In Outdoor Hour Challenge #4, you picked a focus area for your nature study by examining your child’s interests. This week in Challenge #5 you can create a list of potential topics to look for and investigate within your focus area. Click the archive link above for more information.
Use the summer months to focus on one area of nature study as a family. Be creative and think of as many ways as you can to learn more about your chosen topic. Brainstorm a list of ideas to put into your nature journal and then check them off as you accomplish them.
Outdoor Hour Challenge Time
If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #5 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead.
The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.
Outdoor Hour Challenge: For this challenge, I encourage you to start a life list of birds. A bird life list is a cumulative list of birds that a birder sees and identifies.There are a variety of ways to do a life list including a handwritten list in your nature journal, using a pre-made book, checking off birds and noting the dates in your field guide or from a checklist, keeping an online list at eBird, or using an app on your phone.
Don’t get stuck on picking the “perfect” way to keep your list. Review the choices and then get started. My only regret is that I did not start my personal life list sooner.
I have found that I like to keep multiple lists including one for our yard and neighborhood (by month), by location when you travel (like my Oregon and Yosemite lists), and perhaps even lists by the month or season. You can see my entry on Nature Journal Organization for more information.
You can also start a bird “wish list” and keep track of birds you would like to see in the future. This is especially helpful if you are traveling and can do some preparation before you leave noting the birds you may encounter.
Special Activity:Life List Printable
Bird Life List Printable
I have attempted to create a Life List Printable that will be flexible for you to use in your nature notebook. I am in the process of testing it out in my everyday bird sightings.
Your list can be as detailed as you wish.
Things to include: Date and Time of Day. Location. Gender. Weather. Bird Sounds. Number of birds seen.
Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #5.I love the quotes in this challenge from Charlotte Mason. Remind yourself that you are the key to a successful outing and follow your child’s lead as much as possible. After your outdoor time, start or add to your running list of birds you see in your backyard. You can use the notebook page from the ebook for further information.
Outdoor Hour Challenge:
This is our last mammal challenge of the month. For this challenge, you can start a life list of mammals using the running list notebook page in my freebie section. Print the page and insert it into your nature journal. Start recording every mammal you observe and keep the list going as long as possible. Printable Notebook Page My Mammal List: You can use this printable page instead of the running list notebook page if you wish to keep your mammal list by season. Reprint this page for every season and then compare your lists.
Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, the challenge this week is the same as Outdoor Hour Challenge #5. This challenge in the ebook gives you some ideas for lists for your nature journal and a printable notebook page to use if you would like.
This week we walked the same trail to view our ferns. We tried to remember how many ferns there were back in January and there seems to be more ferns now and they are larger. Comparing photos I think we are correct.
Magnificent ferns on our hiking trail.
I was interested in the Western sword fern but Mr. B was interested in the California Maidenhair fern. Both are plants that we have looked at closely before. The Maidenhair fern is interesting because it has a black stem and looks like lace…sometimes you have to look twice because you think the green parts are floating in air but really they are attached with delicate black stems.
We had a field guide to consult and to glean a few new facts from. Mr. B did a nature journal page for the California Maidenhair fern from our hiking trail. He thought the stalk was a purple/black…I will have to look closer the next time we hike down the trail.
California Maidenhair Fern – March 2010 (Best photo I have that shows the stalk.)
Now do you want to see some of our California wildflowers from further up the trail? We were busy this time stopping and noting all the colorful flowers there are right now.
This is a colorful time of year in our part of the world.
I am keeping a running list of wildflowers seen on this particular trail for the whole year of 2012.
Keeping a list…nothing fancy about this page in my journal.
I just add to my list in my nature journal when we get back from our hike. It is interesting to see the patterns and successions of blooms.
Making fern prints with ink. See link below.
We will be revisiting ferns again this summer as we visit several spots in California that have ferns. I think it will be fun to add to our collection of fern prints that we started back in January.
It is not too late to join in with your own fern nature study….. If you own the More Nature Study Book #3 for spring, there are plenty of simple ideas to glean more information about your local ferns or prepare for the future when you may encounter ferns during your travels.
I am linking up to a new to me monthly meme at The Homeschool Scientist. Click over and join in.
We have quite a list of subjects from out Field Notebook Listto study over the next month or so. The last Autumn Series Challenge was a great way to wind up our autumn nature study and the reading reminded me of some important thoughts from Anna Botsford Comstock.
Here is our narrowed down list:
1. Wild geese – We have never studied the Canadian Geese that fly overhead and make their home in the pond and lake near-by. (section in the Handbook of Nature Study)
2. Sequoia tree – We have a sequoia tree in our yard and we have never done a complete study of it and it is high time we do so. (not in the Handbook of Nature Study)
3. Ferns -we know of at least two different ferns on our walking trail and we would like to identify and then sketch them into our nature journals. (included in the HNS)
4. Mullein – We allowed our mullein to grow in the flower bed this summer and it is very, very tall. In fact, it is still blooming in November! It will be interesting to use the Handbook of Nature Study to learn more about this plant that grows naturally in our backyard.
