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The Outdoor Hour ~ Challenge #4



Wow .. fitting our Outdoor Hour nature study into our week has been difficult impossible. But, nature has been on our mind all the time, especially when it comes to Birds.


I entered a contest to win Your Backyard by Crowe's Nest MEDIA and WON! We have received the dvd, but haven't watched it yet. I am wanting to do a real bird study starting in January, when we get settled back into somewhat of a normal schedule.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #4
It’s Coming Into Focus

1. In the Handbook of Nature Study,
read “The Uses of Scientific Names” on pages 10 and 11. Also read “The Field Notebook” on pages 13-15. Highlight or underline the points that you would like to remember.

2. I am going to suggest that you pick a focus area for your nature study. Taking into account what you have close at hand, what season it is, and your child’s interest, look through the table of contents in the Handbook of Nature Study and pick one section that you will focus on for the next six to eight weeks. It might be a good time to study garden flowers (bulbs), wildflowers, birds, or trees if it is already warm in your area. If you still have lots of snow, you could focus on mammals, birds, or water forms. (For suggested nature study rotations using the Handbook of Nature Study, see the Ambleside Online’s nature study page for ideas. http://amblesideonline.org/NatureSch.shtml) If you have chosen a focus area, turn to the introductory page for that section and take the time to read just that page in the Handbook of Nature Study.

3. Take your 10-15 minute walk outdoors. Encourage your children to observe quietly for some of that time, helping to train them to be aware of the sounds as well as the sights of their own backyard. If you have chosen a focus, spend a few minutes looking for an object to study. Be alert to ideas for further research in your focus area. For example, if you have chosen birds as your focus area, you can look for feathers or nests as well as the birds themselves.

4. Follow up with discussion and research in your focus area if you have chosen one. If you have chosen a focus, begin a list of items that you have observed that fall within that subject. For example, if you have chosen birds as your focus, try to identify a bird you saw today, look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study, and read more about that particular bird if possible. Add the bird’s name to your list of birds seen for the term. Please Note: If your child found something to research other than an object from your focus area, be flexible and go with their interest.

5. Give the opportunity for a nature journal entry.
"The book should be considered the personal property of the child and should never be criticized by the teacher except as a matter of encouragement; for the spirit in which the notes are made is more important than the information they cover."

Our Focus Area for the next few months is going to be Birds. My intention is for us to study the changes of birds from Winter to Spring, and to pay close attention to the goings-on of the Spring birds. We also put up a new Purple Martin house at the end of last summer, and it was too late in the season for us to get any takers. It will be fun to see if a scout finds our house.

We live at the top of a bluff and have these super large black birds that float high in the air. The other day there were about five of them in our neighbors' backyard. That was the first time we had ever seen them up close. We couldn't tell what they were and started our research. We took some photographs and have since listened to their calls. We think we know what they are, and will reveal it soon. We'll wait until after Christmas, though, because I am getting my Handbook of Nature Study for Christmas from my husband and I have ordered some fictional books about this particular bird from the library that I would like us to read first.

In the meantime we are just paying attention to what is around us.

Today we made Christmas shaped bird feeders to hang in our tree, and added fresh water to our bird bath.




We'll be officially starting our Bird study after Christmas. See you then!

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