Conquer Your Fear of Homeschool Science with Nature Studies

I never liked science in school. But, I didn’t want that to hinder me from my kids a chance at enjoying science. How could I do this and not get bored in a dry textbook? Nature Studies! Let me explain how nature studies helped with teaching homeschool science for us!

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Homeschool Science

Nature studies can be done in a number of different ways. You can get a pre-planned study. One that gives you the ideas to do and the extra supplies or books to have on hand.

NaturExplorers

We have done this with the NaturExplorers from Our Journey Westward. This is a fun and simple way to get some science in. There are NaturExplorers for all seasons, even when it gets extremely cold here in Minnesota!

No-Sweat Nature Studies

Another great resource from Our Journey Westward is the No-Sweat Nature Studies that Cindy does live (or catch the replay). Ray Ray loves to study things, but he doesn’t like being out in different weather conditions. This is a fun way to have someone else teach them at times.

Nature Walks

Nature walks can happen with little to no planning. Go for a walk and pay attention to different things. Listen to the sounds around you and see if you can name them. Pay attention to a river or stream. What is happening around the shore? Go home and follow it on a map and see where it goes. Anything outside can be studied. It doesn’t have to be hard. You can always use the internet to help dig in deeper.

On our nature walks, sometimes we go without anything in our hands. Sometimes we print up some nature journal pages. We love to grab these from Productive Homeschooling. There are some that have lines for writing, and others are just fun to doodle on. We have done both, some doodling with added writing for the older ages and some just doodling for the younger ages.

What are some fun things you have done to make homeschool science fun?

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Wonders of Creation – A MasterBooks Review

My kids love books. This is no surprise! We have been reading books since they were babies. While they love reading books, sometimes reading to learn is not always as fun. We have had a chance to take a look at the digital copy of Wonders of Creation: Design in a Fallen World from MasterBooks. This book has helped us enjoy learning while reading!

What It Is

We had the digital copy of Wonders of Creation, but there is also a physical copy if you want to actually get your hands on this book!

Our digital copy has 218 pages from start to finish. There are 14 chapters in the book:

Table of Contents

  • 1. Since the Creation of the World
  • 2. Land Mammals
  • 3. Sea Creatures
  • 4. Birds and Flight
  • 5. Insects
  • 6. Stars and Planets
  • 7. Starlight and Time
  • 8. Beauty
  • 9. Mathematics and Beauty
  • 10. Materials
  • 11. Mankind
  • 12. A Changed World
  • 13. The Six Days of Genesis
  • 14. What Happened?

This book will not only talk about the perfect world that God created, but it ends with what went wrong. This is not a dark and terrible ending, rather we are walked through the fall that Adam and Eve created, and we are learning about the why’s that have come from this. The explanations have not only helped my kids understand the pain and suffering of the world, but it has also helped me understand it better!

How We Used It

Since this was not a textbook, there are no questions to be answered, besides our own, we used this as a book to read as we wanted. We started reading from the beginning but found ourselves jumping to the different categories that we were more interested in.

While we didn’t always use this for a textbook, I did decide that we would pull this out and read at least one section a week. This allowed us to talk about how everything was made perfectly the way that God had created it. It was the perfect break in our typical school and allowed us to still learn.

What We Thought Of It

We give this book thumbs up! We really enjoyed scrolling through and looking at the pictures. This leads to us reading about the different creations of the world and how they work. While reading about the Fall is not something we look forward to, this book was able to describe it in a great way for all of us to understand.

This is a book that my kids will be loving for years to come. I love knowing that my kids will be able to learn about creation with a strong biblical viewpoint. This will help them defend their faith and know that all was created just the way God wanted it to be.

If you are looking for a beautiful book full of great pictures and useful information, you will want to grab a copy of Wonders of Creation for yourself!

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Nature Study and Notebooking in Our Homeschool

*Affiliate links are in this post. Nothing changes for you, I just get a percentage if you order something.

