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Spectacular Night Sky Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

Spectacular Night Sky Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool


Outdoor Hour Challenge
Night Sky Study

Record your night sky observations using this free printable. Barb McCoy created it so you can get two simple journal pages from one sheet of paper. Print the page, cut it in half, and then staple at the top to make a Night Sky Journal. Print several pages if you want to create a larger journal.

Night Sky Journal Printable


Night Sky Journal Printable Notebook Page

Please fill out the form, below, to receive your free night sky journal page!

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    Stargazing: Perseids Meteor Shower Homeschool Ideas

    If you aren’t familiar with the Perseid Meteor Shower, it is one of the brightest and longest-lasting meteor showers. And, it happens in August, so it’s usually easy to view because the weather is warm, and the sky is likely to be reasonably clear. 

    Barb McCoy, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges, shares some Perseids Meteor Shower encouragement and a journal page:

    Last weekend I visited with a friend who is also a nature lover. She and I talked about the night sky for a long time and how much joy it brings to us to view the magnificent canvas of stars each night. We shared stories of past experiences with viewing meteor showers and agreed that it is something to make time for even if it is late at night.

    Our family was able to view the Perseid meteor shower over the last few nights…it doesn’t disappoint! As soon as it is dark you can view a few “shooting stars” so don’t think you have to keep your kids up too late. It is more spectacular later in the night but just getting your children aware of what is out there is worth the effort.

    We also looked up the next full moon for August and marked it on our calendar. We noted last night’s sunset and the time in our area..planning on checking it a few more times later in the month.

    Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

    My nature journal entry is a work in progress and as the month goes by I will add more of my thoughts to the box I made on the bottom of the page.

    Getting Started in Nature Study Suggestion


    If you already own the Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #4.

    *Note: the free Getting Started book has the first three challenges. Members enjoy all 10 Outdoor Hour Challenges.

    Have a short discussion with your child about which aspect of the night sky they are most interested in and focus on that as long as they are interested…could be a week or the whole month.

    Some night sky nature study ideas are:

    • stars
    • planets
    • meteors
    • or the moon

    Complete the notebook page from the Getting Started ebook if you want a more formal record of your study. 

    Moon phases homeschool nature study

    More Hands On Night Sky Homeschool Nature Study

    You might also like these fun ways to learn about the night sky:

    For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

    Enjoy the outdoors at night with your children. If you have early risers, you can even enjoy some time then. It is a special time to share together.

    Take some time this next week to get outside at night and enjoy a beautiful night sky homeschool nature study. Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and just enjoy gazing up at the heavens. Use some of these suggestions to get started with some simple night sky observations.

    Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

    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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    Homeschool Nature Study: Winter Sky Constellations

    This week’s homeschool nature study outdoor hour challenge looks upward towards the stars, yes, it’s time to learn about the winter sky constellations!

    Homeschool Nature Study Winter Sky Constellations: Outdoor Hour Challenge

    1. Read chapter three in Discover Nature in WinterWinter stargazing is something that our family has always wanted to do but we have never taken the initiative to get out and do so. Now we have the perfect excuse. Read the chapter with a view to picking some winter stars to learn about and observe as a family. Start with the North Star or Orion’s belt if you are not sure what you are doing yet.

    “Unlike owls and other nocturnal creatures, our eyes are not well designed for seeing in the dark. After leaving a lighted building at night, it takes about thirty minutes for our eyes to become adjusted to the lower light levels.”

    The Handbook of Nature Study, page 37

    Allow plenty of time for your eyes to adjust and to take in the night sky.
    2. Our family decided to make sure we can find these four constellations in the winter sky:

    • Big Dipper (North Star as well) page 44
    • Ursa Major page 45
    • Cassiopeia page 47
    • Orion (using Orion’s belt) page 49

    We do not have a telescope but we use our eyes and sometimes our binoculars to view the night sky. We also plan to bundle up to keep warm and then go inside afterwards for some hot cocoa or apple cider.

    3. If you can’t fit in some nighttime stargazing for winter sky constellations, how about some sunset observations? You could also look for the moon as well as stars and write about it in your nature journal. Being able to name a star or constellation is a great skill but it can be just as satisfying to spend some time contemplating the universe while gazing at the stars.

    For those families that do not have the book to work from, please join us by going outside at night and observing the winter sky. Try to pick a cloudless night where you can observe plenty of stars. Observing the moon in the winter is a great nature study experience as well. Keep it simple and give it a try.

    Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Sky Constellations

    Winter Sky Resource For Your Homeschool

    This website has a wealth of materials to help you map the winter sky!

    Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Nature Study Curriculum and Year Round Support

    There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

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    Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

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

    There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

    An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

    Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

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

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge -Autumn Constellation Study

    For this challenge, pick a clear evening to go out and look at the night sky. Bundle up and realize that it will probably be a quick look at the stars unless you have a very motivated student. Do the preparation work beforehand so you’ll have a particular constellation in mind. Keep it fun and aim to introduce the idea of nighttime nature study to your family.

    Run back inside and have some hot cocoa and talk about what you saw during your Outdoor Hour time.

