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Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling for Your Homeschool

I have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool. <<<<< This book is going to help me in my journaling and drawing skills immensely.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

This review includes Amazon.com affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling – Review

I finally received The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws from our public library and it has taken a few weeks to get through an initial read through of this detailed and thorough book. My first reaction was one of happy surprise.

I would have been happy with this book just being a helpful “how to” sort of book with suggestions and hints for getting started with drawing in my nature journal. It was much more than I expected! The sections at the beginning of the book were a delight as they unfolded many ideas and insightful help in the philosophy and methodology behind nature journaling. Laws reminds us that careful and thoughtful observations should be the backbone of our nature study.

“Copying the journaling approaches of others will not reduce your own creativity or make you a clone of another person. You will incorporate what you find useful into your own style and discard what does not work for you.” John Muir Laws (page 63)

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is full of inspiring illustrations that are not just in the book to be pretty. He breaks his example pages down to show how we can use the ideas and patterns in our own journals.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

 

There are many, many specific drawing tutorials for everyday subjects you may encounter in your nature travels like frogs, flowers, trees, birds, and so much more. This section of the book could be the basis for a complete course in nature journaling. If my children were still homeschooling, my brain would be organizing the material so we could work through it methodically.

“Before you pick up your journal again, reform your intentions; let go of the goal of making a pretty picture. You don’t have to be good at drawing to discover amazing things through the process of journaling. John Muir Laws (page 86)

One of my favorite sections in this book is the two page spread that is titled, “A Road Map from Wishes to Practice”. On these two pages, John Muir Laws puts into words so much of what I try to encourage my blog readers to remember about journaling – everyone can draw with practice!

Use This Book to Bump Your Journaling Skills to the Next Level

If you are new to drawing or feel you don’t have a gift for drawing, this book is going to be a perfect bridge for you to get from where you are to the next level. It has specific step by step tutorials that will give you the confidence to start a practice of journaling. The author gives us all encouragement that we can take our skills to the next level with lots of practice and we will only fail if we give up or don’t try!

I highly recommend The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. I am going to be purchasing it to help me in my nature goal for 2017 to create a nature journal page each week. It will be a very beloved and well used book that I will keep in my personal nature reference library. I may be purchasing a few as gifts to share with some young friends I know that love nature and drawing.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

Additional Thoughts

  • If you read this book, don’t miss the first 17 pages. There are some fundamental ideas found there that I truly think will shape my thinking about science and nature study for a long time to come. He has gathered some important ideas on these pages and I would hate to think you are going to skip them to get to the drawing tutorials.
  • He suggests using the prompts I notice, I wonder, and It reminds me of to help us go a little deeper in our nature journaling.
  • There are project ideas that help you get started as you face a blank page. Check out pages 20 and 21.
  • Although this book is written by someone who lives on the west coast of the United States, the ideas and tutorials are applicable to anyone no matter where you live.
  • There is a comprehensive supplies list with specific suggestions that I found extremely helpful. I am a firm believer that having quality materials and a variety of media to choose from makes all the difference in your results.
  • Not only does he have a list of supplies, he has pages dedicated to showing you exactly how to use the pencils, pens, colored pencils, gouche, watercolors, and watercolor pencils in your nature journal, including some common mistakes beginners make using the materials. Helpful!
  • If you have never checked out the author’s website, you NEED to: John Muir Laws.

Look for this book at your public library or put it on your Amazon wishlist!

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

first published 2017

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“Last Child In The Woods” – Encouragement for Homeschooling Parents

A book can transform your thinking completely or it can validate what you have experienced in your own life.  Some books do both, like Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. This is a must read book for all homeschool families who are endeavoring to expose their children to the natural world on a regular basis.

Note: affiliate links are included.

Last Child in the Woods

“There is a real world, beyond the glass, for children who look, for those whose parents encourage them to truly see.”