I think that should give us ample material to fill in on those days we cannot go outdoors for our nature study.
I thought with this last of the Autumn Series Challenges we could go back to the basics. Similar to Outdoor Hour Challenge #1, you will be reading a section of the introductory pages to the Handbook of Nature Study to refresh your minds about the basic ideas of nature study.
Keep a running list on a Field Notebook List of any topics for additional nature study during the winter months. When winter weather has set in and you are not able to go outdoors or your children are just getting over the flu, you don’t want to take them outdoors. Pull out the list you made in this challenge and take the opportunity to research and study something from your list.
I did this winter work last year with my wildflower photos. I spent cold winter evenings with my photos, my nature journal, and a field guide completing journal entries from the summer before. What an enjoyable experience!
Outdoor Hour Challenge Autumn Series #10
Field Notebook List
Read pages 1-8 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Even if you have read it recently, skim through it again to refresh your mind and heart.
“It is rejuvenation for the teacher, thus growing old, to stand ignorant as a child in the presence of one of the simplest of nature’s miracles-the formation of a crystal, the evolution of the butterfly from the caterpillar, the exquisite adjustment of the silken lines in the spider’s orb web.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 4
Spend your 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor time exploring your own backyard or the street you live on. Follow your child’s lead and try to see your yard through their eyes. You might like to take along this week’s Field Notebook List notebook pageon a clipboard and record any items of interest you find. Remember that you are not going to try to research and study everything on your list this week, but you will keep the list for future indoor nature study times over the coming winter.
If you filled in your notebook page during your Outdoor Time, pick something from the list to discuss with your child. Do they need help identifying the object? Would they like to complete a nature journal entry for the object? Remember my formula for a simple journal entry is to make a simple sketch, a label, and a date.
Now would be the time to record your list if you did not do so during your Outdoor Time. Keep it simple and fun. If your child can only think of one thing to put on the list, do it with enthusiasm. Most children will be able to think of at least two or three things to record and one of those things can be this week’s subject for nature study. Remember the most important part of any challenge is to get outside and everything else is just icing on the cake.
Outdoor Hour Challenge #5 Making a List 1. Have you decided on a focus area yet?
If you have a focus already, turn to the table of contents in the Handbook of Nature Study and skim down to your area of focus. Look down the list of subjects covered in your area. Highlight or underline those items listed that you think you will encounter during the next five to seven weeks. For example if your area of focus is garden flowers, skim down the list and see if you recognize any flower names that you have in your backyard or area. I actually see ten flowers that our family may come in contact with in our region. Pick one item in your focus area to study, turn to those pages, and read to your child about that subject. At the end of each section, there are observation ideas for each subject and these observation suggestions will be the parent’s reading assignment this week.(see below) As you find things in your focus area, keep a running list in the front or back of your nature journal of those items.
Reading Assignment for parents: Read the observation suggestions in the Handbook of Nature Study for the item you chose to read about with your child. Keep these ideas in mind as you have your outdoor time this week. For example, if you are focusing on garden flowers and you are going to read to your child about tulips, turn to the end of the section on tulips and read Lesson 151 which includes eight suggestions for observation. Keep these ideas in mind as you head out for your nature walk.
2. During your 10-15 minute walk, use your senses to not only observe but to hear the sounds of your surroundings.
“ …the mother must not miss this opportunity of being outdoors to train the children to have seeing eyes, hearing ears and seeds of truth deposited into their minds to grow and blossom on their own in the secret chambers of their imaginations” “No reading aloud or storytelling–in fact, there should be as little talking from her (mother) as possible, and what little there is should have a definite purpose.” Charlotte Mason volume one, page 45
3. Follow up with a discussion. Did you see anything new to add to your list of focus items? Did you complete any of the suggested observations? Do you need to do any further research to answer questions?
4. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. Try to encourage a simple drawing, a label, and a date. Pull out the previous challenges and review the alternatives for younger children.
The main idea of this challenge is to start a list of things you find within your focus area. You can use paper clips to fasten a list into the front of your nature journal. The list can be removed when you change your focus and it can be taped or glued into your nature journal on any page you choose.
The list can be simply the names of the items or you can add the dates you observed them and the location if you want to be more thorough. Sometimes my whole nature journal entry is just a list of things that I see on a particular outing.
The beauty of a nature journal is that it is yours to do with as you want to. I hope to give you a lot of ideas that you can choose from over the coming challenges.
This challenge is found in the Getting Started ebook which is included in every level of membership. The ebook provides the challenge as shown above as well as custom notebook pages for your follow up nature journal if desired.
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