here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Use the Rafflecopter gadget below to enter.

I’ll be picking the winners on 4/14/18 so enter today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Peculiar Value of Geography

The peculiar value of geography lies in its fitness to nourish the mind with ideas and furnish the imagination with pictures. - Charlotte Mason

This quote came to my mind this morning as we were walking along the walking trail in our town. The walking trail extends from the center of town all the way to a the far, far side of our town, three and a half miles one way.

It winds along through a wooded area, near the highway for a stretch, back into a wooded section, out into the open along a pasture, and then back into another wooded area. There are many different habitats you can experience as you walk. Over the years we have learned what grows in each section and what to expect in each season.

Walking trail

Our children have walked with us hundreds of times along this trail and we came to have certain spots we would meet up if we got separated. This idea of learning how far it is between landmarks and what to expect on the trail ahead is an easy way to introduce the idea of geography to your children during a nature walk.

I can remember saying, “Stop at the bridge and wait for us on the bench.” Or I would say something like, “Turn around at the old mill and meet up with us on your way back.”

Walking Trail galls berries leaves (3)

Naming certain landmarks reflects a knowledge of local geography…maybe it will inspire you to do the same on a favorite trail in your neighborhood.

  • The Tunnel: an old train tunnel we walk through
  • The Acorn Oaks: place to gather acorns or to watch squirrels
  • The Sweet Pea section: spring and summer colors
  • The Star Thistle section: the hot part of the trail where you want to stay clear of the edges
  • The Mill: an old lumber mill site now vacated and being overgrown with a variety of weeds
  • The Bridge: crosses over the highway and marks a turning around point for many of our walks
  • The Llamas: this is the farthest point from our parking spot…always fun to see the llamas on the hillside

 

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Outdoor Mom’s Journal – October Edition

Outdoor Mom's Journal September 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy
My September Collage: Beautiful coneflowers from a visit to a botanical garden. My swallow bird study nature journal entry. Smoke from the large and destructive wildfire we experienced here in California. A new variety of apple from our apple farm visit.

Charlotte Mason said, “Some children are born naturalists, but even those who weren’t were born with natural curiosity about the world should be encouraged to observe nature. Most children are influenced by the opinions of those around them and if their parents don’t care about nature, or are disgusted by little creatures, they will pick up that attitude and all the wonders of nature will pass them by.”

I think I was born a naturalist. I know a few fellow naturalists in my real life and I see them here through the lens of my blog. Perhaps you have one in your home.

I try to feed that love of the natural world as much as I can fit it into my busy life….it is a balm and a balance to our very fast-paced, technologically focused world.

  • Most inspiring this month was my butterfly observations in my own front yard. I spent quite a bit of time sitting quietly waiting for a butterfly to stop flying around and land for a photo. I was rewarded for my effort.
  • I wondered about how the migrating birds know when to come back. I saw the appearance of my juncos and sparrows. They arrived at our feeders just as we got our first measurable rain since last spring.
  • I am anticipating and dreaming about a soon to happen trip to Connecticut. We are hoping for fall color and good weather for hiking. Time will tell.

Two photos I want to share!

Heirloom Morning Glory @handbookofnaturestudy

This is one of my morning glories that I have growing in a pot on my back deck. It is so amazing when it firsts opens up….just like a paper flower! It is truly a glorious flower.

Tomato Hornworms September 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy

This is something else from a pot on my back deck. Tomato hornworms that completely ate my tomato plant pretty much in a night. I check this plant everyday and somehow missed them until I saw their telltale droppings on the deck around the plant. I left them for the birds to deal with. It’s kind of late in the season to hope that the plant revives but I can always have hope. It is hard to believe that these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful sphinx moths.

It was a great month….looking forward to finding the autumn gifts in October.

Outdoor Moms Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Mom’s Journal

Whether your family spends a few minutes a week outside or hours at a time, share what is going on in your world. I hope you have enjoyed your August.

How Do You Join?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this week we went….
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…

I will be posting my Outdoor Mom’s Journal entry once a month. Look for it during the first week of the month each month.