In our homeschool, we have found that sometimes we need to take our learning outside of the books. This is something that helps both the kids and me. Finding a way to take the learning outside of the books is not always easy, but you just need to look outside of the box, literally.

After years of homeschooling, man it feels weird to say that, I have finally realized that some days we just need to put the books away and have some fun. One thing my kids don’t realize is that even without their textbooks and worksheets, we have still been able to spend a lot of time learning. How do we do it? Well, we get outside and learn from the environment that God gave us to learn from!

Nature Study

One of these tricks is to do nature studies with the kids. When the weather is nice, and even when it isn’t, we like to get outside and see what is happening around us. My kids are not like me in any way when it comes to bugs. These kids go and find rocks to turn over just to see what bugs are under them. They will find a bug and ask me to take a picture of it. When we do that, they beg me to go on Google and see what kind it is.

Once we find out the type of bug it is, the kids have more questions. We are able to spend time digging into the type of bug, what it eats, the enemies it may have and so forth. The kids don’t think this is school for them. They think they are out exploring, but when they can recall the information when they see a similar bug, I know they are learning!

Since we live in Minnesota, we have all kinds of weather. Not only do we get to get outside when the sun is shining, but we get out there when there is snow on the ground. The best thing about this is seeing the new animal prints in the fresh snow. This is another time we like to take pictures and guesses as to what animal made those tracks. This has even lead us into a discussion about what animals are awake during the winter and those who hibernate!

Notebooking

As an add-on to our nature studies, I have been printing pages from NotebookingPages.com for the kids to use when we are outside. These pages help us focus our attention on different things. We have used the pages for looking at birds and at trees. These pages don’t give much of anything specific, rather just pages that allow us to write what we are learning.

We found some great pages on trees. This allowed us to learn about the leaves and the bark of different trees. Even when we didn’t have the pages in front of us, the kids would notice the difference in the trees when we would go for walks. I love watching the kids see these differences without me pointing them out.

We also use pages from NotebookingPages.com for watching the birds at the feeders. The kids will draw pictures of the birds they see, marking down when they see them and any information they want to see. I keep a bird watchers book handy in case the kids want to use it, but I don’t require it. All I want them to do it watch the birds. Our favorite birds are the cardinals and orioles. The kids can tell what each likes to eat and when they like to eat. We recently got a bird bath that used to belong to my great grandpa, so we have a new way of watching the birds and how they take care of themselves.

It is so fun to see the kids learning outside of our classroom setting. I love knowing that even on the days that the kids don’t want to open their textbooks, we can still spend time learning.

I am joining in with the Homeschool Review Crew Round-up on Non-book Learning. Want to read more about this? Check them out right here:

Hands On Experiential Learning ROUND UP {Homeschool Link UP}

What’s Hoppin’ at Hopkins Homeschool – January 21, 2018

NaturExplorers

Wow, another week has happened! Where did that go? I can tell you that I honestly don’t know! I have had an issue of getting myself ready for a week when I wasn’t ready for it. I had all the best intentions, but no motivation to make it happen. However, being in the homeschool way, we can make things work as we see fit!

NaturExplorers

This week started slow. Monday was a holiday that I hadn’t planned on taking off, but did anyway. After taking that day off, I felt behind for the week. I couldn’t understand, mentally, that we were on a Tuesday and not a Monday.

Tuesday was the worst Monday that I have had in a while! I didn’t have the lesson plans done for the week and the kids didn’t want to do anything if they didn’t have to. I was not happy that I was behind, which in turn caused the kids to not want to do anything.

We finally got some things done, and they actually went smoothly for how the day had started. This was a great thing. I was happy to turn my flop into a success!

But before I went to bed Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Ray Ray came downstairs, he had a tummy ache and we spent time in the bathroom until 4am. Lucky for us, he didn’t get sick, but it was no fun.

This means that Wednesday was a long day! There was very little school that got done, there was lots of water being passed around and lots of rest was required, especially for mama! I didn’t want anyone else to come down with this, and I especially didn’t want to get this.