Richard Louv

We all know he is right. Children are just not getting outside for free play and even sadder they are not even wanting to be outdoors anymore. Sometimes the parent is too afraid to allow them the freedom to roam outside or sometimes it is the lack of availability of an appropriate outdoor space that is the cause. Either way, it is a sad world when children are living indoors most of their days.

Last Child In The Woods gives solid reasons and then practical ideas for restoring this nature play time for our children. Also, there is a section that talks about children that perhaps have the “eighth intelligence” which is the child whose learning style is that of a Naturalist type. Louv lists descriptions of children that have this specific learning style which you may find helpful in understanding just how to help your child with this type of intelligence.

Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

I will list a few teaser points from the book that I have highlighted in my copy of the book that I think apply to what we do here at Homeschool Nature Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

“…during the nineteenth century, nature study, as it was called, dominated elementary school science teaching. Now that nature study has been largely shoved aside by the technological advances of the twentieth century, an increasing number of educators have come to believe that technically oriented, textbook-based science education is failing.”

“By expressing interest or even awe at the march of ants across these elfin forests, we send our children a message that will last for decades to come, perhaps even extend generation to generation.”

Homeschool Nature Study For Your Family

This book is a perfect complement to reading in the Handbook of Nature Study. I think Anna Botsford Comstock would have felt the need to write just this sort of book if she lived in our modern age. The principles are the same, the message embraced in everything Anna Botsford Comstock created: Get children outdoors looking at the world around them.

I highly recommend that you look for this book at your local public library and then read it.

I invite you to read and have your thinking transformed, creating in you the need to spend time outside with your children.

 

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Handbook of Nature Study Review of New Edition

Looking for a Handbook of Nature Study review? Wondering about the new edition of the Handbook of Nature Study by Living Book Press? Here is my full review and what I recommend for homeschool nature study families.

Here is a Handbook of Nature Study review of the new edition by Living Book Press  with honest recommendations for homeschool nature study families.

Handbook of Nature Study Review of New Edition

I recently wrote a review of the new Living Book Press edition of the Handbook of Nature Study.

I’ve used the Handbook of Nature Study for decades. To say that I love this book, would be an understatement. It has taken me on the journey of a lifetime and sparked my love and passion for all things found in the natural world. When I learned there was a new version of this classic book with full color images, I was excited.

Living Books Press has created a seven volume series of paperback books that take the original content of the Handbook of Nature Study written by Anna Botsford Comstock and updated the black and white images with full color images for every topic in the book.

I recently wrote a thorough review of this series over on The Curriculum Choice

You can read that review here: Living Books Press – Handbook of Nature Study.

I would love for you to click over and read that review.

Here is a Handbook of Nature Study review of the new edition by Living Book Press  with honest recommendations for homeschool nature study families.

Just in case you want the bottom line…..

  • I don’t recommend these volumes for my Outdoor Hour Challenge families. The price is what holds me back from giving them a thumbs up. At almost $100 for all the volumes, the investment is just not worth the benefits of having smaller books and colored images.
  • I would rather you purchase the version recommended for years here on the Handbook of Nature Study blog (cost is less than $30). Then, take the additional money and purchase some field guides to have as a supplement to the Handbook of Nature Study.
Review of The Handbook of Nature Study at The Curriculum Choice.

More Handbook of Nature Study Homeschool Help from The Curriculum Choice

The Handbook of Nature Study Book Here at Homeschool Nature Study

Which edition of the Handbook of Nature Study do you use? Where do you find The Handbook of Nature Study book?

The Handbook of Nature Study book by Anna Botsford Comstock is a staple in the Outdoor Hour Challenges we share. This is a wonderful reference guide for you, the homeschool teacher to use. We show you how, HERE!

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Cultivate the Habit of Reading Nature Books

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Week 12 – November 19, 2021

Cultivate the Habit of Reading Nature Books

Over the years, our family has built a nature themed library of our favorite and most useful resources. There are picture books featuring the natural world, fiction with a nature theme, and non-fiction reference and activity filled books. Even now with my children all grown and on their own, I use this nature library for my own benefit and enjoyment.

