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How To Find The Joy of Nature Study in Your Own Backyard

How do you find the joy of nature study in your own backyard? Here are some encouragement for easy homeschool nature study right out your back door.

How do you find the joy of nature study in your own backyard? Here are some encouragement for easy homeschool nature study right out your back door.

The simple truth is that everyone has something special and unique to explore in their own backyard or neighborhood.

How To Find The Joy of Nature Study in Your Own Backyard

I always go outside with the expectation that there will be something interesting.

Sometimes you have to look harder to find it than other times.

Nature study has made me more of a positive person…I expect to find something outdoors to make me joyful. I expect that there will be something that we can observe and notice.

How do you find the joy of nature study in your own backyard? Here are some encouragement for easy homeschool nature study right out your back door.
Wow! Look at the color of this fungi? We think it is called Witches Butter.

There is just so much to see and learn about, but we need to train our eyes and hearts to be open to the opportunities that arise.

seeds nature study
I am amazed by these seeds. As many times as we have hiked down this same path, by this same plant, I have never noticed these really great seeds but there they are.

Keep your senses open to any opportunities and you may be surprised what you find to be interested in along with your children.

How do you find the joy of nature study in your own backyard? Here are some encouragement for easy homeschool nature study right out your back door.
There were lots of fresh critter holes along the trail this week. This one was especially large. We see signs of lots of mammals as we walk and holes are some of the most intriguing signs that we are not alone.

Tips for Simple Homeschool Nature Study

I got to thinking about all of the simple things we have nature study in our own backyard that we have noticed over the years.

  • Trees: leaves, bark, twigs, roots, flowers, cones, needles, seeds, pods, nests, birds
  • Patch of weeds: leaves, roots, bugs, flowers perhaps
  • Dirt: worms, gravel, stones, seeds, mud
  • Sky: clouds, sun, moon, stars
  • Air: temperature, wind, smells, breath on a cold morning
  • Birds: flying, pecking, eating, chirping, hopping, shapes and colors, beaks, wings, tails, feet
  • Sounds: wind, frogs, rain, leaves, crickets, bees, fly buzzing, mosquitoes
  • Weather: rain, clouds, temperature, snow, ice, dew, wind
  • Flowers (garden or in a pot): petals, pollen, roots, leaves, stem, fragrance, shapes, colors, seeds
The ferns are growing right now like crazy. Every day there are more and more to enjoy.

More For Your Homeschool

Find out more about homeschool nature study encouragement and prompts in The Joy of Nature Study in Your Homeschool Year.

If you are not a Homeschool Nature Study member 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 create the habit of nature study within your family.

How do you find the joy of nature study in your own backyard? Here are some encouragement for easy homeschool nature study right out your back door.

What can you put on your list?

Above all, have fun and be joyful!

By Barb McCoy, Outdoor Hour Challenges founder

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First Day of Winter Nature Walk Ideas for Your Homeschool

Enjoy these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Getting outside for a walk on the first day of winter may be one of the most refreshing activities you could do with your children.

The temperatures drop and we huddle inside more and more, especially on the shortest day of the year! Make plans to get outside for a brisk nature walk and then to follow up with a nature journal page recording all of the interesting things you found while outside.

Get outside with your family with these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Simple and fun prompts to do together.

First Day of Winter Nature Walk Ideas for Your Homeschool

Encourage everyone to use all of their senses on this walk. Here are some winter nature walk ideas:

  • Did they see something colorful or unusual?
  • How does the air feel on your skin?
  • Is there a particular fragrance to the air?
  • Can you listen carefully for a minute or two to distinguish any particular sounds?

Another idea is to ask your children to find differences in the landscape, comparing your neighborhood habitat on this winter day to what they remember about the first day of summer. This is a little harder and you may need to help them get started with a few of your own observations.

Get outside with your family with these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Simple and fun prompts to do together.

More Winter Homeschool Nature Study Resources

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

Take Your Homeschool Winter Study Indoors

Taking your winter nature studies indoors when the weather outdoors is proving to be a challenge may be just the thing you need every once in a while. We have a lovely post from the archives to inspire your homeschool nature studies indoors for those days that you can’t face getting outdoors.

Make Memories Together This Winter

Most importantly, take along a good attitude and leave yourself open to whatever the experience brings. Allow your children to direct you to things they find interesting and then share in their excitement. A good nature walk is pleasurable for everyone and allows you and your children to develop a relationship with our Creator.

The best times I can remember with my children are the times we just took it slow and easy, looking for the little things that most people pass by. Turn over a rock and see what’s underneath. Look up in the branches of the trees and see if you can find any birds or other critters. Sit quietly by the edge of a pond or stream and see what comes along. Breathe the air and enjoy the day.

