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How to Build a Habit of Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Here is how to build a habit of nature study in your homeschool if you struggling with where to start. And if you have wanted to ease into a study of nature that is meaningful, but you get overwhelmed with all the programs and methods, we have the simple answer. Have fun and make memories together with these ideas.

Here is how to build a habit of nature study in your homeschool if you struggling with where to start and are overwhelmed with all the programs and methods.

Take it One Thing at a Time – Slowly Build a Habit of Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Adults should realize that the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit.”

Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume 1, page 61

Here is a simple suggestion that has worked for many families over the years. Study:

  • one tree
  • one bird
  • and one flower

per homeschool school year

Slowly, gradually, gently….it works. This way of structuring a bare bones nature study keeps the pressure off families just starting out with a pursuit of regular nature study. Working through the study of one subject at a time will help build your confidence and knowledge in a way that is not overwhelming.

It is sustainable over the years. In my family, I have seen the study of nature that is closest at hand build a love of things that seem common but on closer inspection, they are rather remarkable. Dandelions and oak trees spring to mind as examples of studies we did and gained a new appreciation for their design and beauty.

You can apply this idea to any areas of nature study that you wish. You could add an insect or a mammal each year. Or you can try a reptile or a fungus or a constellation. The beauty of this method of easing into nature study with your children is that you can follow their interests.

As a way of introduction to this method, I will share some ideas for a tree, a bird, and a wildflower.

Here is how to build a habit of nature study in your homeschool if you struggling with where to start and are overwhelmed with all the programs and methods.

Your Homeschool Nature Study Tree Project

Take it slowly.

Find one tree in your yard that you can study for a whole term to build the habit of nature study. If you observe and identify one tree per year, over the course of your child’s education, you will have learned about 12 different trees…I don’t know about you but I have a hard time just listing 12 trees by name so if your child becomes acquainted with 12 trees, they are far better off than many of us.

If you have built the habit of getting outside with your children, you’ve no doubt encountered a tree of interest. Start there! No matter the time of year, you will have plenty to observe.

Trees outdoor hour homeschool curriculum
  • Pine Trees and Their Cones
  • Members: enjoy a 4 Seasons Tree Study with a project with the included printable: 4 Seasons Tree Photo Project.

Learning About Birds in Your Homeschool

Now try the same thing with birds for your habit of nature study.

“If we are teaching the science of ornithology (study of birds), we take first the [robin], then the swimming and scratching birds, and finally reach the songbirds, studying each as a part of the whole. Nature study begins with the robin because the child sees it and is interested in it, and notes the things about the habits and appearance of the robin that may be perceived by intimate observation……the next bird studied may be the turkey in the barnyard, or the duck on the pond, or the screech owl in the spruces, if any of these happen to impinge upon his notice and interest.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 5

The particular bird that you start with in your nature study should be the one that you have noticed and is common in your neighborhood or yard. Anna Botsford Comstock was a promoter of the idea that children should be able to directly observe their nature study subjects.

Learning about birds in your homeschool

So, for your family habit of nature study, start with the most common bird you see. Look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study, look for the Outdoor Hour Challenge that corresponds with that bird, or simply use your field guide.

You can move on to the next bird when you are satisfied with your study.

More bird nature studies:

How to Pick a Wildflower for Your Nature Study

“They should be able to describe the shape, size and placements of their leaves and whether the flowers have a single blossom or a head of them. When they know the flower so well that they could recognize it anywhere, they should take a look at the area it grew in so they’ll know what kind of terrain to look for it again in the future…If any mother lacks a knowledge of plants, a good field guide will be indispensable, especially if she can find one that includes little facts and fun things about the plants.”

Charlotte Mason in Plain English, Volume 1, page 52

Learning the names of wildflowers is a lifelong activity that brings such joy. Children love learning the common names of flowers and I found that once my kids knew a name of a flower, they respected it more for its special uses for all living creatures. You can keep it very simple or you can use the suggestions below to go a little deeper with each wildflower you observe.

Here is how to build a habit of nature study in your homeschool if you struggling with where to start and are overwhelmed with all the programs and methods.

Elements of a Grand Study of Wildflowers

Your child should be able to:

  1. Describe the shape, size, and placement of the leaves.
  2. Note whether there is a single blossom or a head of flowers.
  3. Observe the flower and its habitat so well that it can be recognized in any location in the future.
  4. Use a field guide to learn about the wildflower (with help from a parent if needed).
  5. Collect, press, and make a record of the flower’s habitat and location.
  6. Optional: Make a watercolor of the flower or the whole plant.
Handbook of nature Study quote

Homeschool Nature Study Members

Look in your membership for these resources:

  • Outdoor Hour Challenge Planning Pages: Use the term planning page to pencil out your topics for the year.
  • Deciduous Trees in My Yard and Evergreen Trees in My Yard notebook pages
  • There are courses in Homeschool Nature Study membership for wildflowers and birds.

If you are not a Homeschool Nature Study membership 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.

Homeschool Nature Study membership

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Written by Outdoor Hour Challenges founder, Barb McCoy and updated by Tricia

Here is how to build a habit of nature study in your homeschool if you struggling with where to start. And if you have wanted to ease into a study of nature that is meaningful, but you get overwhelmed with all the programs and methods, we have the simple answer. Have fun and make memories together with these ideas.

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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The Habit of Gathering Things for Your Homeschool Nature Table

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

The Habit of Gathering Things for Your Homeschool Nature Table

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

What is a Nature Table?

A Nature Table Is…

1. A table, shelf, box, or tray where teachers and families can gather and collect natural items for exploration and discovery.

2. A collection of natural objects gathered by the teacher or student for closer observation.

3. A place for the child to touch and interact with the natural items.

4. A place that changes with the seasons and interests of the student.

5. A collection of inanimate, living, and once living objects.

6. A place to encourage the outdoors to come indoors.

7. An aid to looking more closely at nature from your own backyard.

8. A part of a nature center, hopefully near a window for firsthand observation of things in your own yard or neighborhood.

