Outdoor Hour Nature Challenge: Week 2

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After a false start, we got back to our weekly nature challenge this week. Due to a change of location for our co-op, we’re now doing our nature challenge at home.

We so do not live in a place conducive to interesting nature study, but I did let my kids drag me a little way into the small wooded area at the end of our street. I was rather surprised at how effective I think it will be for future nature study, but this week, we hadn’t worn clothing appropriate for traipsing around in the woods. I’d planned to simply be in the yard.

I think I’ll be learning as much as the kids with these nature study times. I don’t know what any but just a handful of plants are called and I can only correctly identify a few common trees. We saw some pretty…um…weeds:

pretty weeds

And this oak leaf with, uh, stuff growing on it:

weird oak leaf

My absolute favorite find, though, was the next day on our homeschool group’s field trip to a local corn maze: the first wooly worm I’ve seen in years!

wooly worm

I thought he was dead, but after getting home and reading about wooly worms on the Internet, I am hopeful that he was just playing dead as a defense mechanism.

The challenge for Week #2 is to listen and describe the sounds you hear. I was impressed with the variety of descriptive vocabulary the kids used: chirping cricket, squawking birds, rustling and crackling leaves, just to name a few.

I printed off notebooking pages for the kids to use in their nature journals. They really liked the format that I used, which gave them a large area for drawing and just a few lines for writing about what they saw and heard. They all much prefer drawing to writing and really seemed to enjoy drawing pictures of things we saw on our walk. I was really impressed with some of the detail. Next time I’ll have to take pictures of their journal pages to post.

So, there you have the highlights from this week’s nature challenge. To start your own Outdoor Hour Nature Challenge, visit the Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Nature Study

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I consider myself a ‘nature girl’ but that Oak leaf made me shudder. I wonder what is growing on it? Any ideas?

  2. We saw oak leaves like that when we were camping in the redwoods. I was thinking maybe a fungus? But I don’t know for sure.

  3. I am so glad that you found a place close to home to explore in your outdoor time.

    I think your family did a great job with finding descriptive words. You even did notebooking pages….great job.

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  4. It’s great when you have a place to go that is close to home. Our small woods are close also.
    I never seem to dress appropriately…I end up with scratches on my legs and stickers on my feet!

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