Of course, by Thursday I had little hope for the week. Everyone was feeling better and our Minnesota weather allowed us to get outside again. We were able to spend time working on our Coping with the Cold unit study. This has been such a great way to get school in when we really don’t want to do anything.

Winter NaturExplorers 735x1102 (Pinterest)

I love how many great studies Cindy has over at Our Westward Journey. There is something for everyone and for something for every season. There is no true day by day lesson plan, but I have no problem to grab what I need when I plan my lessons out for the day. We also love how there are ideas to use this in conjunction with our Winter Time Morning Plans.

Another thing we did get done this week was our new music lessons! I love that we found a great Charlotte Mason style of music. This fits our homeschool style so much! Finding something that is simple, yet effective and all laid out for me is great. I love it!

So, this week we have had a few fails, some that we could have avoided, like me and lesson plans, and some that we couldn’t control, like the sickness. But, through this week we have been able to learn a lot. While it may not have been on our lesson plans, we did learn a lot this week!

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Weekly Wrap-Up

5 Days of Homeschooling Without Going Insane ~ Notebooking and Nature Studies

Day 2 of the 5 Days of Homeschooling Without Going Insane with the 5 Days of Homeschooling Blog Hop from the Homeschoool Review Crew is here. Are you ready? Yesterday I talked about the bad days that everyone has and how to make them work for you. Today? Well, today I want to talk about Nature Studies and Notebooking!

Notice how both Nature Studies and Notebooking start with N? If you have been following the blog, you know that being Tuesday, today is the blogging through the alphabet day! Annette and I are here with the Letter N this week!

For the letter N, I want to spend some time talking about Notebooking and Nature Studies. These are two things that I took for granted when we started homeschooling. While not being complex at all, they seemed to me that it would take too much of my already valuable time to try and use these two things. Hey, I was wrong!

The first thing I actually started using with the kids was notebooking. I fell in love with the site Notebooking Pages and all the fun stuff that I found there. In fact, I even did a review of their site last year.

Notebooking Pages Homeschool Giveaway

I love letting my kids learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it. Notebooking helps me do that. If they find a fun website full of information, I have them write about on the notebooking pages. When Ray Ray finds something he likes, I have him find a page that he likes and let him write, or draw or both about what he is learning. With notebooking, I don't have to stress about what the kids are learning, but I get to watch them learn about what they want and I build off of that.

Notebooking also allows for us to take advantage of sites like SchoolhouseTeachers.com and their new addition, World Book. This new addition to the membership allows me the chance to let the kids explore their interests in a way that I would not be able to afford. If you have not checked this out this part of the site, you should do so! I can't believe how much it has added to our already awesome membership!

After finding out how easy notebooking was, I decided to take another look at nature studies, and you know what, this is another simple thing I had been passing up for too long!

Nature studies is a simple study that allows you to simply take your child outside to pique their interest in learning what is around them. I have currently been fighting with Ray Ray about learning science and looking for a way to introduce science to Little Miss. With nature studies, all I need to do is take my kids outside and they are learning! Notebooking is a great companion to nature studies and we love some of the outdoor themed pages that are available.

We love doing the Outdoor Hour Challenge with the Handbook of Nature Studies. There are so many great challenges here to get you outside, and they expand on the learning in many different ways. I was able to get Ray Ray interested in Science just by bringing him outside and telling him to watch the Robins.

Homeschool doesn't have to be all books and computer work. That is when the learning stops and the arguments begin. Find a fun way to learn and the kids will attack it and not you! My days got so much easier after we started using notebooking and nature studies. I don't know why I waited, but I am glad that we are using it now!

Do you a Letter N post? We would love to hear about it!

I am also linking back to the Homeschool Review Crew and the 5 Days of Homeschooling Blog Hop. Did you want to find more encouragement for your homeschool? Check out these other Day 2 posts right here:

 



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