9. A place to gather tools and ideas for further investigation.

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here are some tips to help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table.

How A Nature Table Can Work in Your Homeschool

The habit of collecting nature items for a homeschool nature table helps us transition from season to season. At the start of each season, we would evaluate which things on the table we would keep and which things could be taken back outside. Leaves get crunchy and flowers wilt over time, so they were easy to recycle. The other items like rocks and shells can live on the nature table or be stored in a box for future observations or display. I’m sure you’ll come up with a system of rotating items for your family that makes sense to you.

During our family nature walks, my boys would gather things to bring home for our nature collection. They were always asking me to carry things for them and soon my pockets would be stuffed with rocks, acorns, and other interesting natural items. If they had too many items, I would make them choose a few favorites.

Handbook of Nature Study quote on nature collection

Often, we would draw the items once we were home but many times these treasures went straight to our homeschool nature table. This habit of gathering items while outside together was one that connected our time in nature with our indoor life and learning.

Inevitably, the table would be covered with lots of things, and I decided we needed a system of displaying the items. I gathered a few baskets and plates and boxes for holding the bits they brought home from our outdoor excursions. (See the post linked below on how this worked with our rock collection.)

items for your nature table

Practical Suggestions For Creating Your Nature Table

  • Please use common sense when adding things to the nature table. Please be cautioned about potentially hazardous items like glass jars, sharp objects, and/or possibly poisonous items like berries, mushrooms, and leaves.
  • The nature table can be a part of a larger nature observation center in your classroom or home. Positioning the table near a window for outdoor observation is a great way to use the nature table as a place to gather nature study tools like magnifying glasses, binoculars, a nature journal, and field guides.
  • Consider changing items from year to year to freshen up your seasonal nature table.
  • Do not look at the items collected as something to necessarily save from one year to the next.
  • Allow a place for new objects and for areas of interest.
  • Let your children gather and collect items for the table if possible.

 

Here are some ideas from the past to inspire

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.

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! There are endless resources available for you to help create the habit of nature study within your family.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

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Homeschool Nature Study: Field Trips and Day Hikes Near Home

Here are some simple tips for homeschool nature study field trips. You will find that building the habit of taking your nature study on the road is a great way to build memories together as a family.

Our family has always enjoyed being outside together, hitting the hiking trail and doing a little exploring. But often the biggest obstacle to taking that hike was figuring out where to go. We may have had the desire and the time to get outside but wrestled with the question of where to go. Often we thought too big.

I realized over time that we didn’t need to travel far to find places to go on short notice or even for a half day’s hike. I loved being able to roll out of bed, decide to go on a hike, and be out the door in a short period of time. So, how did I overcome the dilemma of finding places to hike near our home?

Here are some simple tips for homeschool nature study field trips. You will find that building the habit of taking your nature study on the road is a great way to build memories together as a family.

Homeschool Nature Study Field Trips and Day Hikes Near Home

Here’s the homeschool nature study field trip idea we landed on and have since adapted to our home.

“We found a long time ago that we can explore so many different places by using a simple idea. Take a map and place a big dot on your hometown. Now determine an hour’s distance from your home and draw a circle around your home at that distance. Make a list of all the places you can go that are within that hour’s distance and then start one by one giving them a try. We have been following this concept for over a decade and it always amazes us what we can find to do that is within that short distance range.”

-Barb McCoy, 2010

I wrote that blog entry when I still lived in California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. We were blessed with many trails within a short distance of our home, even some that were accessible in the winter. We of course had our favorites that we visited many times but over the years we tried to include new places each season. We were never without a few wish list places to look forward to trying.

When we made the big move to Central Oregon four years ago, we did the same exercise with an Oregon map. We drew a 50-mile radius around our hometown and then did research to find trails to explore in our new habitat. It’s surprising how many interesting places you’ll find if you give this a try. Everyone has a unique place to explore and it just takes a little preparation to get you going on some new and fresh trails.

Here are some simple tips for homeschool nature study field trips. You will find that building the habit of taking your nature study on the road is a great way to build memories together as a family.

How To Find Homeschool Nature Study Field Trips and Day Hike Resources

I did some research on Amazon and found that if you type in some particular words you can find some great ideas for books for your family just about anywhere you live. You can purchase the book from Amazon or look up the title at your public library instead.

Type in the search box on Amazon.com:

Easy Day Hikes _______ (with your state instead of the blank)
Best Day Hikes ________ (with your state instead of the blank)
Day Hike ____________(with your closest National Park instead of the blank)
Fodor’s __________(with your state or region of the US like Southwest or Northwest)
Moon Handbooks ____________(with your state, region, or national park instead of the blank)
Hiking ___________(with your state, region, or national park…this one will get you a lot more choices and can be overwhelming)

Another tip that I will pass on is to go to Barnes and Noble and look for their travel guide section. Browse and pick out a guide book to your own state and/or local area. Be like a tourist and read the guide book to discover more about your own locality. I keep one of the hiking guide books and a local map in the pocket of the door in my car. I refer to it when we are looking for local attractions for day trips.

Of course, you can just look things up on the internet, although when I am out and about it is reassuring to have a map and some directions in my pack as a backup. I do lots of research online, but I feel better having a book describing the hikes when we head out the door. At the very least, we carry a map of the area where we are hiking. I could write a whole post about bad maps and books and trail markers but I will save that for another time. 🙂

Family day hikes ideas for homeschool nature study

Nature Study When You Travel

Maybe you would like to incorporate a little nature study when you take a vacation or longer trip. I think this is a fantastic idea and we’ve done it in our family for decades. It brings an added layer to your vacation experience, introducing you to things you might otherwise miss if you weren’t thinking about nature while traveling.

