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A Delightful Ladybug Nature Study For Your Homeschool

It’s time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! We love ladybugs in our garden. It is as simple as that. They always make me smile when I see them crawling around in the grass or on the rose bushes. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories that flood in when I see ladybugs….you know, singing *that* song.

It's time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! Ladybugs make me smile when I see them. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories.

A Ladybug Nature Study For Your Homeschool

Anyway, here are some thoughts from the Handbook of Nature Study that I enjoyed:

“The ladybird is a beetle. Its young are very different from the adult in appearance, and feed upon plant lice.”

From the Handbook of Nature Study, page 366

“These little beetles are very common in autumn and may be brought to the schoolroom and passed around in vials for the children to observe. Their larvae may be found on almost any plant infested with plant lice. Plant and all may be brought into the school room and the actions of the larvae noted by the pupils during recess.”

“From our standpoint the ladybird is of great value, for during the larval as well as adult stages, all species except one feed upon those insects which we are glad to be rid of.”

From page 365:

“The ladybird is a clever little creature, even if it does look like a pill, and if you disturb it, it will fold up its legs and drop as if dead, playing possum in a most deceptive manner.”

I don’t usually have to go far during the summer to find a ladybug or some aphids. The boys will point out that I have a ladybug in my hair or there will be one hiding among the weeds on the edges of the garden box. They just seem to go hand in hand with summer gardening.

I found a ladybug larva and a ladybug in my garden. This is an example of how taking the time to focus on something different in your own yard leads to a lot of really great information and then satisfaction.

ladybug larva for a ladybug homeschool nature study

I took this photo the other day in the garden and I posted it here on my blog. Someone identified it as a ladybug larva. (Thanks Margie!) I checked it out and they were right. The amazing part about it to me is that it is so big compared to the adult ladybug.

Studying Ladybug Larva

I looked it up in the Handbook of Nature Study and sure enough there is an illustration on page 364 that really shows the differences between the larva, the pupa, and the adult.

“…for they do not in the least resemble her; they are neither rolypoly nor shiny, bur are long and segmented and velvety, with six queer, short legs that look and act as if they were whittled out of wood; they seem only efficient for clinging around a stem….the absorbing business of the larva is to crawl around on plants and chew up the foolish aphids or the scale insects.”

Handbook of Nature Study page 365

Here is another photo I took the other day and I sort of thought it was a ladybug but it wasn’t quite the same as I had seen before.

Now, go look for some ladybugs!

Ladybug Art for Nature Study and Exploration

It's time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! Ladybugs make me smile when I see them. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories.

Enjoy a Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Art!

Free Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide

Did you enjoy this ladybug homeschool nature study? Join us for our Outdoor Hour Challenges bringing The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool! Download your copy here.

If you enjoyed this homeschool nature study, we invite you to join Homeschool Nature Study membership for year round nature study!

published by Barb, May 2008 and updated by Tricia April 2022

Ladybug Homeschool Nature Study
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Insects – Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

Field Guides I have Used With My Family

Please note the above links are Amazon affiliate links to books I own and love!

Outdoor Hour Challenge Insect Nature Study Challenges Index @handbookofnaturestudy
NOTE: If the challenge is included an ebook, it is noted directly after the challenge. If you have an Ultimate Membership, you will be able to pull up the ebook and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your nature study.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

Ants – Spring ebook



Black Swallowtail – Spring Nature Study Continues


Caddisfly and Caddis worm – Summer Nature Study Continues

Cockroach – Autumn 2015

Crickets – Summer ebook and another cricket study

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Fireflies – Summer ebook

Gall Dwellers – More Nature Study Winter

Grasshoppers – Summer ebook


Insect Printables

Insect Study with Bug’s Eye View Printable

Katydids – Summer ebook

Lacewing – Summer Nature Study Continues coming soon


Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers – More Nature Study Autumn

Monarch Butterfly – More Nature Study Summer

Moths – Summer ebook and another moth study

Mosquitoes – Summer ebook

Mud Daubers – More Nature Study Summer

Winter Insects – Winter Wednesday ebook

Yellow Jackets – More Nature Study Summer

Newsletters With a Insect Theme (If you have a membership, you have access to all archived newsletters.)
  • September 2012 – Insect study grid. Ant study. Lesson plans for insect and spider study.
  • April 2014 – Making a bug hotel.
  • June 2016 – Insect Wing Study notebook page. Insect nature study and nature journal ideas.
  • September 2016 – Insect home study ideas. Gall dweller nature study. Insect study grid. Insect coloring page.

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Wildside Update: Really Wild!

Here is an updated collage of photos from my “wildside”. There were lots of insects this time to observe and the different grasses are so diverse in their growing and the way they make seeds. Some are like velcro and some look almost like wheat. Some are red and some are green or almost yellow.

I am finding this project very satisfying.


Wildside June 2010

If you are interested, here are the other two posts in this series:

Wild Side #1
Wild Side #2

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #26 Ladybugs and Aphids

This week we will be taking time to read about and look for two different insects that seem to go hand in hand. I know in our garden if I see a ladybug, I will many times, if I look carefully, see some aphids too. Aphids are pretty small but if you get out your hand lens you may find you can see these insects in your flower garden. Look under the leaves.

“Aphids seem to be born to serve as food for other creatures-they are simply little machines for making sap into honeydew, which they produce from the alimentary canal for the delectation of ants; they are, in fact, merely little animated drops of sap on legs.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 352

Wow, that pretty much spells it out. I know that I have read somewhere that ants actually “farm” the aphids and “milk” them for food.

Here are some aphids that I photographed way back last fall. These are rose leaves from my yard and they were really eating them up.

Here are the same aphids above along with an ant so you can compare the size.

Ladybugs are always a welcome sight in our garden and I have learned over the years how beneficial they are.

“The ladybird is a beetle. Its young are very different from the adult in appearance, and feed upon plant lice.”

Have fun this week and remember your overall focus is on insects so if you don’t see any ladybugs and aphids, post your blog entry about what insects you did discover. I look at these challenges as a way to make a community of families who are interested in nature. We all learn from each other. Believe it or not, I feel as if I learn just as much from all your posts as I do from doing the research to come up with the challenges.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #26
Focus on Insects-Ladybugs and Aphids

1. This week read about ladybugs and aphids in the Handbook of Nature Study, pages 364-366 and pages 351-354. Remember our focus right now is on insects so if you don’t find either of these insects to observe, you can always look for other insects to study. If you do your reading, you will be prepared when you next come across these insects.

You may be interested in reading my entry on Red Aphids. 

2. Your 15-20 minutes of outdoor time this week can be spent looking for insects. I know it is still very hot for most of us but if you get out early, even before breakfast, you might be able to enjoy the morning air and a few insects too.

3. Give the opportunity for a nature journal entry. If you need ideas for alternative nature journal activities, please see challenge 2 and challenge 3. You might want to draw the ladybug life cycle or show how ants benefit from aphids by providing them with food. Encourage your child to draw something that interested them from your nature time. When my children were young, I considered a drawing, a date, and a label as a successful nature journal.

Make sure to pull out the Handbook of Nature Study to see if any insects you find are listed and you can read more about it there. If you are keeping a running list of insects you have observed during this focus period, add the insect’s name to the list.