    Winter+Sky+Nature+Study+@handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com.jpg

    Use this link to the challenges in the archives:

    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Fall Constellation Study (from the Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook)

    OHC Autumn Nature Study Continues Cover Button

    This challenge is part of the Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook, found in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships here on the Handbook of Nature Study. You can print the notebooking pages and the coloring page included in the ebook to supplement your nature study this week.

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    If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 23 ebooks and so much more!

     

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    Winter Sky and Stars – Learn Those Constellations

    There is something timeless about studying the night sky. I know when our family would gaze up at the stars and the familiar constellations, we would feel connected to all those throughout human history that had looked up at essentially the same things: stars, planets, moon. It can be an awesome experience.

    “After the polar constellations are learned, we are then ready for further study in the still earlier evenings of winter, when the clear atmosphere makes the stars seem more alive, more sparkling, and more beautiful than at any other period of the year.”
    Handbook of Nature Study, page 823

    In my opinion, the winter night sky tends to be more dazzling. Bundling up and getting outside in the evening takes effort but the rewards are huge. Use the information in the Handbook of Nature Study linked below in the winter sky study for a helping hand at getting started with the basics of a winter sky study.

    Read the Outdoor Hour Challenge:

    Winter Sky Study-Handbook of Nature Study Lesson 226-229  (pages 823-829)

    Make a short list of constellations to look for during your winter sky study. Here are a couple of suggestions:

    Our family decided to make sure we can find these four constellations in the winter sky:

    • Big Dipper (North Star as well)
    • Ursa Major
    • Cassiopeia
    • Orion (using Orion’s belt)

    Makes sketches of each of the constellations in your nature journal to aid your memory.

    Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Nature Study Curriculum and Year Round Support

    There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

    An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

    Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

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

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Sky Study

    winter+night+sky+study+@handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com.jpg

    Outdoor Hour Challenge

    Winter Sky

    From the Archives and the Winter Wednesday ebook

    We are very much looking forward to completing this challenge here in Oregon. We happen to live near a small observatory and we have plans to view the night sky through their telescopes. Make some plans of your own to get outside one night soon with your children to use the ideas in the challenge linked above. Keep it simple and dress appropriately and you’ll be sure to have success!

    “After the polar constellations are learned, we are then ready for further study in the still earlier evenings of winter, when the clear atmosphere makes the stars seem more alive, more sparkling, and more beautiful than at any other period of the year.”
    Handbook of Nature Study, page 823

    If you’re interested in seeing how our family completed this challenge, here’s a blog entry from the archives: Our Winter Sky Studies.

    Winter Wednesday Night Sky NB Page

    If you have access to the Winter Wednesday ebook in the Ultimate Naturalist Library, there’s a custom notebook page and a printable sheet for using with the constellations.

    Winter Wednesday ebook NOtebook pages

    Join us for the Winter Wednesday series of challenges here every FRIDAY. You can find them under the winter tab on the blog or if you have an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, you can find the ebook there for downloading.

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    Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter July 2016 – Night Sky and Big Dipper

    Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter July 2016 Cover image

    Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

    July 2016 – Night Sky and Big Dipper Study

     

    Please read the following explanation outlining how to get this month’s newsletter.

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    This month’s newsletter link will be available only during the month of May so be sure to download it before 7/31/16.

    Remember! All of the archived and current newsletters are available as part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library…every level!

    Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter July 2016

    Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

    • It is time for us to take a look at the nighttime sky, especially the Big Dipper. Use the ideas in this month’s newsletter to plan some astronomy related nature study with your children. I have created a chart of ideas for astronomy study and categorized them by learning style. This is going to help you choose appropriate activities for each of your children.
    • Contributions from Outdoor Hour Challenge participant- Tricia Hodges of Hodgepodge is sharing her Favorite Astronomy Resources!
    • July Nature Study Planning Page with field trip ideas, nature photo ideas, and a special 15 minute challenge for parents.
    • Big Dipper Study printable notebook page which can be used as a nature journal topper as well.

    Resources for your Nature Library: I have started to build a nature library store on Amazon that will feature by category my favorite nature study books and resources. Take a look and see if there is anything you would like to put on your wish list for your family’s nature study library: Handbook of Nature Study Nature Library Suggestions on Amazon.com. Note this is my affiliate store to items I personally recommend and have read or seen in person. There is a category for astronomy study that lists the resources our family has used and found helpful.

    Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.

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    Need help getting started with your nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study? Check out the fresh “Getting Started” page here on the website!

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    Don’t forget that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to the brand new Learning About Birds ebook!

    Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Night Sky Cassiopeia

    Night Sky Star cassiopeia and cepheus @handbookofnaturestudy

    Inside Preparation Work:

    • Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 821-822 (Lesson 225).  Try to share the story of these three constellations with your children either before you go out to view the night sky or if you have a really good memory, while you are looking for the constellations.
    • Here are links to the three constellations you will be looking for this week: Cassiopeia’s Chair, Cepheus, and the Dragon.
    • Autumn Constellations—scroll down to the “facing NE” chart and you will see what Cassiopeia and Cepheus will look like in your autumn sky.
    • Advanced Study: Print this chart out and see how many of the constellations you can see in the autumn sky: Autumn Star Chart.