The difference between a good outdoor experience and a great outdoor experience with an opportunity for nature study is sometimes just a matter of preparation.

homeschool nature study when you travel

Preparation for Homeschool Nature Study When Traveling

1. Do a little research ahead of time for the habitat you’ll be visiting.
Determine what you’ll encounter on your trip that might make for interesting
nature study. For example, if you’re going to be visiting an ocean beach, learn what
plants, birds, and animals make their home there. You can also use the Handbook of
Nature Study to read about things you think you might encounter during your travels.

2. Find resources such as field guides or other nature related books to read or bring along with you. I suggest starting with a few field guides with common nature study topics: birds, wildflowers, and trees. Check your library for books you can borrow and take with you. To prepare, you should page through the field guides before you leave on your trip to be familiar with the layout of the book and perhaps to glean a few things ahead of time to be looking for as you go outdoors.

3. Bring along your nature journal or some pre-printed notebook pages. During down time it is nice to have supplies on hand to make a nature journal entry to record your nature study as you travel. Basic art supplies like markers or colored pencils are easy to pack. I also like watercolor pencils for nature journal entries. Keep it simple and light.

4. I also like to look up nature centers or nature trails in the areas we visit. A good nature center visit can take an hour or two and can provide a spark to capture the interest of everyone in the family. The staff is usually knowledgeable about the local habitat, giving you advice on where to go and what to see. They also can help identify anything you have observed but can’t put a name to as you try to make your journal entries. Most nature centers have bookstores that can provide additional resources to follow-up your nature study time.

Start With Our Getting Started With Nature Study Guide

Getting Started Guide: In preparing for your nature study field trips, you could also look up a few of the Outdoor Hour Challenges before you travel, the first five challenges can be applied to any habitat. If you have the Getting Started Challenges 1-10 Guide, you can have that loaded on your laptop and reference it as you travel.

Homeschool Nature Study Members

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 curriculum library at your fingertips. There are numerous resources available for you to help create the habit of nature study within your family.

Printables:

  • Nature Center Notebook Page
  • Habitat notebook pages – see the various habitats available
  • Any of the specific printables for topics you may encounter on your travels

Take time to go through your Membership library to see what’s available to help you in your quest to make difficult subjects easier for you. My intent in writing the Outdoor Hour Challenges was to make your life easier when it comes to pulling together an interesting and rich nature study for your family.

Here are some simple tips for homeschool nature study field trips and how to find day hikes near home. Make memories with your family!
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Homeschool Nature Walks: The Benefits of Nature Study

The idea of taking a nature walk is nothing new. However, the need for nature walks has never been more evident in our increasingly indoor, sedentary lives. Childhood used to be times of exploring outdoors for hours at a time, but in today’s world few children have the circumstances or incentive to get outside on their own. This is where involved parents can be of such value.

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Consider nature walks and nature study an adventure! Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.
Photo by Amy Law

Building the Nature Walk Habit In your Homeschool

Taking a nature walk can bring refreshment to your whole family. Maybe you are having a tough day and the children are a little restless or perhaps the weather is just too nice to stay inside all day…these are perfect opportunities to drop everything else and take a walk in your own neighborhood or a park close by.

I’ve observed that families that take nature walks on a consistent basis, as part of their weekly routine, benefit greatly from the efforts they spend in making them happen. They feel more relaxed in nature, they see their children get excited about things they discover, and they feel a closer bond as a family because of shared nature experiences.

Whether you use the Outdoor Hour Challenges as part of your nature studies or not, the fundamental idea of taking a short walk outside with your child is the basis of building a happier childhood.

“Nature is often overlooked as a healing balm for the emotional hardships in a child’s life.”

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
The idea of taking a nature walk is nothing new. The need for nature walks has never been more evident in our increasingly indoor, sedentary lives. Childhood used to be times of exploring outdoors for hours at a time, but in today’s world few children have the circumstances or incentive to get outside on their own. This is where involved parents can be of such value.
Photo by Amy Law

Getting the Habit of Walks Started with The Outdoor Hour Challenge

Talking nature walks can be as simple as putting on your shoes and jacket and heading out the door, letting nature inspire what you do and what you study. Or, you can have a few ideas in mind before you head out the door.

Sometimes it’s nice to head out the door and see what comes your way, no assignments. Start with nothing more than pointing out the beauty in the flowers, trees, animals, and birds that you encounter during your everyday life. Speak to the heart at first by just enjoying the amazing living things in front of you and then eventually you will be able to focus on naming your subjects and knowing a few facts.

Parents do not need to be worried that they don’t know everything about their nature study subjects.  You can become learners right alongside your children. Remember that there are many things about nature that nobody knows the answers to so when our children ask us questions that are deep and thought-provoking, acknowledge the question and look for the answer together. We are all students of God’s creation, and we will never know everything there is to know.

Consider nature study an adventure, a lifelong achievement. Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.

It doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair or take very much time for you to see a difference in your attitude and that of your children.

“It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson (nature walk), 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
“It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson (nature walk), 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

Creative Nature Walks: Pick a Focus For Your Study

Pick a theme for your walk such as insects, birds, trees, flowers, etc. Then have everyone make observations within that theme.

In my experience, having a focus during a walk makes it much more enjoyable for everyone. Each person can use their eyes and senses to look for items within the theme and then share them with the group. One person can be the designated photographer and take photos of things of interest. Or take along your nature journal and make a record of your sightings as you go along.

If you have older children, this is where you could use the Outdoor Hour Challenge and the Handbook of Nature Study to pick a focus for your walk. Pick a topic for the many challenges available and be on the lookout for the subject of interest.

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

How Long Should Outdoor Time Be and How Frequently?

Short regular walks are much better than the occasional walk. The trick is to find a balance that works in your family. When my boys were homeschooling, we aimed for a once a week walk or hike with a little follow up once we got home. In high school, our walks became less frequent, but we aimed to take a “nature day” once a month where we would take the time to get outside together and explore as part of our more formal nature study program.

