Posted on Leave a comment

7 Tips for Homeschool Nature Study at a Creek

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Seven tips for homeschool nature study at a creek

  1. If it’s well-shaded, go on a hot day. It’s amazing to see the temperature drop when you start wading. God’s air-conditioning. 😉
  2. Grab a friend or a cousin to go with you! You never know what they will find, too!
  3. Take your time. There is always so much to see in this environment, but sometimes you have to take a little more time to look closely.
  4. Bring along a net and a bucket to help you catch water creatures and observe them more closely.
  5. Don’t forget to gently release the animals where you found them! (Did you see how fast that stick bug disappeared when we let him go?!)
  6. Check the shoreline for insects and other animals that like to live near a creek.
  7. Keep going back to the same spot every once in a while! It’s so fun to see the changing seasons in one place, and learn what you’ll find there at different times of the year.

by Amy Law

A Year Long Brook Homeschool Nature Study

November (or any time of year) is a lovely time to begin a year long study of a creek or brook. We hope that you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and family. After all that preparation and fun, a gentle walk beside your local creek or brook might be in order.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Everything you need to guide you through starting a year long homeschool nature study on your local brook or stream can be found for our members in the November Outdoor Hour Challenges post. Let’s not waste anymore time, bundle up and let’s get outdoors!

While you are at it, Celebrate National Hiking Day in November!

Support For Your 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.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

What’s In Your November World?

What’s In Your November World?

It’s easy to dismiss the November world as cold and dark, even barren. But I guarantee that if you take a short walk outside with your children, you’ll realize there are still plenty of things to capture your attention. deschutes river nov 2021 (2)

We took a hike this past weekend and it actually snowed on us during our adventure. Even then, we were able to hear a flock of grosbeaks up in the treetops, see colorful lichen on the trees, and some amazing mushrooms pushing their way up out of the ground.

deschutes river nov 2021 (1)

The deciduous trees here are fairly leafless already, but there was an abundance of leaves on the ground that we could stop and observe. I put a couple of leaves in my pocket so I could paint them in my nature journal once we arrived home.

I admit that it was cold, and the weather wasn’t the most inviting. We could have easily not taken our hike. Am I glad we made the effort? Yes!

Here’s my suggestion for you this month:

Push yourself to get outside and take note of your own November world. Even if you only get out for a few minutes, you’ll more than likely find something to note in your nature journal.

Please see the link below for a more detailed challenge for November. There’s even a printable notebook page for you to use with your family.


Outdoor Hour Challenge November World Observations

You can read the original Outdoor Hour Challenge here: November World.


Printable: November World – Know Your Own Backyard Notebook Page

Posted on Leave a comment

Outdoor Hour Challenge – November World 2017


Outdoor Hour Challenge November World Observations

Outdoor Hour Challenge

November World Observations 2017

From the Archives and the Autumn 2010 ebook

Before the whole month of November slips away, let’s make time to observe what nature is doing at this time of year. Start off by completing the reading of pages 1 and 2 in the Handbook of Nature Study as a refresher. Take a few minutes to think about how keeping a regular nature study period each week has benefited your family. Ask your children what they have learned so far this autumn season about the birds, insects, and plants in your neighborhood. This may give you encouragement to keep participating in the Outdoor Hour Challenge as the weather turns colder and wetter.

Use the ideas in this challenge to get outside and find something of interest to note about your November World. Complete the notebook page in the ebook, from the linked challenge, or create a page in your own blank journal.

November is such a month of change and transition…don’t miss getting outside to view it for yourselves!


Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudyUse the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership!

 Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Posted on 2 Comments

Moss and Poppies: Living in the Cracks

I love carrying my little point and shoot camera with me when I walk. If something grabs my attention, I can seize the opportunity to capture the moment.

This morning the sun was shining, although the air was crisp. I was the only one out and about the neighborhood. I love that.

We live near a school and a few summers ago they built a sidewalk to nowhere. There really is no rhyme or reason to where it starts and ends. As puzzling as this sidewalk is, it allows me to walk with Kona any time I want without worrying that my shoes will get muddy. We take the brisk walk on the cement down the street to where the sidewalk dead-ends and then we turn around and come back. I have decided they built this sidewalk for me since I rarely see anyone walking on it at any time of the day.

Sidewalk to Nowhere and oaks
Here is the view at our turn around spot. There is a busy road here but the view is pretty with mostly oaks but also a nice mix of conifers.

Creek and Blackberries and thistles
The creek that runs here seasonally is covered in blackberries. I snapped this photo and then realized that there are thistles down here as well! I have my own little thistle patch within walking distance of my front door. You know I will be following their progress throughout the winter and then into spring.

We arrived back at the house in a much better mood than we started out…funny how that always happens no matter how short the walk. I took Kona off the leash and she did what she loves to do….run up to the deck to sit in the sun. I actually took a minute to notice that we have a welcome addition to the remodeled frontyard.

Moss Between the Pavers
We didn’t plan for this to happen but it is a great touch to our new paver walkway. Moss is growing in the cracks. I have always wanted a walkway with moss between the bricks. Thanks moss for inviting yourself!

Poppies in the Cracks
Not only moss but on closer inspection I noticed that there are California poppies emerging from between the cracks as well. I am going to leave them and see what happens as the winter progresses. We planted a scatter garden last fall and these must be volunteers from that batch.

Moss and Sage on My Rock
One last image for you: Here is one of the decorative rocks in our front garden with a bit of moss growing. But, isn’t it pretty with the sage blossoms that have fallen there…love the mix of color. My favorite combination of purple and green.

Another terrific day to be outside enjoying all the bounteous gifts to be seen. Now to make a cup of something warm to heat up these cold hands. Tea or coffee?

Posted on 3 Comments

November World Outdoor Hour Challenge 2011

Fall Leaves on our Nature Shelf
Just cannot get enough of the fall leaves this year.

Since the official autumn nature study challenges are completed, this week you can pick and choose what topic you want to focus on in your family this week. If you weather is still agreeable, make sure to at least get outdoors for some fresh air and to explore your November World. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Use the grid and bookmark list from the November Outdoor Hour Challenge Newsletter to spend some time outside in your November world. (It is not too late to subscribe to my blog to receive the link in the footer of the next blog entry email. See the sidebar of my blog to subscribe.) Share your entry with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.
  2. Go back through the More Nature Study series of challenges to see if you completed them all. Have this be your make up week and share your entry with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.
  3. Advanced study: Look at the night sky this week looking at the moon and Jupiter.

More Nature Study Button