This entry is not intended to be an exhaustive list of nature books you could have in your home. Rather, it’s filled with possible selections and ideas you can adapt to your own personal tastes and habitat.

nature books library literature

Start Collecting Books ASAP

“Nature themed literature is a wonderful way to generate an interest in the natural world. These books can also be used to enhance an area of study by sharing information along with illustrations in a simple and non-threatening way. Children can usually sit still for a few minutes while you share a picture book and many times, they will later pick up the book again all on their own and really study it.”

This is a quote from a newsletter article I wrote and then shared on the blog. You can read the entire article here: Using the Public Library to Enhance Your Nature Study.  

The link above also includes a free printable Nature Book Report notebook page for you to use with your family.

Young Children – Create a Book Basket

Gathering seasonal or themed nature study books into a basket takes a few minutes of preparation but it can provide hours of enjoyment for your family.

Three Ways a Book Basket Facilitates Learning

(Read more in the January 2015 Newsletter found in the Archives)

¨ Introduces and allows familiarity to nature study topics: Make sure to read or page through any picture books in the basket at the beginning of the month. Demonstrate how to use field guides (or learn how to use them together with your children).

¨ Reference: If you choose books that fit into your monthly nature study themes, you can refer to the books in the basket as needed to support or go more in-depth as you work through your weekly topics.

¨ Allows for independent learning: Leaving the basket out at a level accessible to your children will allow them to study the books on their own during their free time.

Recommendations for Your Nature Library

The list below shares some of my favorite books from our family’s nature library. Please use this list as a starting point and then build upon it with books that capture the interest and locality of your family. Please see the August 2015 Newsletter found in the archives for more of my personal favorites, including field guides, children’s literature, reference books, and more.

Readers Digest North American Wildlife @handbookofnaturestudy

North American Wildlife: One of my all-time favorite books for nature study. This colorful edition will keep the interest of children of all ages.

Tracks, Scats, and Signs:  This is one of my favorite books for learning about signs of mammals. It is perfect for a winter mammal study! Look for printables available to Member’s in the Library.

Backyard Birds: This book is the basis for a whole series of bird nature study ideas. It’s a great beginner’s book on birds. Please note it is used extensively in my Learning About Birds ebook available to Members.

My Favorite Tree Nature Club Printables

My Favorite Tree: You will love having this book as part of your nature library. Learn more about so many interesting trees and use the resources in this entry to take your study deeper.

Birds, Nests, and Eggs: I am passionate about the study of birds and this reference is a great introduction to a bird study for children and families.

Discover Nature at Sundown book

Discover Nature at Sundown: This is one in a series of books that takes you into more advanced nature study around a specific theme. This book focuses on things you can study at sundown.

One Small Square: Seashore: Are you getting ready for a trip to the beach? This book will give you plenty of nature study observation ideas to try. I also highly recommend this whole series of One Small Square books for your nature library.

Pond Study Nature Club August 2018 @handbookofnaturestudy

Pond Life (Golden Series): We have used this book extensively in our own family’s pond studies. I hope you look for it at your library and enjoy its awesome illustrations and information. Members can download a pond habitat printable set from the Member’s Library.

America’s Prairies and Grasslands: This beautiful book is one in a series that I highly recommend.  Members can download a prairie habitat printable set from the Member’s Library.

 

Ultimate Naturalist Members:

Printables:

  • Nature Book Report notebook page

Newsletters :

  • March 2012 – Children’s Nature Literature
  • November 2013 – Nature Literature
  • January 2015 – Book Basket
  • August 2015 – Nature Library – If you’re at all interested in building a nature library, this is the newsletter that has the most detailed ideas and resources for you to use.

If you’re not a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study 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.