Homeschool Nature Study membership

Help Getting Started with the Nature Walk Habit in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Below you will find links and resources for Homeschool Nature Study members to use as part of your nature walk time and usually a follow up idea for your nature journal. Please pick those ideas that get you excited to give regular nature walks a place in your family’s weekly routines.

Homeschool Nature Study Members:

  • Read “The Field Excursion” on page 14 of the Handbook of Nature Study.
  • Getting Started Guide – Outdoor Hour Challenge #1
  • Autumn course – Fall Color Walk Challenge
  • Spring course – Spring Splendor Walk

Printable Journal pages

  • My Nature Walk – Senses Notebook Page
  • Silent Autumn Nature Walk
  • Spring Nature Hunt
  • Spring Walk
  • 1st Day of Winter Nature Walk printable
  • 3 Questions Hike
  • My Summer Nature Hike
  • 5 Senses Walk at Sunset Notebook Page
  • Walk in the Forest Notebook Page

Nature study using the Outdoor Hour Challenge aims to introduce you to your own backyard and neighborhood, seeking out the things that interest your children. I invite you to get to know your child’s special area of interest and to build from there a foundation of knowledge and experience outdoors. Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges, my own family has been enriched with a love of nature, a bond with each other, and lots of wonderful memories of seasons past. 

If you’re not a member here on Homeschool 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.

Consider nature walks and nature study an adventure! Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.

 

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Your Backyard Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory

Your backyard truly is homeschool nature study laboratory! We will show you how you already have what you need for building the habit of getting outside with your children.

We are challenging you to begin homeschool nature study with the intention of creating the habit of getting outside with our children every week. There is something exciting about starting nature study with all the possibilities in front of us. Take the opportunity to join us for what could be the start of a grand adventure.

How do you create the habit of getting outside with your children?

Baby steps. We are here to help you with some methods that have been shared over the last decade, guiding hundreds of families to successfully navigate nature study close to home. When establishing a new habit, we have always found it helpful to start small and work on consistency.

Your backyard is a homeschool nature study laboratory! You already have what you need to build the habit of getting outside with your children.

Your Backyard is a Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory

A new habit can be encouraged simply by seeing the benefits of an easy change. Think of your backyard and neighborhood as a nature study laboratory. Change your view of what is right outside your own door. Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Starting with the things closest to home, you’ll soon see how the habit of getting outside each week comes more easily.

What is there to observe in our backyard Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory?

Here are just a few things you have easy access to for backyard homeschool nature study

  • Trees: leaves, bark, twigs, roots, flowers, cones, needles, seeds, pods, nests, birds
  • Patch of weeds: leaves, roots, bugs, flowers
  • Dirt: worms, gravel, stones, seeds, mud, ants, mushrooms, moss
  • Sky: clouds, sun, moon, stars, birds
  • 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
Your backyard is a homeschool nature study laboratory! You already have what you need to build the habit of getting outside with your children.

How long does it take? Just 15 minutes!

Consistently taking fifteen minutes during your weekly schedule to get outside will be of great benefit in providing interesting things to observe. Even better, take that time when your child is distracted or listless during the homeschool day and seize the opportunity to get outside with them for just a few minutes. Once you see the benefits of allowing this time outside to reset, you’ll begin to see nature study as a refreshing necessity rather than a task that needs to be checked off a list of things to do.

We don’t need to devote a lot of time to nature study during our weekly schedule. Keen observation is the key, not reading lessons, filling in notebooks, or keeping collections. Short walks outdoors along with our children as we encourage observation will do far greater good than any other form of lesson plan.

Favorite Handbook of Nature Study quotes

Can I just send my kids outside on their own?

Children need to grow the habit of looking at things carefully.  In nature study, we can encourage our children to look at things more closely, to really see what is there.  You need to go with your children outdoors at first, walking alongside them or being available nearby. This will alert you to subjects of their interest. Have them describe what they see and perhaps you can ask a few leading questions. Keep it friendly and light.

“The great danger that besets the teacher just beginning nature study is too much teaching, and too many subjects. In my own work I would rather a child spent one term finding out how one spider builds its orb web than that he should study a dozen different species of spiders. If the teacher at the end of the year has opened the child’s mind and heart in two or three directions nature-ward, she has done enough.”

Anna Botsford Comstock

In My Experience

Your backyard homeschool nature study can hold your attention for a long time if you are diligent about looking for a variety of things to observe. Most of us have plants, birds, trees, rocks, insects, invertebrates, and mammals that will visit us at least at certain times of the year. Challenge your family to pick something each week to learn more about. Nature study is a long-term project (or even a lifestyle) that everyone can find satisfaction in doing together as a family.

Each family member can develop their special area of interest. My daughter and I love flowers and birds. My husband is a tree person. The boys enjoy insects, rocks, and mammals of all sorts. Look for your child’s interest and nurture it! I sometimes wouldn’t get involved at all when the kids were looking at something. Quietly observing their interaction with the natural world gave me insight into what we could learn about in the future.

Remember that nature study intensity can come in cycles. There are periods of time or seasons of the year when we devote much energy to getting outside and taking nature walks. The amount of time may fluctuate to fit our family’s circumstances. Although regular outdoor time reaps the most benefits, real life demands we make allowances for breaks and interruptions. But don’t let these breaks stumble you and get back into it as soon as possible, picking up where you left off.

What can homeschool parents do?

To be successful in creating a nature study habit, it’s helpful for parents to be enthusiastic and see for themselves the beauty in the natural world. Start with your passions and then build from there with what you discover about your child’s interests. For example, if your interest is in flowers, spend time in your garden together or visit a nearby garden with your family. Start off looking at flowers and see where that leads. An insect may visit your flowers, or a bird may land nearby. Try to allow for nature study to unfold before you.

They need you to regularly allow time to just be outside during all the seasons. We can all bear fifteen minutes a week of backyard homeschool nature study under even the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you keep in mind that your nature study can be just outside your back door, you’ll be more apt to go out regularly.