There’s a printable in Homeschool Nature Study Membership for the First Day of Winter Nature Walk for you to use as part of this activity. A simple list and a sketch will make a perfect follow up to your outdoor time.

Get outside with your family with these first day of winter nature walk ideas for your homeschool! Simple and fun prompts to do together.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

First published by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy.

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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A Winter Tree Study For Your Homeschool

Enjoy a beautiful winter tree study for your homeschool. Learn about evergreen trees as part of your winter season nature studies and make beautiful memories together this Christmas!

Enjoy an evergreen winter tree study for your homeschool as part of your winter season nature studies and make beautiful memories together this Christmas!

The Beauty of The Season With Evergreen Trees

As we approach Christmas, one of the evergreen trees, the spruce, becomes an important symbol in our Christmas celebrations and winter traditions.

But just why have evergreen trees, be they spruce, pine or fir, become such an intrinsic part of Christmas? What are all of the types of Christmas trees? A little peek through time reveals some interesting facts about this winter tree.

A Christmas Tree for The Animals event! Enjoy an evergreen winter tree study for your homeschool as part of your winter season nature studies and make beautiful memories together this Christmas!

A Christmas Tree for the Animals – An Event for the Whole Family!

Receive the full Spruce Tree study filled with fun learning by Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess, Shirley Vels. Sign up for our special Christmas Tree for the Animals Event! Spruce Tree Nature Study included!

  • When: Wednesday, November 16 at noon ET
  • Where: All who sign up will receive details via email prior to the event
  • Can’t attend live? No worries! Sign up to receive the replay


Sign Up To Attend Live or for Replay

Get access to attend live and to enjoy the replay of the event – Plus accompanying resources

    Plus a wonderful tutorial on decorating an outdoor tree for the animals, a craft creating an outdoor ornament for your tree, O Christmas Tree hymn study and accompanying composer study too! Joyful Art, Nature and Music for Your Christmas Homeschool

    Winter Tree Nature Study For Kids

    There are so many ways to enjoy a winter tree study with your family. Here are a few options you can use for your homeschool:

    Enjoy an evergreen winter tree study for your homeschool as part of your winter season nature studies and make beautiful memories together this Christmas!

    Pine Trees and Pine Cones

    Let’s jump into exploring pine trees and pine cones in nature! This homeschool nature study has everything you need to start learning about pine trees and pine cones. This Outdoor Hour Challenge is based on the Winter Wednesday curriculum which is available to our members but you can follow along regardless using this post as a bit of a guide. In the Winter Wednesday curriculum you will have access to notebooking pages and a host more ideas and links.

    Hemlock Tree

    This dense and graceful tree with its drooping branches of soft needles casts such a heavy shadow that not much can live beneath it. This is a Homeschool Nature Study membership tree study and is also available the Autumn Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum.

    Winter Tree Silhouettes

    We are going to be on the lookout for interesting winter tree silhouettes in our own yard and neighbourhood.

    Winter Tree Twigs

    A fun Homeschool Nature Study membership Outdoor Hour Challenge that includes forcing blooms from a winter tree twig.

    Enjoy an evergreen winter tree study for your homeschool as part of your winter season nature studies and make beautiful memories together this Christmas!

    Winter Tree Study

    Use these simple suggestions from The Handbook of Nature Study and spend a few minutes outside or observing a winter tree or evergreen through a window.

    My Tree is a Living World

    What a fun way to learn about the trees for each season. Such a simple homeschool nature study with beautiful results. This printable for members is a fun way to observe then record all of the living things you observe in your tree.

    Red and Green Homeschool Nature Study

    Red and Green Outdoor Hour Challenge – this is a fun way to notice red and green in nature. Get started with these ideas.

    Enjoy an evergreen winter tree study for your homeschool as part of your winter season nature studies and make beautiful memories together this Christmas!

    Additional Resources For Winter Nature Study

    In Homeschool Nature Study membership, you can also find a study of the Hemlock Tree in the Autumn course and Evergreens in My Yard study and journal page in the Trees course. Each season includes a new tree study.

    Here are a few more resources you will love:

    Winter is such a wonderful time for homeschool nature study! Won’t you join us? In Homeschool Nature Study membership, each challenge gives you step by step instructions to get started with simple weekly nature study ideas whatever season you are in! This may just be what your homeschool week needs.

    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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    Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool This Winter

    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.

    Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool This Winter

    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.
    Photos by Amy Law

    Take a First Day of Winter Nature Walk

    Getting outside for a walk on the first day of winter may be one of the most refreshing activities you could do with your children. The temperatures drop and we huddle inside more and more, especially on the shortest day of the year!

    “The most obvious work of nature has been the preparation for winter. A wide range of observation should be used to impress the truth: the trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, and stored the provisions for spring in the buds and branches; many softer plants die down to the ground, storing the food in roots, others in bulbs, and still others in tubers. The question may be asked for each plant that comes up for observation – How did it get ready for winter?”

    Nature Study by Months
    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.

    1. Take a walk this week and spend a few minutes looking at the plants in your yard and neighborhood. Look for bushes and trees without leaves, stopping to note that these plants are many times not dead but just waiting for spring to begin a new growth cycle. Don’t go into too much detail but allow time for quiet observation.

    2. After your outdoor time, spend a few minutes discussing how plants get ready for winter. You can bring out the following points:

    • Some plants (Annuals) have seeds that survive the winter even when the plant does not.
    • Other plants (Perennials) have roots that survive the winter and start to grow again in the spring.
    • Deciduous trees shed their leaves, conserve food, and have buds that are waiting until spring to open and grow.

    3. Make a nature journal entry recording anything of interest from your outdoor time.

    Alternately, make plans to get outside for a brisk nature walk and then to follow up with a nature journal page recording all of the interesting things you found while outside.

    animal tracks in winter

    Animals in Winter Homeschool Nature Study

    “The same thought should be applied to the animals. Most of the birds have gone south because of the cold, and also because their food is gone; the frogs, turtles, and toads are going to sleep all winter down in the mud or earth below the frost; the caterpillars are waiting in their cocoons for the warm spring sunshine; most of the other insects have laid their eggs for the next season, while a few of them have crawled into warm places to wait; the squirrels have gathered a store of nuts, and will soon be asleep in the old tree-trunks; the cats dogs, horses, and cows have grown a fresh coat of hair and fur. Nothing is forgotten; each is ready in its own best way.”

    Nature Study by Months

    Ideas to Prepare for Outdoor Study:

    This will be another easy week of nature study that will blend easily with other Outdoor Hour Challenges. Take the opportunity to spend some time outdoors noticing the way that animals prepare for winter. Make this one an investigation!

    You might prepare with a little discussion about the various animals and birds that live in your local area. Some ideas to get you started:

    • migrating or visiting birds
    • squirrels gathering nuts
    • insects in cocoons
    • changes in color of various animals as they prepare for the white of the snow time
    • You can also read this article: Animals in Winter.
    snow homeschool nature study
    Snow Outdoor Hour Challenge included in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

    Get Outside!

    Bundle up and spend fifteen minutes outdoors enjoying the December world. A good nature walk is pleasurable for everyone and allows you and your children to appreciate God’s beautiful creation. The best times I can remember with my children are the times we just took it slow and easy, looking for the little things that most people pass by.

    Look for signs of animals and think about ways they prepare for winter. You can also make bird and animal observations, noting their behavior. How are they staying warm? finding food? sheltering from the weather?

    Encourage everyone to use all of their senses on this walk:

    • Did they see something colorful or unusual?
    • How does the air feel on your skin?
    • Is there a particular fragrance to the air?
    • Can you listen carefully for a minute or two to distinguish any particular sounds?

    Another idea is to ask your children to find differences in the landscape, comparing your neighborhood habitat on this winter day to what they remember about the first day of summer. This is a little harder and you may need to help them get started with a few of your own observations.

    More Outdoor Hour Challenge Ideas:

    • Turn over a rock and see what’s underneath.
    • Look up in the branches of the trees and see if you can find any birds or other critters.
    • Sit quietly by the edge of a pond or stream and see what comes along.
    • Breathe the air and enjoy the day.
    indoor winter nature study ideas for your homeschool

    Follow Up Indoor Winter Nature Study Activities:

    • After your outdoor time allow time for a nature journal entry. Use the notebook page or the journal idea from the December Newsletter to record your observations of anything that your child finds interesting. I also have a December World Notebook Page included Homechool Nature Study Membership or you can use one of the journaling pages included in the free membership sample, below.
    • Maybe this week you could use a different art medium in your journal…many of us get stuck in a rut. Offer colored pencils, thin markers, watercolors, or pastels.

    Paint a Winter Frosty Leaf in Chalk Pastels

    Nana of You ARE an ARTiST offers a sample of her winter art lessons series in You ARE an ARTiST Complete Clubhouse membership. Suggested supplies: dark blue construction paper and leaf chalk pastel colors. Baby wipes or slightly damp paper towel for easy clean up.