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Using Dover Coloring Books for Nature Study

Using Dover Coloring Books for Nature Study

Tips and a Review

Our family has used Dover Coloring Books for many years and we’ve built up quite a large library of books on a variety of topics. I know there are many new readers to the Handbook of Nature Study blog that might appreciate an introduction to these inexpensive resources and a few tips on how to use them in their homeschooling nature study.

Let’s start off by saying that coloring books can be used in many ways and with different learning styles.

dover coloring nature study (3)

Not all children enjoy coloring in a coloring book and I don’t blame them. It can be tedious to try to find the “right” colors to use or to keep the markers or crayons neatly within the bounds of the black lines. I had one child who no matter what you suggested would color every image his own way…quite the creative spirit.

dover coloring nature study (2)

On the other hand, many children find it comforting to not have to stare at a blank page when creating a nature journal page. They very happily complete the page with realistic colors using either markers, crayons, watercolors, or colored pencils.

Older students find it helpful to use the black line drawings in a coloring book as a starting point for creating their own drawings in their nature journals, using the coloring book drawings as a template for their own work.

However your family would like to use the Dover Coloring Books in your homeschool or nature study plan, you’ll be glad you purchased a few to have in your nature library. Creative and nature loving children will enjoy these as a complement to their own nature journal. We used these coloring books on the long, cold days of winter when we couldn’t get outside to explore.

 

dover coloring nature study (4)

Some of Our Favorite Dover Coloring Books –

Backyard Nature Coloring Book

A Walk in the Woods

Forest Animals

 

dover coloring nature study (1)

Small Animals of North America

Insects

Garden Flowers

Favorite Wildflowers

Herbs Coloring Book

Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to coloring books I’ve purchased and used in our family’s nature study lessons and the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Most of the ebooks found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library here on the Handbook of Nature Study website include images from the Dover Coloring Books. If you have a membership, look for them at the back of your ebooks.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

If you’d like to become a member, please click the graphic above to go to the Join Us page for more details on purchasing a membership today.

 

You may wish to click over and read more about our family’s experience with Dover Coloring Books.

Dover Coloring Books for Art Appreciation.

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Book Review- Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains

Natural History of the Pacific Northwest book review

It’s been awhile since I wrote a book review here on the Handbook of Nature Study. I try to share only the best of the books that make it to my home nature library shelf, the books I use all the time and LOVE. So, this book, Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains by Daniel Mathews, is just such a book! I use it as a reference when I return home from a hike and I’ve seen something that captured my interest.

Natural History of the Pacific Northwest table of contents

It covers all the basics: trees, shrubs, flowers, ferns, mosses, lichens, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, geology and even the climate. (The topics are even color coded as a quick way to flip to the right section.)

The images are full-color photographs which helps make identifying unknown subjects easier. There are also clear line drawings of additional information like the leaf shape and bud shape that make identifying plants a snap.

Oregon wildflowers collage

Since I’m new to this part of the world, I enjoy just paging through the book and digging in deeper where I find something of interest. I’m currently working on the wildflower section since it’s coming up on spring and summer blooming season. I digested the bird section this past winter as I listed in my nature journal the birds that visited my yard and on the river behind our house.

Natural History of the Pacific Northwest review

This review includes Amazon.com affiliate links.

I’m also enjoying this book because it’s more than a field guide. There are boxes that introduce people (that plants and animals are named for), boxes that explain fascinating additional information on things like animal sonar, torpor and hibernation, wing shapes, corkscrew trees, and so on. I love learning little tidbits along with my nature study and many of these facts make their way into my nature journal.

Note: My home is not specifically in the range that this book covers, but I still find it particularly useful since we many times travel to the range that is included: western Washington, southwestern British Columbia, and northwestern Oregon.

I give this book two thumbs up if you live or visit this part of the world…my neck of the woods. It’s a valuable part of my local nature study library shelf.

 

Nature Book Project 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

I’ve written quite a few book reviews in the past as part of my Nature Book Projects. You can find the selections from 2016 in the link below. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to see the entire list.