Homeschool Nature Study Members Have Great Resources at Your Fingertips

Consider working through the first three Outdoor Hour Challenges in the Getting Started ebook. These three challenges can help build your nature study habit. I highly recommend following the suggestions for reading in the Handbook of Nature Study that go along with those challenges. The words expressed in those readings include timeless advice to parents about the value of regular nature study close to home. Make sure to have the printable nature journal pages bookmarked in case your child is ready to create a record of their Outdoor Hour Challenge.

#1 Let’s Get Started
#2 Using Your Words
#3 Now Is The Time To Draw

Look for the Outdoor Hour Challenge Planning Pages printable in the Planning Resources course. Use these pages to make a rough plan for your nature study.

If you’re not a member here at Homeschool 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.

Your backyard is a homeschool nature study laboratory! You already have what you need to build the habit of getting outside with your children.
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Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a wonderful example of how nature study can benefit any child. It allows you to provide a variety of experiences to tap into their natural learning style and complete a bird study all along the way!

Making Nature Study Easy: Adapt to Your Child’s Interests

Are you struggling with making your nature study meaningful for your family? Have your attempts to begin a nature study plan with your children failed because of their bad attitudes or lack of interest? Do you feel like nature study is just another academic subject that you need to check off your list?

You are not alone. I think many of us have tried to make nature study a regular routine in our homeschooling week but ended up throwing in the towel because it was just too hard to get into a rhythm.

Our Different Homeschool Learning Styles

I’m a mom of four children, one daughter and three sons. I found it impossible to make every study interesting for every child when it came to nature study. As a homeschooling mom, I attempted to educate myself in ways to offer subjects to my children that met their needs and interests, strengths, and skills.

I found nature study to be most successful when you allow your children to make connections that are meaningful and fit their style of learning. I was more successful when I offered a variety of activities to appeal in some way to their personal interests. (You can read more about the concept of addressing the various ways we learn here: Multiple Intelligences.)

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child.

Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles

Here is a specific example of this kind of customized learning for you to think about and adapt to your family with a Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles:

  • Musical Learner: Enjoys listening to and learning to imitate bird calls. Easily identifies a bird by its call. Writes a song about birds.
  • Verbal-Linguistic: Records a birding experience in a nature journal using words or tells a story about the nature walk. Writes or copies a poem about a bird into their nature journal. Learns the Latin names of birds as well as the common names. Reads the biography of Audubon.
  • Mathematical-Logical: Tallies birds at a feeder. Keeps a running list of birds seen over a period of time in a nature journal. Collects bird feathers and categorizes them into groups. Studies migratory maps and learns where local birds go for the winter. Learns all the state birds. Experiments with different kinds of bird seed to see which ones particular birds like best. Participates in citizen science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count and Project Feederwatch.
  • Visual-Spatial: Makes a model of a bird from clay. Sketches a bird in their nature journal. Notices the differences between birds: beaks, wing shapes, tail shapes, size. Builds a birdhouse. Designs and builds their own birdfeeder. Constructs a bird blind in order to observe birds.
This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child.
  • Kinesthetic: Loves to take a walk and look for birds using binoculars. Climbs a tree to find a bird’s nest or just experience a “bird’s eye” view. Hangs a bird feeder and keeps it full. Plants a bird garden.
  • Interpersonal: Joins a birding group and learns from the more experienced birders about their local area. Volunteers at a bird reserve with a friend. Organizes a field trip to a bird aviary for their co-op.
  • Intrapersonal: Spends quiet time outdoors observing birds, perhaps recording their experiences in their own nature journal that they don’t share with others. Has a pet bird.
  • Naturalist: Enjoys lots of time outdoors looking for birds and learning their life cycles. Learns the names of birds, keeps a bird life list, learns the calls, and keeps a nature journal. Easily remembers the names of birds and their habits. Has a collection of bird’s feathers, bones, and nests.
  • Existential: Learns about endangered species of birds. Spends time contemplating a bird’s life cycle. Keeps a journal of their thoughts about birds and how they fit into the web of life on the earth.

If you’re struggling with deciding what your child’s learning style is, be patient and if all else fails, ask them what they want to do for nature study. You could share some of the ideas in the printable referenced below as a way to introduce new and fresh ideas.

It’s really a case of trial and error until you have it all figured out.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for All Learning Styles

Specific ideas for adapting nature study are in the printable Multiple Intelligences and Grid Study in the Homeschool Nature Study Membership in the Resources course. Topics covered include mammals, reptiles, wildflowers, astronomy, insects, trees, weather, and invertebrates. This set of pages has ideas for ways to adapt nature study to fit your child’s style of learning.

Try applying the principle of this Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles to any nature study subject. You’re only limited by your imagination.

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child. Printable included.

 

 

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The Homeschool Nature Journal Habit

Keeping a nature journal and building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. You will find nature journal ideas for everyone from young children to the homeschool mom!

The Homeschool Nature Journal Habit

Like all habits, the habit of keeping a nature journal starts by making it a regular part of your routine. I’ve found that families that create a simple nature journal page after their outdoor time are the most successful at keeping that habit over time. Don’t make it too complicated or overthink the process.

Many of us struggle with perfection. We think that a nature journal should be a place of beauty and value…which I agree with wholeheartedly. But, it also can be a place that we experiment and mess up from time to time. A smear here or a misspelled word or funky drawing we don’t like can also appear on a nature journal page. Those “mess ups” shouldn’t keep us from establishing a nature journaling habit.

Building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. Find nature journal ideas for everyone here!

The Benefit of Nature Journals for Young Children

I can’t emphasize enough that the single most important factor in starting a nature journaling habit in your family is the example you as the parent can set for your children. If you regularly get out your own nature journal and make entries, eventually your children will participate alongside you. Charlotte Mason wrote that if a child is too young to write or create their own journal entry, the mother can be their secretary and help them with the writing portion of a nature journal entry.

