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How to Go About Homeschool Nature Study

How to Go About Homeschool Nature Study

Since I was at school myself I have marked the end of summer with the seeding of the Rosebay Willow Herb. As the pretty pink flowers faded, and were replaced by the floating white seeds I would know autumn was on it’s way and soon the sound of the geese migrating would be heard over head.

Nature study is in it’s most basic form is being in nature and observing. For the younger child it is looking for signs of changing seasons, searching under rocks and bits of trees for mini beasts.

This year we are planning to formalise nature study a little more… as the children become older. We will look at:

  • 3 birds per term
  • 3 plants per term (this includes wild flowers, and trees)
  • 3 animals per terms

This term, which will take up from now until Christmas we will look at, and try to find:

Birds

  • Pink Footed Goose- this migrates to winter in the UK
  • Buzzard- bird of prey easily spottable throughout Scotland
  • Wood Pigeon

Plants

  • Rosebay Willow Herb
  • Horse-Chestnut Tree
  • Yew Tree

Animals

  • Seals- Scotland has an abundance of seals, and autumn is the season they give birth!
  • Squirrels- grey and red, although it is highly unlikely we will be able to see any red, sadly.
  • Hedgehogs- again it would be lovely to see them, but may not be possible. But autumn is the time of year that they prepare for hibernation.
  • To study nature we will have a journal, which we write and draw our observations in. As we go in search of each thing we will prepare before hand by doing a little research into habitat, behaviours, etc this will hopefully maximise our chance of seeing the animals we are looking to study. They choice of animals, birds and plants for this term has been help by the places I know we will be going, for example our homeschool group is planning a trip of watch seals in November, this means studying seals is an obvious choice.

    Other equipment, books that can be useful are field guides, a camera and binoculars. Field guides are available from the local library, there are also many excellent websites with information on wildlife.

    My hope is not only to educate my children as to their rich natural heritage, but that they will grow to love, appreciate and value what is on their door step. So one day they will mark out their year by the changing signs of nature through the seasons.

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