Thank You Handbook Of Nature Study!

2554230385_267cdef370_mIt started in February of 2010.  We answered a challenge to take part in the Handbook of Nature Outdoor Hour Challenge.  Feeling pretty proud and puffed up, the boys and I set out to study Pine Trees in Winter.  Ya, I know.  Anytime you have Proud and Puffed up in a sentence, you know that only embarrassment and pain will follow.  We spent the greater part of the afternoon observing and drawing Sitka Spruce Trees.

 What we learned that afternoon – more than to never mistake a Sitka for a Pine – was how much we didn’t know about the world that we saw – but did not observe every day.

A visit from a friend in February sparked the love for Nature Sketching when she shared a book by Clare Walker Leslie – which was timely – as the next challenge we took part of was on Sketch Books. The sketching brought our focus to the details that we could observe, small sketches, not dependent on Art or Talent, but Desire and Joy.

By March we had moved into the Spring Series and had been encouraged to start our Notebooking Journey – a move from Lapbooking for our family. We purchased the inexpensive booklet to guide us through the Spring.  We were hooked. Each week we discovered more and more of what we had not been Seeing.

DSCN0009This evening, a neighbor passed down a large three ring binder to our family – and I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for. Our Nature Notebooking Pages – that we have collected – since that Spring Series. Each folder was created per season – little by little.



What a joy to look through the notes!


A few tabs to mark the Seasons.


These early drawing sketches made me tear up a little.
Amazing how far their sketch work has come.
Maybe this week I‘ll post some current drawings.



So I encourage you. To start with ONE CHALLENGE.  See if you don’t learn something. See if you don’t enjoy time with your family outside. See if you don’t meet great folks on the blog link ups.  I bet you will. I know I did.

Maybe by the end of the year
your son will spot a mammal on the side of the road
and insist that you back up so he can roll down his window
and take a zoomed photo for the Mammal Study.
(Taken Sunday by the 10 year old boy after the Mammal Study was ‘turned in’. )


And maybe, at the end of the year (more likely before) you will have a special spot in your heart – for one Harmony Art Mom named Barb, and for her family for allowing her to spend her time encouraging others, from the words that have inspired her own family.


Thank you Barb, and your whole family, for the time you have given to us this year. 
May you continue to be a blessing to so many more families – as well as to ours.

(I asked the boys at almost 10pm on the fly what they would like to add)

It’s really fun to do, and sometimes a challenge. I like to go to the gardens and look for the colors. It is the part of school that I really like. “The nature studies are easy and fun.”   I learned that there are a lot of colors in plants that I never noticed. I got up close to the plants. I never knew how many creatures and bugs live in the ground when you dig just one shovel of dirt. – Jon

Thank you for the nature study. It is a really fun thing to do on sunny days!  I have learned to observe nature more. – Nate

Go on.  Click on over. Find a challenge. You can do it!  (I searched my WordPress by Category and came up with 45 Challenge Posts.  Woot! Not even sure I tagged them all!)

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
This entry was posted in Outoor Hour Challenge, Some Schooling. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Thank You Handbook Of Nature Study!

  1. Pingback: Curriculum Hops! | Petra School

  2. Tricia says:

    Angie – I think we joined the OHC around the same time. And all you have shared from your heart and your family rings true with us at Hodgepodge too. Nature study – with Barb’s direction – brought the delight to our homeschool. We anticipate the next studies, the next seasons, the next discovery! It’s an answer to a prayer really – that love of learning that was turned on. It overflows into other subjects as well now. Those habits we’ve learned via OHC.

    Your notebooks are absolutely wonderful! Thank you for this tribute. For sharing your family with each challenge. ~ Tricia

  3. Jess says:

    Thank you for putting so eloquently how I feel about the OHC. We have used the OHC for over a year now and have also realized just how little we know about the world right outside our door! If it were not for Barb we would still be ignorantly rushing by all the wonder and beauty of the world we live in. We have neglected out nature studies this year after the birth of a new baby but we are looking forward to a great return this spring and are so glad that she is there to help us.

  4. Diane says:

    Thanks for the post. It has reminded me just how much we need to get back to nature study.

  5. What a great concept! I love that you’re having such wonderful experiences as a family and that your boys are gaining so many skills along with a love of nature. Thanks for sharing your experiences! Visiting from Hip Homeschool Hop.

  6. Just so others will know what I think about Angie-a copy of the email that I sent her:

    Dear Angie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the OHC. You have NO idea how much I needed to hear your words and see your experiences documented for me today. I have been struggling with the direction of what I want to do online and this just cemented my conviction to keep the OHC going.

    To see how much this simple idea has helped just one other family, makes it all worthwhile. It takes away the sting from the criticism I have received lately and it makes me see more clearly that what I do online matters.

    I still treasure the card you sent me last year about the dandelions and it is prominently displayed on my bulletin board right by where I work on my laptop. It is a little reminder that there are real humans out there, living and breathing families that are taking to heart something that I think will effect their children for the rest of their lives and in some way bring them closer to the Creator through directly seeing his fingerprints all around us in everyday things.

    I so wish you lived closer today so we could take a walk together and just chat. Thank you for being real and for being willing to put yourself out there on the internet every week with the OHC. I know that there are many in the community that value your posts as much as I do.

    Thanks so much for being you.

  7. Heather says:

    Yea, for Barb!!

  8. You write well the words from my heart as well.

  9. Christine says:

    I’ve always wanted to try one of these but was never sure how to start. I’ll check into it now.

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