In my experience, many times after a nature walk, my kids were eager to do a sketch of something they observed while outdoors. Those pages may not be elaborate, but they are personal to the child.

See Outdoor Hour Challenge #2 Using Your Words and Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 Now is the Time to Draw for help getting started with simple nature journals with your children. If you’re a Member, you can download the Getting Started ebook for additional information and printable journal pages.

nature journal for homeschool mom
Nature Journal Page by Shirley Ann Vels https://buildingahouseholdoffaith.com/

Nature Journals for Homeschool Moms – Good Habits Start With You

It is my journal, and it can be any way that I wish it to be. When I first started journaling back in approximately 2008, I felt the pressure to make my entries pretty and artistic. The examples I could find online were by real artists and not just a regular mom like myself. I needed to stop comparing myself and just be inspired by these other nature journal pages.

Keeping a nature journal is a long-term life project. My nature journal goes with me on every trip we take….I have packed it three times to Hawaii, to Yellowstone, on countless trips to Yosemite, and on most every little day trip I make. Do I always remember to pull it out and record things? No. Do I wish I would have made more entries? Yes. There is the lesson: Once you build the habit of journaling, you will be more excited about recording all your nature experiences whether they are close to home or far away on an adventure.

If you want your drawing skills to improve, you must practice. That’s a tough one for most of us. I did not come from an artistic background so giving myself permission to try to learn to draw or paint or do anything artistic took a big shove from my husband. It took time and effort. My suggestion for people who are striving to do a better job in sketching is to go to your library and go to the children’s section first and check out “how to draw” books and use them alongside your children. I checked one out on how to draw insects and one on how to draw birds and then found some nature sketching books to try. These experiences with the book open in front of you and your sketching from the step by step instructions will eventually spill over into your nature journal. The added bonus is that you will be modeling for your children the process and the effort to nature journal. There is no magic formula, but your success is equal to the effort you are willing to put into it.

Nature Journal Resources For Your Homeschool

Simple Nature Journal Ideas (on Hubpages): This is a thorough collection of my simple to use nature journal ideas and a resource for my picks for nature journaling supplies.

Nature Journal Examples: This link will take you to a Flickr album with many nature journal pages our family has created.

Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to lIfe in your homeschool

Nature Journaling in the Handbook of Nature Study:

  • Pages 13-15 (The Field Notebook). In this section Anna Botsford Comstock helps us with a detailed description of her idea of a field notebook or nature journal. She also states that if done properly “they represent what cannot be bought or sold, personal experience in the happy world of out-of-doors”. Make note of any suggestions you want to implement with your children.
  • Page 17 (The Correlation of Nature Study and Drawing). Highlight the points that will help you with your nature journals. “Too much have we emphasized drawing as an art; it may be an art, if the one who draws is an artist; but if he is not an artist, he still has a right to draw if it pleases him to do so.”
Building the homeschool nature journal habit can be a wonderful extension of your outdoor learning time. Find nature journal ideas for everyone here!

Nature Journal Outdoor Hour Challenges in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 – Now is the Time to Draw: This challenge from the free Getting Started series is a perfect way to begin small with nature journaling. Members can download the ebook and the notebook pages that go along with it to introduce a nature journal to your children.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #2 – Using Your Words: If you’re having trouble coming up with words for your nature journal, this challenge will give you some direction.

You can always use any of the printable notebook pages in the Homeschool Nature Study membership for your nature journal.

If you’re not a 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 homeschool family.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Nature Study-Creating Habits Young

Here you will find some of the best tips for homeschool nature study and creating habits young. Nature study can be a family activity with short lessons for your preschoolers or elementary-aged children during outdoor time.

“As for the baby, when he is put down, he will kick and crawl and grab at the grass, loving every minute of his freedom as he takes in nature in his own way. He should be dressed in something comfortable that can handle a bit of dirt and play.”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 45

Homeschool Nature Study – Creating Habits Young

In our family, when the children were young, we would work and play in the yard together just about every day. The habit of getting outdoors for a few minutes together began even before we started any sort of formal nature study. Simply being outside as a family pulling weeds, cutting flowers to bring inside, sitting on the grass and watching the birds in the feeders, sweeping the walk, swinging on the rope swing, tidying the garden, playing with the dog, turning the compost, or watering the deck plants, brought us in touch with so many interesting things to observe and enjoy.

There were rocks to turn over and look at what was hiding underneath…..ants and spiders and crickets. There were plants to smell like roses, thyme, and lavender. There were trees to touch and leaves to gather.

Nature Study is a Family Activity

The earlier you start building these habits in your family, the easier it will be to create children who are eager to be outside and engaged in nature study. Think of the earliest years outdoors with your children as the way to start a valuable habit. I have seen in my family that developing a love and curiosity about the natural world developed gradually over their childhood.

“..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.”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 45

I believe in the younger grades that our responsibility as parents is to open the eyes of our children to the world around them, exposing them to real things and real places. As I said in Nature Study for Young People, “it makes no sense to me to teach our children about the rain forest if they haven’t even learned about the trees and animals in their local habitat. The younger years are the time to get outside and take walks and look at real things up close and form memories and impressions. There is a time for books and textbooks (in limited amounts) but that can come later.”

Nature Study with Very Young Children – Getting Outside Safely

Once you decide you want to venture out of your own yard, the stroller is a great way to get the little ones out but still let them be a part of your nature time. You can point things out to get them started, but soon they’ll be looking for clouds and birds on their own. Be flexible. I have one child that would rather push the stroller than sit and ride so I would tell him that he had to keep a hand on the stroller as we walked along at his pace. This kept him from running too far ahead and I could interact with him as interesting things caught our eye. This gave him a little sense of freedom, but I could be in close supervision.

From a very early age, we included the little ones along on our family hikes. The baby backpack was our best friend and the boys both loved riding along on dad’s back as we hiked. We trained them to ride in the backpack and then gradually shifted them to walking on their own.

