I've been thinking about doing nature study for a while now but it keeps getting put on the back burner. It didn't help that I wasn't really sure how to go about it. I bought this book a couple of years ago hoping it would help.
It's mostly examples of sketches that one could put in a nature journal with a bit of drawing instruction thrown in for good measure. It still didn't really help me figure out how to implement nature study in our lives.
Then I heard about this book.
The Handbook of Nature Study is a how to/field guide. It's massive, the print is small and the amount of info it contains makes this book slightly intimidating.
HNS is in the public domain so you can read it online for free. I prefer print books so I bought a copy.
Now I had the right book but still wasn't sure what to do. I honestly couldn't be bothered to sift through it to figure out a method for nature study. I'm lazy.
Then I found this site. Have I mentioned how much I love the Internet?
Some brilliant blogger with much more patience than I, has done all the work for me. If you scroll down the right sidebar you'll come to her list of challenges. There are 10 introductory lessons that you should complete and then go from there. She posts weekly challenges year round with links to other people's blogs who have wrote about their version of the challenge. She also lists challenges by season. You can download her ebooks for a small fee or just read them on the blog.
I spent a couple of hours on the site the other day and I compiled a list of the challenges I want to complete and a brief summary of what we're supposed to do for each one. We're going to start in the fall with the rest of the school stuff. In the meantime I'm on the lookout for 3 blank journals for myself and the girls to keep our notes and sketches in.
Nature study is not just something for the homeschoolers. I'm sure most kids would enjoy this as well as some adults. It doesn't take a lot of time either. A sit out in the garden or a short 15 minute nature walk is all you need. The point is to take a little time to observe, to stop and smell the roses.