Nature Book Project 2016

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Nature Book Club – My Favorite Tree

 

 

My Favorite Tree Nature Club Printables

April Nature Book Club

My Favorite Tree

Trees Buds and Branches

I’m excited to participate again this month with the Nature Book Club group! I love trees and this month’s book selection is one that we have used in our family over the years. I still like to page through it and learn little tidbits about each of the trees.

This is an opportunity for you to join in with the club your own tree book entries by using the linky tool below to share your own tree related links this month too!

 

My Favorite Tree-Terrific Trees of North America by Diane Iverson is one of my all time favorite tree picture books for children of all ages. (Note this book is only available used on Amazon and this is my affiliate link) This book features trees native to Canada, Mexico, and the United States (including Hawaii). This is not a comprehensive field guide sort of book but it introduces a variety of trees from around North America along with interesting facts and much more.

FullSizeRender

¨ Tree Traits-excellent concise information on habitat, height, bark, leaves, flowers and seeds.

¨ Wild Companions-features a bird, mammal, or insect that makes use of the tree

¨ It’s a Fact-beyond the basic facts, this section shares fascinating historical and practical facts

¨ Hall of Fame-Location of the tallest or biggest specimen, state tree information and other “champion” information.

This is a book that would be a terrific addition to your nature study library if you live in North America.

My Favorite Tree Printables button

Download your copy here:  My Favorite Tree Printable Unit and Notebook Page

I have created a printable chart that coordinates the trees in the My Favorite Tree book with the Handbook of Nature Study lessons and then the corresponding Outdoor Hour Challenge. You can use this information to help you provide a more thorough tree study for many of the trees covered in the My Favorite Tree book.

There is also a custom designed notebooking page to use with each tree you learn about from the My Favorite Tree book. You can print this out as many times as you need to create a lovely record of your tree studies.

Additional Tree Study Idea

Year+Long+Tree+Study+2008+@handbookofnaturestudy.jpg

You may wish to start a year-long tree study, viewing a tree in all four seasons. Click over and read this blog entry for some simple ideas to get you started: For the Love of Trees.

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

Make sure to subscribe to my blog to follow along with all of the nature study ideas offered every week.

 

 

Link Up Guidelines

          • Choose an engaging nature book, do a craft or activity, and add your post to our monthly link up.
          • The link up party goes live at 9:00 a.m. EST on the 20th of each month and stays open until the last day of the month. Hurry to add your links!
          • You can link up to 3 posts. Please do not link up advertising posts, advertise other link up parties, your store, or non-related blog posts. They will be removed.
          • By linking up with us, you agree for us to share your images and give you credit of course if we feature posts.

         

              • See all the great posts from The Nature Book Club’s co-hosts in March:


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Winter Mammal Study – Tracks, Scat, and Signs

Tracks Scats and Signs Nature Book Club

It’s another month of nature book fun here on the Handbook of Nature Study. Last month we were learning about birds using the fantastic resource, Backyard Birds. This month I’m again joining with the same group of bloggers for another fun nature topic: small mammals!  We’ll all share a book and activities that go along with that theme.  You can use the links at the bottom of this post to see all of our books/activities.

 

Nature Book Club Mammals Feb 2018

Tracks, Scats, and Signs: So many people have this book on their shelf but have never actually used it for their nature study.  (It’s part of the Fun With Nature Take Along Guide as well!) I’m hoping to help you use the fantastic information in this book to get outside and look for some signs of animals in your yard and neighborhood.  Look for the book at your local library!

(Note there are affiliate links in this post)

Simple Idea for Using Tracks, Scats and Signs for Your Nature Study

  • Read the book Tracks, Scats and Signs with your family before you go on a nature walk. Keep it light and enjoy the words and illustrations, noting any animals you may have in your local area. Each topic in this book shows an illustration of the tracks and the scat that each animal makes so you know what to look for during your outdoor time.  You will need to explain the word “scat” to younger children; expect giggles as they realize it’s just a fancy word for animal poop. Along with each selection, there’s a short description of where to look for each animal and a little bit about their behavior.