    • You could also try offering modeling clay as an alternative to drawing the subject this week and then take a photo of the finished product to include in the nature journal.
    • Additional Link: Animals in Winter lapbook – free printable

    Not all nature study needs to happen outdoors during the winter season! There are so many lovely ideas for you in Taking Your Winter Nature Study Indoors.

    Wonderful Winter Homeschool Nature Study Topics

    In Homeschool Nature Study membership, each challenge gives you step by step instructions to get started with simple weekly nature study ideas…even in the middle of winter! This may just be what your homeschool week needs to get you through the cold winter days of January, February, and March.

    Each challenge is written for you to complete in your own neighborhood or backyard and you can adapt each challenge to fit your local area with suggestions I offer with each topic. Don’t be discouraged if you look at the list of topics and think you don’t have that particular subject close at hand. I will guide you through finding a replacement to still offer you a weekly dose of nature study.

    The winter homeschool nature study challenges were written for families with children of all ages. In addition to the regular challenge, I have bumped up the nature study for older or more experienced children, complete with their own set of notebooking pages. You will be able to use these studies with your whole family and pull it out from year to year and have a nature study resource for all levels.

    Outdoor Hour Challenges for Winter – Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

    Membership includes all you need for using the Handbook of Nature Study and enjoying learning together as a family. See a sample membership Winter Homeschool Nature Study by signing up with the form, below.

    Membership includes all of this plus MORE!

    • notebook pages and coloring pages
    • Upper Level notebook pages for advanced or experienced students
    • Charlotte Mason style exam questions
    • Complete list of supplies needed
    • Detailed instructions for each challenge, including links and printables
    • Nature journal suggestions
    • Alternate ideas to adapt the challenges to your local area

    Members also enjoy:

    • Bird in Snow video art lesson
    • First Day of Winter Walk and Observations Page
    • December World Notebook Page
    • Winter Weather Observations Journal Page
    • Window Observations Journal Page
    • December Words and Poem Journal Page

    Special Outdoor Hour Challenges

    • Snow Study!
    • Red and Green Outdoor Hour Challenge
    • Moon and Moon Names
    • Study on Magnets and the Compass

    And more challenges from all of the courses pictured above!

    There are so many simple ways to study nature in your homeschool this winter! From nature walks to indoor studies, use this guide as a starting point for making memories together.

    Get Your Free Sample Of Membership: Winter Homeschool Nature Study Download

    Get Your Membership Sample of Winter Homeschool Nature Study!

    Subscribe to get FREE Membership Sample of Winter Homeschool Nature Study.

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

      Most importantly, when you get outside for your winter homeschool nature study, take along a good attitude and leave yourself open to whatever the experience brings. Allow your children to direct you to things they find interesting and then share in their excitement.

      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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      Celebrate National Hiking Day in Your Homeschool

      Just in case you’re looking for another excuse to get outside in your homeschool. . .we’ve got a good one for you! National Take a Hike Day is on November 17 each year!

      What is National Take a Hike Day?

      People from all over the United States will be hitting the hiking trails around the country on that day. Hiking used to be a way of life. . .hunting for food or water. . .or just exploring. Today, many families live in cities or suburbs, and have to make an effort to get out in nature; and it’s totally worth it. If you do, you won’t be alone. In 2013, thirty-four million people got out to hike!

      Just in case you're looking for another excuse to get outside in your homeschool. . .we've got a good one for you! National Take a Hike Day.

      Who Started National Hike Day?

      National Take a Hike Day was started by the American Hiking Society. Their hope was to get people out in nature together again!

      President Lyndon B. Johnson was a big part of our current system of hiking trails. In 1965, he established the National Trails System Act that has doubled the number of trails in America. We now have around 60,000 miles of trails to explore!

      Just in case you're looking for another excuse to get outside in your homeschool. . .we've got a good one for you! National Take a Hike Day.

      Celebrate National Hike Day with Homeschool Nature Study!

      Mark your calendars for a November 17 hike! It makes an amazing way to spend time together as a family, gives more opportunity for nature study, and creates memories to last a lifetime. So, grab your hiking boots or shoes, water, snacks, kids, and maybe even a pocket field guide. This series is a great one.

      National Hiking Day In Your Homeschool

      Don’t know where to start? State Parks usually have some beautiful, well marked trails. . .and depending on the state, are often free to enter. If you’re looking for something very close to home, you can search on AllTrails for trails local to you. They have a free app you can download to your phone that is very helpful for finding hiking locations, and an interactive map that will show you exactly where you are on the trail once you get there!

