Homeschool Outdoor Hour Challenges using The Handbook of Nature Study are a great way to get up and out, exploring the natural world around you!
“Make this summer a time to learn a little something new about your world. Finding time for these challenges will help this summer be one that your child will not only learn something new but make special seasonal memories for a lifetime.” – Barbara McCoy
Lightning bugs. Frogs. Raccoons. Owls. Mosquitoes. Ants. Trees. Weather. Even bats.
That’s what we’ve studied this summer. Just about once a week, we deliberately studied nature. But really, the children and I didn’t think of it as study. It was our summer fun. To take notice right when everything is growing, blooming and croaking.
What is an Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study?
Simply the idea of getting outside for a short while, in your own backyard – to enjoy, to observe and maybe to learn something new. Any time of year. The Outdoor Hour Challenges are hosted by Homeschool Nature Study – one of our sister sites.
You can download Getting Started – Nature Close to Home for FREE which helps you get started in homeschool nature study and outlines how to participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenges.
Accessing the Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool
Since my family first started participating, the challenges have changed from weekly postings on the Handbook of Nature Study blog to a monthly newsletter, to now being hosted via our Homeschool Nature Study website.
Homeschool Nature Study makes it easy to enrich your homeschool with nature study. You will have everything you need to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! Access to Outdoor Hour Challenges curriculum, resources to enrich your homeschool and so much more! Find out more on The Homeschool Nature Study membership page!
WITH HOMESCHOOL NATURE STUDY CLUBHOUSE MEMBERSHIP, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL ENJOY ACCESS TO:
- 26+ Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum ebooks on many nature topics
- Three NEW courses for moms – The Outdoor Mom, Nature Journaling and Nature Crafts courses!
- All NEW homeschool nature study curriculum courses – click through and easily find what you need
- All NEW and nature study plans and activities during your membership year
- A Monthly Calendar with a Homeschool Nature Study Prompt for Each Day
- A sampling of nature video art lessons from You ARE an ARTiST
VIEW THE COMPLETE LISTING OF ALL OUTDOOR HOUR CHALLENGE CURRICULUM TOPICS HERE.
How does a family get started? How do you participate?
When we began Outdoor Hour Challenges with Homeschool Nature Study, we started small. About one, maybe two studies a month. Just simple studies of daily things in our own backyard. For us, we simply got into a routine.
Kerri had mentioned she and her family do just ‘one more thing’ together after lunch. So I took that idea. Whenever the fancy struck, I gathered our field guides. I put them in a pile in the middle of the kitchen table. While the children ate lunch I read the excerpt from the Handbook of Nature Study. We’d push back, leave the lunch dishes and forge out into… the backyard!
With practice, it became easy. When we first started I didn’t even have the suggested text, I just pulled from what we had. See, I’ve always loved nature. Oh, I really love birds.
Oh, the wonderful things I’ve learned myself. Not only about God’s creation but about simply spending this precious time with my children. This. This is what was lacking in our day-to-day. In our homeschool.
I’m not sure why I originally found it difficult to add homeschool nature study in on top of what we were already doing. Maybe it was the busyness of a growing family, needs of toddlers and the fumbling of fractions.
This answer sort of came about on its own. By just stepping outside. By practicing. Seeing what we might need. Figuring out which weekday is easier. Or when the weather might be better. And throwing in a bit of spontaneity. Plus mixing in the encouragement of the Homeschool Nature Study community – all the other families enjoying the same type discoveries. Of course, topped off by the gentle nudges and examples by founder and hostess, Barb-Harmony Art Mom.
Before we knew it these Outdoor Hour Challenges studies found their way into our routine once a week. “What are we studying this week Mama?” I rolled in our science text along with our topic.
“Where do you get these pages? the eldest asked. I explained. “How do you know how to pull out that storybook to go with it? How did you know that there is a close up photo of a lightening bug in that book?” Practice. Using and enjoying what we have. Finding out what works.
Now, all our science texts, field guides, binoculars, nature notebooks and journals for the homeschool Outdoor Hour Challenges are housed in a bookcase. Right next to the kitchen table. So it’s easy. Easy to go outside, leave the rest for later. Easy to grab what we need and step out the back door.
And even easier to delight.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned how nature studies led to art…
I encourage you to make a deliberate habit to delight. Simple studies, right in your own backyard, will enrich your lives more than you know.
The Breakdown of Outdoor Hour Challenges Homeschool Nature Study Resources
- There’s always new or past studies to jump in on. Click over to the Homeschool Nature Study site.
- Barb-Harmony Art Mom has also reviewed The Handbook of Nature Study book here on The Curriculum Choice. Click over for her thorough explanation of this resource: Handbook of Nature Study.
- Interested to see how nature study fits into a homeschool day? I have a category dedicated to the same and share all of our nature studies at Hodgepodge.
How about you? Do you and your children enjoy nature study? Or do you plan to add this delight to your school plans?
~Originally published August 2011 by Tricia. Homeschooling since 2000, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children. She has seen the fruits of home education with three grads so far! With their You ARE an artist art curriculum she, “Nana” and her family are passionate about growing a love of art. She also shares helpful homeschool habits at Hodgepodge and is author of the book, Help! I’m Homeschooling! She and her husband, Steve, are owners of The Curriculum Choice and Homeschool Nature Study.