 

tracks in the snow

 

  • Take a nature walk looking for tracks, scat, and signs. We were always excited when we found animal tracks in the snow, mud, or ice!  Take photos of any animal tracks you find as you explore.  You may wish to bring along a ruler to measure the size of the animal tracks you find for future reference.  Take a few minutes to use your imagination about who made the tracks and what they were doing.
  • When you get back home, make a nature journal entry recording any observations you have from your nature walk. I have used the illustrations in the Tracks, Scats, and Signs book to help me draw the tracks and scat into my own nature journal.

elk scat

I’ve written a few Outdoor Hour Challenges that you could use along with the Tracks, Scats and Signs book.

  • Winter Mammal Tracks: Use the idea during the winter months to learn more about the animal tracks you observe during your outdoor time.
  • Signs of Mammals: We’ve found in our family that many times we don’t actually see small mammals but we observe signs of them during our outdoor time. This challenge helps you do some research about signs you find and then make a nature journal entry.

Tracks Mammal Activity

Look for these additional books at your library:  Track Finder by Dorcas Miller and   Whose Tracks are These? by Jim Nail.

Winter Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy

I’m hoping you will consider using my Winter Nature Study ebook with your family in the future. There are many more winter nature study ideas for you to include with your outdoor time each week during the cold winter months.

NOTE: There are ebooks for each season here on the Handbook of Nature Study. You can find a complete list of the ebooks in my library here: Join Us! Right now I’m offering a $5 discount for every level of membership. Use the discount code OHC10 at checkout.

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

Make sure to subscribe to my blog to follow along with those mammal-related nature study activities.

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Backyard Birds – Learning about Black and White Birds

 Nature Book Club Backyard Birds Jan 2018

 

This post is the first in a monthly series of posts I will be writing as part of a fantastic group of women who I’m linking up with on the 20th of each month. There is a topic of the month and we will all share a book and activity that goes along with that theme.  You can use the links at the bottom of this post to see all of our books/activities. Use the linky tool below to share your own bird related links this month too!

Nature Book Club January Birds

Backyard Birds!

One of my great joys in life has been observing my backyard birds. When we moved from California to Oregon, one of the first things I requested of my husband was to put up all our birdfeeders. I could hardly wait to see who would visit in this new habitat!

We started watching our own backyard birds many years ago when my children were all still homeschooling. The boys created birdfeeders to put up right outside the window so we could look for birds while we were working on our school activities. At first we didn’t know very many of the bird’s names, but using a field guide over several years we were able to correctly identify about a dozen birds. The habit of bird watching has continued even into their adult years and I like to think that starting them young was a motivating factor for their love of birds.

A Valuable Addition to Your Nature Library

(Note there are affiliate links in this post)

One of the books we had on our windowsill was the Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists – Backyard Birds (written by Jonathan P. Latimer ISBN 9780395922767). It was simple to page through and use as a way to familiarize ourselves with many of the most frequently seen birds in North America. The book is organized by color of bird and is beautifully illustrated. It’s a wonderful supplement to any bird nature study activity or even as an additional resource for a study of flying creatures. It has always had a special spot in our nature book library.

It’s a valuable first bird guide for your children and it will lead you right into a more thorough field guide as your skills improve and you become more engrossed in identifying every bird that visits your feeder.

Backyard Bird Activity

 

Black and White Birds Nature study @handbookofnature

Black and White Birds Nature Study Using the Backyard Birds Book

Would you like to see an idea for using this book with your own backyard birds?

Black and White Birds and Bird Feet: – Click Here!

Use this activity (see step #3 in the challenge for the reference to the Backyard Birds book) to learn more about the chickadee, nuthatch, and woodpecker. I have included lots of links and ideas for you to use with your family.

 

Learning About Birds 3D cover

I have written a whole series of bird related nature study challenges that go along with the Backyard Birds book. You will find the details here: Learning About Birds with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Make sure to scroll down on the page and find the link to the sample for this ebook.

