You might also like to see how Tricia’s family enjoyed this winter tree silhouettes challenge. They did a blind contour drawing. They also noticed how paying attention to winter tree silhouettes made them notice the backyard birds!
Getting Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge In Your Homeschool
Getting Started Suggestion: If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #4.Use the ideas in the challenge to start a focused study of trees with your children. Use the accompanying notebook page to record your outdoor time and your focus area.
If you do not own the Getting Started in the Outdoor Hour Challenges guide then hop on over to our shop and grab your free copy! We would love to have you join our membership for full access to the new year’s nature study plans as well as access to the curriculum with detailed lesson plans for each weekly challenge.
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In addition to this winter tree silhouette challenge, our nature study homeschool members enjoy so much more! Membership includes three sets of Winter Handbook of Nature Study curriculum, additional nature study resources and ideas plus a calendar FULL of easy, daily nature study prompts. This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge comes from:
Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes? Be sure to tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!
Many families enjoy taking a closer look at a topic over a period of a year, making observations once each season. This simple nature study idea creates an intimacy with the subject that makes lasting impressions.
My sons completed quite a few year long studies of trees. They would pick a tree and then return each season to note the changes. My favorite year long seasonal study was the one we completed using the Queen Anne’s Lace plants in our yard and neighborhood. The beauty of this type of nature study is that your children can pick what they want to observe and then make plans to learn about the subject in each successive season.
I have listed an linked below many of the summer seasonal studies to get you started. You can start now if wish or you can continue a study you have already begun in a previous season. Many of the challenges have free printable notebook pages for you to use in your nature journal!
Make sure to mark your summer calendar with one or two of the year long study summer season ideas below!
Start by clicking the link to the archived entry below.
“Children should also become familiar with trees at an early age. They should pick about six in the winter when the leaves are gone, perhaps an elm, a maple, a beech, etc., and watch them during the year.” Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 52
Winter has arrived for most of us and with this season comes the challenge of getting outside to look for things to observe with our children. The trees that are covered in leaves in the summer are now barren and leafless. For many years this was a time that I was unable to determine a tree’s identification. But now with fresh eyes, I have learned to distinguish individual trees by their silhouettes. Each tree has a distinct pattern of growing that makes it even easier to identify during the winter months.
Many of us are surprised to learn that a tree in the thick of winter is not really lifeless. It may appear at first glance to be uninteresting in its winter state. Don’t be fooled! There are many things that we can discover about a tree during this barren season.
Start with the tree’s trunk and branches. Stand back and take a good look at the way it grows and where the branches are located. Look at the way each branch grows: up, out, curved, straight?
Look at the bark on the tree trunk and try to determine its color, texture, and any distinguishing marks or patterns.
Look at the tree’s outline against the winter sky.
Look at the tree’s buds. These will be at the tips of the twigs or branches. If all you do is make note of the size, shape, and color of the buds, you’ll have some valuable information about the tree.
Can you distinguish the difference between neighborhood trees? Start with just two trees and try to make as many comparisons as you can just focusing on the tree silhouette, tree bark, and buds.
When you get home, pull out your tree guide and see if you can use the information you observed to identify your trees. As time goes by, work your way up to six trees as suggested by Charlotte Mason. This can be a long term project that you tackle every winter.
Journey and Ultimate Naturalist Library members have a 6 Trees Project notebook page printable in their libraries. In this simple ongoing project, your child should observe and photograph six different trees and use the notebook pages as a follow up with facts and photos.
This activity was originally published in the February 2017 newsletter. You can find all of the archived newsletters in your member’s library.
Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to books that I have purchased and used with my family. They are very helpful for any winter tree studies.
It’s time to mark your calendars for your summer nature study observations! Whether you are starting a fresh year-long nature study project or continuing with one from this spring, here is a list of ideas here on the Handbook of Nature Study to inspire you. Later this summer I will be sharing a brand new year-long nature study featuring willows so look for that in an upcoming week.
Summer Seasonal Observations
I know summer is a time for casual nature study but pick something to look for and then revisit that topic every season for a year and you will be surprised what you learn. This kind of nature study is valuable because it helps us slow down and note the changes that occur from season to season. It will also help you learn how to anticipate the turn of the season as you recognize the changes in the natural world around you.
Pick one and get started by clicking the link to the archived entry that will give you lots of ideas for completing your own year-long nature study.
It is that time of year again! Time to plan a few seasonal observations….and get outdoors with your family! I make it easy with the printable notebook pages that go along with these year long nature study ideas. Pick one and get started or take a few minutes to make the summer observations happen before we run out of summer.
Make sure to add your year-long study to your January or February nature study plans so you don’t forget!!!
If you are a member of the Ultimate or Journey levels here on the Handbook of Nature Study, you will find this ebook listed in your library after you log into your account. The ebook version available to members includes all of the notebook pages, coloring pages, and color images. I highly recommend purchasing a membership for all the added benefits for each and every challenge.
You may wish to start a new year-long study this spring using some of the ideas above. If you have a continuing year-long nature study project, don’t forget to put it on your calendar or you may forget to make your autumn observations.
I am continuing our study of the mystery tree…our year-long tree study that we began in springtime. I am frustrated about its identity and have spent lots and lots of time scouring my field guides and the internet for just what kind of tree this is in our yard. I know it is not a native tree which only complicates matters.
Here is the leaf.
Here is the bark.
Not much to go on since it doesn’t currently have flowers, seeds, or pods.
I got excited when I found this tree, the Hardy Rubber tree. It looks like the right bark and leaf but the rubber tree doesn’t turn color in the fall like my mystery tree.
Something I recently learned about another tree in our yard, the tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). It is a host tree for swallowtail butterflies! I love that I have a great habitat for the caterpillars right in my front yard among my other butterfly, bird, and bee habitat. Read more about hunting for swallowtail caterpillars in this post over at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #5. Take the opportunity this week/month to start a running list of trees in your local area. Keep a list in your nature journal or use the notebooking page in the ebook to get started with this long-term project (in the back of the ebook).
You are welcome to submit any of you blog Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Entries for the current month are due on 6/29/14.
Please note this entry includes Amazon affiliate links.
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