      Are you new to hiking? Here a few suggestions of things to take. Snacks, first aid items, insect repellent, sunscreen and/or hats, plenty of water for each person, a trail map, pepper spray, a camera, happy spirits and maybe a hiking song to sing along the way 😉

      waterfall

      More Ideas for Family Nature Study

      Here are a few more ideas to inspire you to get outdoors!

      Just in case you're looking for another excuse to get outside in your homeschool. . .we've got a good one for you! National Take a Hike Day.

      Join Us For Homeschool Nature Study

      We’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.

      We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

      Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

      -by Amy Law

      Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.

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      The Ultimate Guide of Fun Apple and Pumpkin Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

      When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

      When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

      5 Apple Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

      All things apple – what a fun, fall topic to learn about!

      “The apple is a nutritious fruit, wholesome and easily digested. The varieties of apple differ in shape, size, color, texture, and flavor. A perfect apple has no bruise upon it and no wormholes in it. “

      Handbook of Nature Study, page 669
      • Compare the outside of the apples: color, size, stems, blemishes.
      • Compare the skins: thickness, texture.
      • Compare cut apples: core size, seeds, shape, flavor, crispness
      • Visit an apple farm and view apples on trees (and sample doughnuts and apple pies!)
      • Have a picnic under an apple tree!
      visit an apple orchard for your homeschool nature study

      For even more ideas plus a FULL Outdoor Hour Challenge on apples, join Homeschool Nature Study membership!

      More Apple Nature Study Fun

      Here are a few more fun apple study ideas!

      visit a pumpkin farm for your homeschool nature study!

      5 Pumpkin Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

      Get started with your pumpkin nature study with these simple ideas:

      • Sketch or describe the pumpkin leaf.
      • Thump your pumpkin and describe the sound.
      • Observe the creases on the outside of the pumpkin.
      • Can you tell which way your pumpkin sat on the ground when it was growing?
      • Cut your pumpkin open and view the seeds. Sketch the arrangement in your journal.
      Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool. Perfect for all ages.

      More Pumpkin Nature Studies Perfect for Homeschool

      For 10 more ideas plus a FULL Outdoor Hour Challenge on Pumpkins, a Pumpkin Farm Notebook page and more, join Homeschool Nature Study membership!

      Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool. Perfect for all ages.

      Favorite Pumpkin Recipes to Enjoy

      Handbook of Nature Study website founder Barb McCoy shares these favorites!

      Tricia’s Easy Pumpkin Recipes:

      When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

      More Fall Homeschool Nature Study Fun!

      Keep the apple and pumpkin nature study fun going with these resources for all ages:

      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 Fall Leaf Study And Activities (perfect for all ages)

      To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf study in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

      To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

      Celebrate The First Day of Fall

      Here is a fun idea for the first day of fall and your fall leaf tour!

      To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

      Homeschool Fall Leaf Study And Activities

      This study is designed to be completed with what you have around you. As the leaves turn, head outside, notice fall colors and collect some different colored leaves.

      Compare Leaves from Two Different Trees

      • Leaf shape and leaf margins.
      • Leaf arrangement on the stem.
      • Leaf color, texture, and size. (You can measure if you wish.)
      • Come back in from your walk and follow up with a journal page.

      Take a Fall Color Walk For Your Nature Study

      To continue your fall leaf tour, take a fall color walk! We also start to take more hikes now that the afternoons are a bit cooler. We have our favorite trails and try to get outside every day to see what we can find of interest.

      Read in the Handbook of Nature Study page 14, “The Field Excursion”. The reason I want you to read this section is so you have a better understanding of how to prepare you children for a short outdoor excursion with a purpose. Let them know ahead of time the reason you are going outdoors, have them gather their supplies, and then make the excursion outside to look for fall colors.

      With our Printable Autumn Series Field Notebook included in membership, you can enjoy these studies and journal pages:

      • Seasonal tree study
      • Goldenrod
      • Oaks & acorns
      • Fall bird study
      • Squirrels
      • Mushrooms
      • Pumpkins
      • Field Notebook List

      Fall Color Challenge Activity: Match Leaf Color to Your Art Supplies

      A more detailed advanced study for upper level students is included in membership. Here is a peek at what you can enjoy as you continue your fall leaf tour.

      Collect a variety of colorful leaves and bring them inside. Have fun matching the colors of the leaves to your colored pencils, chalk pastels, crayons or other art supplies. You might want to sketch your leaves in your nature journal.

      Watercolor pencils on the left and regular colored pencils on the right.