You can find this book in both the Ultimate and Journey level memberships on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

Please note we will be working through all of the Outdoor Hour Challenges in the Learning About Birds ebook starting on March 2, 2018. Make sure to subscribe to my blog to follow along with those bird-related nature study activities.

Link Up Guidelines

      • Choose an engaging nature book, do a craft or activity, and add your post to our monthly link up.
      • The link up party goes live at 9:00 a.m. EST on the 20th of each month and stays open until the last day of the month. Hurry to add your links!
      • You can link up to 3 posts. Please do not link up advertising posts, advertise other link up parties, your store, or non-related blog posts. They will be removed.
      • By linking up with us, you agree for us to share your images and give you credit of course if we feature posts.
The Nature Book ClubThis post is the first in a monthly series of posts I will be writing as part of a fantastic group of women who I’m linking up with on the 20th of each month. There is a topic of the month and we will all share a book and activity that goes along with that theme.  You can use the link below to see all of our posts and you’ll be able to add your links as well.


The Nature Book Club is brought to you by the nature loving bloggers and your cohosts! Be sure to follow them.

Here are the bloggers, their choices of books, and activities for the month.

The Nature Book Club 2018 Topics

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The Nature Handbook – Book Review

The Nature Handbook Review on   Handbookofnaturestudy.com

Nature Book Project 2016

This review includes Amazon.com affiliate links.

The book of the month is the The Nature Handbook by Ernest H. Williams, Jr. (ISBN: 9780195171945). This is book number seven in my Nature Book Project for 2016. It is a little heavier reading then most of the books I picked this year so I haven’t actually finished it yet but I will. The purpose of this book is to share the patterns and relationships in nature and not particular species like a field guide. It is organized into three main topics: Plants, Animals, and Habitats. Within these topics, it strives to show patterns that we can look for and learn from as we complete our nature study.

Many people ask me if I have suggestions for a more advanced “naturalist” course for high schoolers. This book is definitely a contender for that purpose.

The Nature Handbook Forest Wildflowers @handbookofnaturestudy
These early spring forest wildflowers demonstrate one of the patterns spoken about in The Nature Handbook.

Something I Really Enjoy About This Book

I am a very visual learner when it comes to nature study. Observing things up close and then reading about them with a guide or book that has clear large images is the way I learn the best. The Nature Handbook has over 500 color photos to supplement the easy to read text. Each time I sit down to use this book, I learn something new!

For instance, in the section on Forest Wildflowers (section 1.6), he explains that wildflowers must bloom before the forest canopy closes in with leaves above. This allows for sufficient moisture and high sunlight intensity through the leafless trees above. Reading this section of the book and reasoning on his words has helped me to understand the forest habitat more deeply. It makes my forest hikes in the spring now more meaningful.

Additional Features:

  • Over 200 specific patterns are discussed in this book! The topics could easily supplement any other nature study subjects you are learning about and works well with more advanced or older students.
  • The index is thorough and makes looking up a particular topic easy.
  • The images are labeled clearly and both common and scientific names are provided.
  • Short sections that would be easy to use for nature narrations for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.

This is a book I will continue to read and use alongside the Handbook of Nature Study and my field guides for my own education as the years go by.

Just a note: This book is a little more expensive than most of the books I review. I do recommend it to my readers (especially as a nature library reference) but I think you should look for it at your library or purchase it used on Amazon.com.

This book is part of my Nature Book Project for 2016.

Nature Book Project 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

Note some of the links below are Amazon.com affiliate links.

January- Discover Nature Close to Home

February-A Place for Birds and A Place for Butterflies

March- A Crow Doesn’t Need A Shadow

April- The Practical Naturalist

May- Break month.

June-Botany in a Day

July- Rockhounding Nevada (postponed)

August- Break month.

September- The 10 Best of Everything National Parks

October- The Nature Handbook

November- Bringing Nature Home (postponed)

December- Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling