It’s my favourite time of year again – time for fall nature study! I love when the hot days of summer begin to recede and the temperatures become bearable again.
We get ready to start up our official schooling and I get to put all my plans into action. Nature study is a huge part of our learning and I’ve put together some great books and activities for the beginning of our fall nature study.
We’re going to be starting back on our loop schedule of nature study, having completed one official year. Loop scheduling is a great way of cycling through topics for review and increased depth of knowledge.
We use loop scheduling for organizing many areas of our lives and schooling. (For more information on loop scheduling and a quick easy course to get you started, check out The Loop Scheduling Workshop from Proverbial Homemaker – it made a huge difference for us!)
Our goals for nature study this year are to include topical books to our morning book basket, go for a weekly nature walk, and continue nature journaling.
Do you use a morning book basket in your homeschool? We just added this great tool to our learning and I can’t believe how much more information we’re covering. And my kids love reading time because it’s super relaxed, we cuddle, or they play and I read out loud to them.
If you want some more information on Book Baskets and adding them to your routine, I wrote a guest post for Encouraging Moms at Home that goes into more detail. There’s also a free printable list of living books for every age and subject. Read more about it at How to teach your kids MORE in less time with a morning basket.
As a part of our fall nature study we are going to look at the life cycle of fruit trees, review the differences between coniferous and deciduous trees, and study the life of a log.
We have several books that we’ll be using in our morning basket to learn more about these ideas. My top 3 picks this year (we’ll be supplementing more from the library) are:
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
This sweet story is all about a little boy named Arnold whose special place is his apple tree. It details what he does in his apple tree during each season of the year and how his tree changes during those seasons. It also includes information on how an apple cider press works and a recipe for apple pie!
Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons
This book is a great beginners guide to the trees around us. It looks at the different parts of a tree, where trees grow, different kinds of trees, what their seeds, bark, roots and leaves are for, and how to identify trees.
There are also instructions for nature study activities such as pressing and rubbing leaves and making bark rubbings. The final page is a list of fun facts to know about trees. This book is really well rounded and filled with beautiful illustrations the whole family can enjoy!
Ellie’s Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell by Judith L. Li
This book is new to our collection this year. It’s a story of a young girl, Ellie, and her explorations in the forest with her friend Ricky.
During a storm a large tree comes down and the children have the opportunity to study the tree and the woods around them to learn about the role of trees in their habitats, the creatures found in the forest, what moss is and more.
The story is filled with beautiful illustrations from Ellie’s nature journal and advice for keeping a field notebook.
As a bonus, you can also check out ellieslog.org for more information on the forest this story was based on, more book recommendations and even a teachers guide for questions and activities to tie in throughout the story.
I have a great Fall Nature Study Pinterest Board, filled with ideas! You can take a look at all the ideas I’ve come across and follow the board if you’d like to stay up to date on all the new ideas added.
Amanda, from Wet & Whistle, has some beautiful photos of leaves she collected, pressed and framed.
And with the beginning of fall on our heels its the perfect time to start watching for the leaves of beautiful colours.
Furthermore, if you need more information on preserving leaves for art projects, including the one above, Carla from Small + Friendly has a great tutorial.
Another classic project is leaf rubbings!
What works better? Leaves with bigger or smaller veins? Softer leaves or harder leaves?
For our fall nature study we’re going to give this one a go from Jodi at The Kitchen Table Classroom. It combines leaf rubbings with resist art for a beautiful twist on a classic fall project.
They make great pendants and I’m dreaming of nature inspired bookmark with a pendant on them.
Stephanie, from Parenting Chaos, shared a simple science experiment using pinecones (which we have in abundance around here).
Ellen of Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop created a botany scavenger hunt that is great for kids of all ages.
Furthermore, she has a free printable that details the different types of leaves, stems, roots & rhizomes, as well as reproductive structures to look for.
And finally, this one builds on our experiment from last winter, How Does a Leaf Breathe.
The idea for this experiment comes from Brenda at Schooling a Monkey.
Tea time is an afternoon routine that we are introducing into our homeschool days this year. In an ideal world we’d have tea time everyday because it’s a great time to regroup and who doesn’t love tea and goodies!
But, in reality, my goal is to have tea time once a week. We’re going to read some poems on trees from my favourite poetry book: Favourite Poems Old and New.
Last year we used Trees by Joyce Kilmer for our copywork, dictation and memorization. (You can find that free printable here.)
So, this year we are going to use What Do We Plant by Henry Abbey.
Although we are focussing on just one poem, there are many great poems on trees, leaves, changing seasons and more in our poetry book.
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Do you use Nature Study as part of your homeschooling? I’d love to know what you are up to! Leave me a comment below and let me know!