Homeschool Nature Study Tips for Young Children

One of our favorite daily activities when the boys were very small was to let them use a small watering can to water our deck plants each morning. We would observe the flowers and play in the water a little, but they began to have an appreciation for growing things.

Also, the boys have always loved helping to fill the birdfeeders. This would get us outdoors and talking about the different visitors we had that ate the seeds. Scooping seed was a favorite toddler activity as well.

Collecting things to bring home and organize is also something very young children enjoy. I have one son that always had a pocket full of acorns every time he went outside. We collected them in a coffee can each day and he enjoyed spilling them out on the deck to count and sort through on his own.

Using the Outdoor Hour Challenge for Creating Habits Young

Let’s say that your family has preschool or young grammar age children. You have a suburban backyard. You have one afternoon a week that you can devote to nature study. You are new to nature study but you know your children have an interest in birds. How will you use the Outdoor Hour Challenges?

  • Pick your Outdoor Hour Challenge from the selection of birds available for creating habits young. You’ll need to read through the Challenge and then read the corresponding pages in the Handbook of Nature Study. Note a few points that you can weave into your outdoor time. Prepare the children as much as you can in a way that is appropriate for their ages. If the lesson for the week is to learn about bird’s beaks, you might mention a few facts about bird beaks before you head out the door.
  • I might start off our outdoor time with a walk around the yard to see if we find anything new or interesting. If a bird happens along at the feeder or nearby, stop and quietly observe the bird, making special note of the bird’s beak.
  • After the birds flies away, take a minute to ask if your child was able to observe anything about the bird’s beak. Was it long, short, pointed, round, black, yellow, bigger than the head, and how did the bird use the beak? In this way you start to create the habit of observing nature carefully together. Keep the “lesson” short.

“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel when introducing a young child to the natural world. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.”

-Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder

Nature Study for Young Children: In My Experience

In the younger years, we should be more concerned with creating that direct contact with nature and not the memorizing of facts about things we haven’t encountered in real life. Nature study should include those objects most often seen and encountered during your outdoor time. The flowers, trees, birds, insects, and rocks that are found in your own yard or neighborhood are the perfect start to your nature study experiences. The best way for creating habits young and to teach nature study is not by setting out a rigid course of study but to be aware of topics that are all around you and one by one to make observations and to learn as a family.

For instance, you could read about a monarch in a book, noting the illustrations and the scientific facts about this beautiful butterfly. This may soon be forgotten. But, if you are out in your garden or on a nature walk and come across a monarch butterfly that maybe has a tattered wing, your child might just want to know about where it came from and why it has a few ragged edges on its wings. They care about the real butterfly. Their personal experience with this insect will now give the reading about it in a book more meaning. This butterfly now has a story and your child might be more inclined to tell that story in their own words either orally or on paper. The correlation between what they saw in the garden and what they have learned about the monarch may even spur them to act in behalf of that monarch by planting a butterfly garden with milkweed or participate in a citizen science project where they tag monarchs.

If you are 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 with creating habits young and growing the habit of nature study within your family.

The best tips for creating habits young. Homeschool nature study can be a family activity with your preschoolers or elementary-aged children.
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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Building the Habit of Tackling Difficult Subjects

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Week 10 – November 5, 2021

Building the Habit of Tackling Difficult Subjects

All homeschooling moms have them: topics that we don’t feel confident to teach.

Tackling the difficult topics found in nature study can be a stumbling block for many moms. Most of us find it easy to be interested in and to learn about topics like birds and butterflies alongside our children. But, what about things like spiders, fungus, or rocks? Are we as eager to study those things commonly found in nature? I’ve suffered from this lack of interest in tackling difficult topics in nature study with my children.

Reasons We May View Topics as Difficult

We lack knowledge in the area under study.

Let’s face it. Most of us are not “experts” in nature study. These things were not covered in our educational years. So many times, when we’re faced with introducing our children to nature study, we feel unqualified.

“But she should not let lack of knowledge be a wet blanket thrown over her pupils’ interest. She should say frankly, ‘I do not know; let us see if we cannot together find out this mysterious thing.’” Handbook of Nature Study, page 3

We lack personal interest in a topic.

It’s our attitude about a topic that can either encourage or discourage our children in their pursuing the study of a topic. If you are disgusted by spiders, they will probably take on your attitude. Honestly, I found studying snakes one of the most difficult things to do with my children so I would continually put it off until a future date.

Resources may not be readily available.

At some point, we come across something during our nature study time that is not in the Handbook of Nature Study. It may be a local wildflower or a migrating bird. Whatever the topic, we lack the knowledge or resources to easily study it with our children. We realize we need to do more research in our study. It seems like too much work.

Ideas to Help with Offering Difficult Subjects

Build Up Knowledge – Start with the Handbook of Nature Study lessons for a topic. If you need additional information, try the children’s section at your public library for books that talk about the topic. Search for videos on YouTube if you want some help making a topic less intimidating. (Note: The Outdoor Hour Challenges will usually have all these ideas in the lesson so make sure to look up your topic to see if there is a OHC on the website that you may be able to use.)

Example from our nature study:

Rain Beetle – How to Identify a New Insect: I found that the closer I looked at this insect, the more beauty I found in its design and features. It taught me that sometimes if we just take time to learn more about a topic, the more interesting it becomes.

Develop interest over time – If you introduce a topic and it falls flat, nothing says you can’t move onto something else. Sometimes you just need to let some time pass before you find a hook for a particular nature study topic. This is especially the case when you’re studying a subject that you haven’t encountered in person. We all get more excited about something new we see and experience with our own eyes!

“No teacher is expected to teach all the lessons in this book. A wide range of subjects is given, so that congenial choices may be made.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 24

Study a variety of nature study subjects. – There is no end to the variety of nature study subjects available to you. You could easily stick to topics you are passionate about for a long time. Eventually, you may develop a desire to tackle some of the less attractive topics with your children. Give it time.