    Outdoor Hour Time:

    • Take your outdoor challenge time this week during the evening hours. The aim is to get outside and view the night sky, hoping to see the stars if weather permits.
    • Use the information, charts, and links both in the Handbook of Nature Study and in the links in the section above to find the Polestar, Cassiopeia’s Chair, Cepheus, and the Dragon. Even if you have trouble finding the exact constellations, this activity can be enjoyable for the whole family. Remember to dress warmly or you won’t last too long outdoors!

    Follow-Up Activities:

    • The Handbook of Nature Study suggests in the lesson to draw Cassiopeia’s Chair (#1), Cepheus (#5), and the Dragon (#7). These can be done using the chart on page 821 of the Handbook of Nature Study if needed. There is a notebook page included in the ebook for you to use for your sketches if you would like. There is also a checklist on this notebook page you can use as part of the follow-up.
    • Advanced Study: Challenge yourself to learn the story of these three constellations as related in the Handbook of Nature Study.
    • Advanced Study: Sketch these stars from memory: Polestar, Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Cassiopeia’s Chair, Cepheus, and the Dragon. There is a notebook page in the ebook you might like to use as part of this activity.

    Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

    Join us for this series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study. If you want to purchase the Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Autumn Nature Study Continues content list on the announcement page.

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Sky Study

    Outdoor Hour Challenge: 
    This week try to spend even just a few minutes outside looking at the stars. Make it an event your child will remember by bundling up beforehand if necessary and then finishing off the evening with something warm to drink.

    Use this challenge from the past to get started: Winter Sky Study. This blog entry includes some winter night sky links you may find helpful.

    NOTE: Make sure to note that you don’t need the Discover Nature in Winter book to get outside and just take a look at the stars and/or moon this month. You also do not need a telescope to complete this challenge. Use your naked eyes or a pair of binoculars if you have those at home.

    You may also be interested in the Year Long Big Dipper Study. This challenge includes a free printable notebook page to record your observations.

    Special Activity:

    After you Outdoor Hour time, spend a few minutes with your child and discuss what you observed outdoors in winter, perhaps even after your night sky observations. Have them come up with a question they would like answered about anything winter related and record their question on the notebook page above. Use the Handbook of Nature Study or other resources to answer their question within a week’s time. This process can be done every time your child has a question as they learn more about their own backyard and beyond.

    Printable Winter Question Research Notebook Page

    Getting Started Suggestion:
    If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2. Use this challenge to help your child find some words to go along with your winter sky study. The notebooking page that goes with this challenge has a place for words and a small sketch. I have found that as you do this challenge over and over, your child will build a large vocabulary of adjectives and an increased ability to see things in nature.    

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge – Big Dipper Year-Long Study


    This challenge is one from the archives but with a twist. Read through Winter Series – Night Sky Outdoor Hour Challenge for the background and information to do a night sky study using the Handbook of Nature Study. I know the information from this challenge is for winter but much of the reading can be applied in any season. See the idea below to make this challenge go even further. 

    Big Dipper Year-Long Study
    Another really interesting year-long seasonal study is to observe the Big Dipper in each season to note the change in position and direction. This may be a more advanced study but at the very least, try to view the Big Dipper with your children and talk about how it changes from season to season. Older students may like to research why this happens and make an additional entry in their nature journal. You can also use the printable notebook page below to record each season’s observations.
    Additional Resources for Study
    How to Find the North Star Using the Big Dipper
    Explanation of the Big Dipper in Each Season
    Printable Showing the Big Dipper in Each Season (for reference)
    YouTube video for the Big Dipper 


    Big Dipper Year-Long Study Printable Notebook Page

    Getting Started Suggestion:
    If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2. Use the suggestions in OHC #2 to help your child think of some words to describe the night sky. Record them in their nature journal or on the accompanying notebook page.    

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    2011 Winter Series Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 and Winter Wednesday #3 Winter Sky

    Moon 1 19 11 (1)

    “After the polar constellations are learned, we are then ready for further study in the still earlier evenings of winter, when the clear atmosphere makes the stars seem more alive, more sparkling, and more beautiful than at any other period of the year.”
    Handbook of Nature Study, page 823

    We have been enjoying the full moon and the brilliant stars just about every night this week. We also were observing the moon this morning when it was still up over the tree tops first thing….amazing. We tried to capture our moon with the camera but it is pretty tricky. This is the perfect winter study for our family and I hope you get to give it a try too.

    Here are the links to this week’s challenges:

    Winter Series #3 Winter Sky (stars and moon)
    Winter Wednesday #3 Winter Sky (constellations)

    Please feel free to complete one or both of the challenges as you have the opportunity. We would all enjoy seeing your entries and even if it is at a later date, please come back to this entry and add your link. I am listing all the entries in this series on the sidebar of my blog for you to add to as you have time. You are never “late” and you can add links whenever you have the chance.

    Don’t forget to check in with the additional webpages for these sets of challenges:

    Winter Winter Wednesday Button