      Fall Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

      Track Weather in Your Homeschool

      Autumn seems to be a season that many of us look forward to and in my part of the world we welcome the cooler temperatures and the crisp morning air. We begin to see a few days of wet weather and one activity that seems to make its way into my nature journal is to keep track of that cooler wet weather.

      To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

      Simple Fall Homeschool Nature Study Ideas with Apples, Pumpkins and Pears

      Our Homeschool Nature Study members enjoy these wonderful challenges!

      • Apple Challenge – Simple nature study featuring apples and the Handbook of Nature Study.
      • Pumpkins – Study your pumpkins and then eat them too!
      • Pear Challenge – Yummy nature study featuring pears and the Handbook of Nature Study with advanced study options too.
      To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

      Autumn Series with the Handbook of Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum

      There are so many fall favorites for you to explore over the next months!

      Members also enjoy access to:

      • NEW, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!
      • the annual nature study plans
      • matching courses with materials and journaling pages
      • interactive calendar with daily nature study prompts
      • Nature Journaling course
      • and MUCH more!

      More Fall Nature Study for Your Homeschool

      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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      Creating a Nature Study Atmosphere in Your Homeschool: Start With Your Attitude

      Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. In fact, the best nature study is done without much effort and is guided by your child’s interest in topics that come along.

      Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. In fact, the best nature study is done without much effort and is guided by your child's interest in topics that come along.
      Photos by Amy Law

      The nature study we talk about here is meant to be simple, a constant vigilance for something to be interested in right in your own neighborhood.


      Creating a Homeschool Nature Study Atmosphere – It Starts With You

      Nature Study- You can do this and your children will thank you. That really is my main message for this post and this Homeschool Nature Study website.

      Nature Study Close to Home

      Traveling to national parks can be a goal for everyone and I feel so very blessed to live in a part of the county where they are at my fingertips. But your own backyard can produce meaningful nature study if you are aware of things that come along…you need to be watching and listening.

      Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. The best nature study is little effort and is guided by your child's interest.

      No Need for Homeschool Group Learning

      Participating in nature clubs can be a wonderful experience for a nature study atmosphere but having a few minutes with just your own kids outside each week can be just as wonderful.

      Be Flexible With Your Time

      Focusing on one nature study topic gives your family a full picture of that aspect of nature but don’t miss out on other subjects that come around because they are not on topic. Take a detour if needed and remember that nature study should be a life-long endeavor.

      I have observed that families that make nature study a consistent part of their everyday life are the ones that feel the most satisfaction. Honestly, it warms my heart to see and hear about the times where families have an opportunity arise and they drop everything to pursue the learning more. A spider in a web, a bird’s song, the weather, rocks in pockets….take a few minutes to share it with your children.

      dragonfly homeschool nature study

      You may be surprised how your attitude changes with knowledge. 

      In the end, what matters most is the way you view nature. Children are very keen observers and they will know when you are not excited about something. I can’t say I am always excited about every nature study topic…snakes and fish come to mind…but I do try to share my passion for learning new things and encourage my children to learn more about topics of interest. Funny thing is that once you start learning about things like snakes, the more interesting they become. The closer you look at a fish, the more beautiful it is.

      Join us in Homeschool Nature Study Membership for a NEW Outdoor Hour Challenge each Friday!


      You will find encouragement and resources to get your nature study atmosphere started. It is all done for you. Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

      Outdoor Hour Challenge Getting Started Guide – the beginning of so many good times with your children outdoors!

      Creating a homeschool nature study atmosphere does not need to be difficult, dirty, or uncomfortable. In fact, the best nature study is done without much effort and is guided by your child's interest in topics that come along.

      Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

      Posted on

      The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study (Outdoor Hour Challenges)

      You can enjoy a simple garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers!

      It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers with our garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study for all ages.

      Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

      The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

      NOTE: If the challenge is included an Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum ebook in Homeschool Nature Study Membership, it is noted directly after the challenge. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the ebook and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your nature study.

      • Autumn Apples – Autumn
      • Bachelor’s Buttons – Summer Continues
      • Bee Larkspur/Delphinium – Summer Continues
      • Black Eyed Susans – More Nature Study Summer
      • Black Swallowtail – Spring Continues
      • Bleeding Hearts – Winter Continues
      • Blue Flag Iris – More Nature Study Spring
      • Crocus – Winter
      • Daisy – More Nature Study Summer
      • Daffodil – Winter
      • Earthworms – Spring
      • Geranium – Spring Continues
      It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers with our garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study for all ages.
      • Monarch Butterfly – More Nature Study Summer
      • Nasturtiums – Spring Continues
      • Pansy – More Nature Study Winter
      • Pears – More Nature Study Autumn
      • Petunias – Spring Continues
      • Robins – More Nature Study Spring
      • Salvia – Autumn Continues
      • Snails – More Nature Study Spring
      • Sunflowers
      • Sweet Peas – More Nature Study Spring
      • Tulip – Winter
      • Violets – Winter Continues
      It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers with our garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study for all ages.

      Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Nature Study

      These challenges can be found in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

      • Wild Mustard and Wild Radish
      • Shooting Stars
      • Lupine
      • Purple Chinese Houses
      • Yarrow
      • Henbit
      • Cow Parsnip
      • Columbine
      • Chicory
      • Cocklebur
      • Fireweed
      • Salsify
      • Forget-Me-Not
      • Paintbrush
      • Common Silverweed

      Homeschool Nature Study: Wildflower and Weed Challenges

      • Azalea – Forest Fun
      • Bitterbrush – High Desert
      • Bloodroot – Winter Continues
      • Bluets – Spring Continues
      • Burdock – Autumn Continues
      • Buttercups – More Nature Study Spring
      • Cattails Spring Observations – Spring
      • Cattails Summer Observations – Summer
      • Cattails Winter Observations – Winter
      • Chicory – Wildflowers Continue
      • Cocklebur – Wildflowers Continue
      • Columbine – Wildflowers Continue
      • Common Silverweed – More Wildflowers
      • Cow Parsnip – Wildflowers Continue
      • Dandelions – Spring course (Here is an example of a Dandelion Outdoor Hour!)
      • Dodder – More Nature Study Spring
      • Dutchman’s Breeches – Winter Continues
      • Evening Primrose – Summer
      • Fern – More Nature Study Spring
      • Field Horsetail – Autumn
      • Fireweed – More Wildflowers
      • Forget-Me-Nots – More Wildflowers
      • Hedge Bindweed – More Nature Study Spring
      • Henbit – Wildflowers Continue
      • Hepatica – Winter Continues
      • Jack in the Pulpit – Spring Continues
      • Jewelweed – Autumn 2015
      • Lupine – Wildflowers
      • May Apple – Spring Continues
      • Milkweed –More Nature Study Autumn
      • Mullein – More Nature Study Winter
      • Mustard and Radish (wild) – Wildflowers
      • Paintbrush – More Wildflowers
      • Pearly Everlasting – Summer Continues
      • Poison Oak – Creepy Things
      • Pondweed – More Nature Study Summer
      • Poppies – More Nature Study Spring
      • Prickly Lettuce – Autumn
      • Purple Chinese Houses – Wildflowers
      • Queen Anne’s Lace Autumn Observations – Autumn
      • Queen Anne’s Lace Summer Observations – Summer
      • Rabbitbrush – Forest Fun
      • Big Sagebrush – High Desert
      • Salsify – More Wildflowers
      • Shooting Stars – Wildflowers
      • Skunk Cabbage – Forest Fun
      • Snowberry (shrub) – High Desert
      • Squirrel Corn – Winter Continues
      • Teasel – Autumn Continues
      • Thistles – More Nature Study Autumn
      • Trillium – Spring Continues
      • Vine Study – More Nature Study Spring
      • White Water Lily – Summer Continues
      • Winter Berries – Autumn Continues
      • Winter Weeds – Winter Wednesday and More Winter
      • Yarrow – Wildflowers
      • Yellow Adder’s Tongue – Spring Continues
      • Yellow Ladies Slipper – Spring Continues
      • Crop Plants – Clover
      • Crop Plants – Beans
      • Crop Plants – Corn
      • Crop Plants – Cotton
      • Crop Plants – Strawberries
      • Crop Plants – Pumpkins
      • Crop Plants – Tomatoes
      Homeschool Nature Study Membership

      Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

      Can you believe all of these garden and wildflowers resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on gardens and wildflowers plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

      first published January 2011 by Barb, updated by Tricia March 2022

      The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges
      Posted on 6 Comments

      How to Teach Homeschool Nature Study

      How to teach homeschool nature study? It is not as intimidating at you think! We share how to naturally share nature study with your child.

      “During autumn the attention of the children should be attracted to the leaves by their gorgeous colors. It is well to use this interest to cultivate their knowledge of the forms of leaves of trees; but the teaching of the tree species to the young child should be done quite incidentally and guardedly. If the teacher says to the child bringing a leaf, “This is a white-oak leaf,” the child will soon quite unconsciously learn that leaf by name. Thus, tree study may be begun in the kindergarten or the primary grades.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 622

      How to Teach Homeschool Nature Study

      I regularly am asked how to teach nature study. Should you read the Handbook of Nature Study to your child? Should you draw in other resources? Should you take your nature journal with you on your walks? Should you require a nature journal entry? How do you share information without it becoming a “lesson”?

      These are all really great questions and I know for each family the answers will be a little bit different because you have different children with different learning styles. I try to keep in mind the principle outlined in the quote from the Handbook of Nature Study above.

      Outdoor time is for the whole family! We share some simple tips for getting started.

      The Handbook of Nature Study Book is Written for Adults

      The Handbook of Nature Study was written for adults. Adults who were then to try to offer nature study to children. Anna Botsford Comstock knew that the key to great times in nature study depended on the interest and enthusiasm of the teacher/parent. She knew that even adults *needed* this time outdoors to refresh and to inspire us to teach homeschool nature study.

      “She who opens her eyes and her heart nature-ward even once a week finds nature study in the schoolroom a delight and an abiding joy……She finds, first of all, companionship with her children; and second, she finds that without planning or going on a far voyage, she has found health and strength.” -Handbook of Nature Study, page 3

      How to Naturally Share Nature Study With Your Child

      The other key is to take things slowly and to over time incorporate vocabulary and labels for things you find in nature. This calls for a little work by the adult in the beginning. More on this in Nature Study: Creating Habits Young and Nature Study The Gentle Way.

      “If the teacher says, “I have a pink hepatica. Can anyone find me a blue one?” the children, who naturally like grown up words, will soon be calling these flowers hepaticas….The child should never be required to learn the name of anything in the nature study work; but the name should be used so often and so naturally in his prescense that he will learn it without being conscious of the process.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 11

      “The half-hour excursion should be preceded by a talk concerning the purposes of the outing and the pupils must know that certain observations are to be made or they will not be permitted to go again. This should not be emphasized as a punishment; but they should be made to understand that a field excursion is only, naturally enough, for those who wish to see and understand outdoor life.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 15

      If you want more guidance on how to teach homeschool nature study, read the whole section on page 15 under The Field Excursion. I find that as my children are getting older, our time is more limited as far as nature study. I make it a priority to fit it in every week but the amount of time is more limited. We need our formal nature study to be concentrated and focused so that we can get the most out of it.

      “It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson, since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 15

      Using your nature journal in your homeschool

      The nature journal is something that is as individual as the child. My expectation for the simplest of nature journals has always been to include a sketch, a label, and a date. This simple formula works to help the child not be so overwhelmed with making a “pretty” journal entry. The journal is something that should bring joy to the child.

      “When the child is interested in studying any object, he enjoys illustrating his observations with drawings; the happy absorption of children thus engaged is a delight to witness.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 17

      How to Teach Homeschool Nature Study with Nature Journaling?

      This means that if your child finds drawing a chore, skip it. Try again another day. Eventually, they will find something to include in their journal. Do not get in the mindset that only drawing is acceptable in a nature journal. Lists, photos, diagrams, thoughts, poems, a sentence or two, or a combination of those things will become a very nice journal over time. We do not make a journal entry every week and our journals are still precious to us.

      How to teach homeschool nature study? It is not as intimidating at you think! We share how to naturally share nature study with your child.

      Photo by Amy Law

      The Handbook of Nature Study: Benefits of Homeschool Nature Study for All Ages

      So hopefully I have helped you understand a little of what I get from the Handbook of Nature Study.

      • The Handbook of Nature Study (HNS) is for the adult to read and be inspired from.
      • The HNS is for gleaning information and observation ideas for nature study.
      • Young children will learn the proper names for things naturally if you use it in conversation.
      • Older children will need a bit more preparation to begin to focus their nature study time.
      • Nature journal entries are not required after every outdoor experience.
      • Nature journals include a variety of information.
      • Nature study refreshes and inspires the parents as well as the children.
      • Regularly read the Handbook of Nature Study to refine your skills as a guide for your children.

      Dust your copy of the Handbook of Nature Study off today and read a few pages of the introductory chapters. Scan the Table of Contents and see if anything catches your eye for a nature study this week. Join us in completing a series of Outdoor Hour Challenges. Do something this week to get you outdoors with your children for even a few minutes to have some fun and refreshment.

      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.

      How To Get Started With the Outdoor Hour Challenges

      Just how do you get started in homeschool nature study? How do families participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenges? It is so simple to get started and we will show you how. Grab this free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

      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 for the Outdoor Mom 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 September 2009 by Barb. Updated January 2022 by Tricia.