“Usually, the reason for this lack of interest is the limited range of subjects used for nature study lessons. Often the teacher insists upon flowers as the lesson subject, when toads or snakes would prove the key to the door of the child’s interest.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 6

Find a group that can support your study – Ask around your community or look at local social media to find a group or event that will help you get excited about a nature study topic. Ask at a local nature center. Put the word out in your homeschooling community. Find a mentor for a topic that your child is interested in learning more about and you have no interest in tackling. There is no shame in finding help for difficult topics.

In My Experience:

One year we studied rocks and I took the kids to the local rock and mineral show at our fairgrounds. Talk about the perfect place to find a mentor in this area! Most of the participants were eager to share their knowledge and even invited the kids to join their rockhounding group. I was able to get suggestions for places to go look for rocks to collect and for books that we could add to our nature library.

Ultimate Naturalist Members:

All of the materials in the Ultimate Naturalist Library are going to give you support and direction in offering a simple study of difficult nature topics. Because we each have our individual likes and dislikes, it’s hard for me to point to just one resource for you to use in your study.

Take time to go through your Membership library to see what is available to help you in your quest to make difficult subjects easier for you. My intent in writing the Outdoor Hour Challenges was to make your life easier when it comes to pulling together an interesting and rich nature study for your family.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

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.

Please note that the Ultimate Naturalist Library will only be available until 12/31/2021. At that time my website will be shutting down.

If you’re an email subscriber to the Handbook of Nature Study, you may consider saving this email in a folder for future reference. The blog will be retiring at the end of the year as well.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Establish the Habit by Making a Plan

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Week 7 – October 15, 2021

Establish the Habit by Making a Plan

Hopefully by now, dear readers, you have the desire to make nature study a regular part of your family’s lifestyle. You may even have the goal to do some incredible things for nature study.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

In this post you will find some helpful advice and resources for making your goals into a clear plan.

Choose a Plan that Makes Sense for Your Family

There are many ways to go about planning a more formal schedule for nature study. Typically, families plan their nature study either by the month or by the school term (usually 4 terms per year). Either way is easy to do using the nature study planning pages available in the Member’s Library here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Planning a Year of Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Members here on the Handbook of Nature Study have access to a printable set of planning pages that would be helpful to download and save for future use. I will be referencing these pages in this entry.

Monthly Planning Page 1Monthly Topics Plan

This is the first page you can use if you prefer to have monthly nature study topics. I loved the years that we stuck with a topic for a whole month, digging in deeply. The chart at the top of the page gives you some ideas to choose from as you contemplate your seasons and habitat.

Keeping your focus to one broad topic a month gives you plenty of time to study several specific subjects, take a few nature walks with this focus in mind, and then create nature journal entries as a way of following up.

You can glean ideas for specific topics by clicking the tabs at the top of the Handbook of Nature Study website and checking the Ultimate Naturalist Library for additional ideas and printables.

Term Planning Page 3

Seasonal or Term Topics Plan

Some families like to schedule their nature study focus for a complete term or season. The page shown above found in the Outdoor Hour Planning Pages packet allows for a different topic to be planned each term. If you follow the Ambleside Online nature study rotation, this would be the page you could use to plan your year’s topics.

 

Challenge and Activity Planning Page 2

After you have chosen your topics, either monthly or for a term, you can then use the challenge and activity planning page found in the packet to note specific challenges or ideas that you want to implement during your topical study. In the example shown above, the ideas are what I hoped to study with my children after choosing the topic of trees.

Planning ahead of time will make it more likely that they will happen. You can use ideas from the tabs at the top of the website, suggestions in the newsletter, or ideas found in the printables list.

Planning Monthly Nature Study planning page @handbookofnaturestudy

Here is another sample showing how to break down a month’s nature study ideas using the Outdoor Hour challenge, printables, and newsletters from the Ultimate Naturalist Library.

Customize Your Monthly Nature Study Plans

Think of all the ideas as ingredients. There are many options for your nature study recipe. Pick the ones that suit your family and your taste. Add them to the planner page and use that to remind you of your options for the month. Don’t feel like you need to complete all the things you list on the planner page. But creating the list will make it more likely your family will accomplish something during the month. Celebrate the things you are able to share with your family and look at this as a lifelong journey, taking one month at a time.

  • Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – Look in the newsletter archives for topics that you may wish to include in your monthly studies. Read through the ideas presented and pick a few to put on your monthly planning page. Make sure to look on the planning page for nature photo ideas, nature table suggestions, and nature journal topics to jot down on your monthly planning page.
  • Ebooks – Once you pick a topic, click the graphic for that topic on the top of the website. You will find all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for that particular topic listed. Next to each topic, the specific ebook will be noted. Download and save the ebook to use for your study. In the ebooks, you will usually find a custom notebook page to use as a follow up.
  • Printables There are many printables in the Ultimate Naturalist Library for every topic you may wish to study. Download and save the printables for your future use.
  • Seasonal Ideas – Use the seasonal ideas from the tab at the top of the website to find one or two seasonal ideas to pick from for your family.
  • Once a Month Nature Journal Idea – Use the ideas in the post to create a nature journal page for any of the items listed above.

Nature Study Goals Planning

I’ve found it hugely helpful to have yearly nature study goals. Each year I pick a few things to focus on as part of my personal nature study. There are families that like to make these goals and record them in their nature journal as a way of keeping themselves accountable.

Nature Study Goals Planning Page

I’ve created a Nature Study Goal Notebook Page for Ultimate Naturalist Members to use for their own personal planning. Make sure to download and save this page for future use.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

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.

Please note that the Ultimate Naturalist Library will only be available until 12/31/2021. At that time my website will be shutting down.

 Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

If you are an email subscriber to the Handbook of Nature Study, you may consider saving this email in a folder for future reference. The blog will be retiring at the end of the year as well.