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Nature Study resources -- HandbookofNatureStudy.com or other supplemental resources

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I'm planning to start a nature study with our 9 year old and several others.  We're going to do a series of weekly unit studies, and had already planned to use Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Studies.  I was looking at Pinterest for activities, and stumbled across Handbookofnaturestudies.com, "home of the one-hour nature study."  It appears to be short units with worksheets, videos, and other resources correlated to Comstock's handbook.  Has anyone used this and would be willing to give feedback?


Any other recommended resources would be welcome as well.


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I prefer to focus on phenology of the most common species instead of trying to identify lots of new things.



I like to use everyday language to describe species instead of introducing a lot of scientific vocabulary. The descriptions only need to be as precise as the student is able to observe and draw. Comparing to known things and using familiar vocabulary is the best place to start learning new things.


I have used youtube videos of the species we were studying. And vintage science books with mention of the same species.


I did not always try and link that we were observing outside with what we were most intensively studying with the vintage science books and geographies and youtube videos and such. It was okay that months later we encountered what we had studied earlier. 


Whereas a lot of people make a history rotation the center of their curriculum, HONS and some vintage geographies are my center. I broke up the topics, and while I did mash a history rotation into 4 of the middle years, really all my novels choices and such are chosen more often to match up to the nature study and geography topics than the history.


For ME, the plan is to slowly and steadily and systematically cover all the most common species even when not observing them, as they do come up in literature and most eventually do present themselves while outdoors.


I floundered terribly for a long time till I settled into the above routine. Identification centered and winging things didn't work for me.

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Wow hunter, that sounds really cool. I've looked at your curriculum before, but didn't understand that was how it was organized. I'd love to hear more about how you did that. :D


In the vintage curricula and somewhat still among the old order Amish, content and art subjects are geography/nature study, health/physiology, drawing, singing. History wasn't/isn't studied until the later elementary years, and literature/readers were/are prioritized first. 


I wasn't totally starting from scratch. I am fascinated by vintage teacher manuals. After awhile I was able to see the general education theory of the times. And I say times, because the early 1800's and before, the later 1800's, and the early 1900's had very different methods and curricula.


Montessori, Waldorf, CM, Ella Frances Lynch--they were not the revolutionaries people think they were. They were just compiling stuff that was being talked about by plenty of others. Compiling and organizing is important. But very little was new that they wrote and talked about.


I just started organizing the easiest to obtain books around HONS, and sometimes organized HONS around the history. I shifted and printed and shifted and printed 100s of times. I read some books with tutoring students. I read a lot of the books myself. I shifted and printed and shifted and printed.


I'm a bit OCD. I need to organize things. I needed to organize this information for myself. My PTSD and brain damage makes me disorganized and I forget stuff. To be able to tutor, I need to do a lot of reviewing. So I needed stuff I could hold onto to review. I figured out what was easy to hold onto, and organized that.


I keep reading vintage teacher manuals, and learn from those that obsessed over this stuff already. I tweak things. I read new theory books too. I'm rereading TJEd and the Principle Approach books right now. Not everything in those books is unusable, even if they have been used to in ways that many here wish they were not used.


I just shift, tweak, and obsess year after year and year. And use up a small forest printing out the spreadsheets to stare and stare and stare at. I often carry the latest around, and when I get stuck in a hurry up and wait situation spend some time just staring at the spreadsheet. It is like peeling layers off an onion. Once I get it to a certain stage, I'm able to see the next step of breaking away from some things we are so used to doing, that we don't even realize what we are doing.


I want a list for ME that works for ME. It lets my brain quiet down and rest. I took a break from tutoring for a bit, and...I'm not ready to go back to it yet, for some personal reasons, but my need to pull out the curriculum and tweak it, and get the topic lists and booklists with modern ISBN# started becoming an obsession again. I want struggling moms to have something to print out for the schoolboard that will be accepted by them, and not overwhelming to mom.


I won't talk about the homeless homeschooling families I have met. I wouldn't want anyone to click on here and realize I was talking about them. But those families shaped a lot of this. Those kids READ. Even if they don't get anything else accomplished in the chaos, they read. And at some point they end out in the parks, and what they see in the parks is so much more interesting if they have already read about it. Those of us that live in the big cities love our parks and the critters that live in them. The classics and parks are just important to use here. When nothing else is getting done, we read the classics and go to the park. So that is what became my core.

Edited by Hunter
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Thank you all for the suggestions, they are great!  I'm going to sift through them all and work out our approach.


Hunter, someone mentioned your curriculum.  Does that mean you have a blog/website?


Just some free little pdf spreadsheets schedules in my signature, so far. I'm trying to flesh out the higher grades first, but only have level Bronze finished down to ISBN# and # of chapters and such, and not yet into actual weekly schedules.


The complete 12 year booklist and Ray's math schedule is finished, though. Click on "Rainbow Curriculum" in my signature. Everything I write will always be free and in my signature.


This is an almost entirely public domain curriculum, meant to be usable and enjoyable and applicable to families that are on the move with limited resources. The intended audience is not mainstreamers with unlimited resources, even though some might like it. This is first and foremost for families that are failing to implement other popular methods and meant to address the issues that lead to those failures.


I hope to finish for each level what is finished for Bronze, and then weekly schedules for each level, and then finally maybe some chatty commentary. My intent is not to compete with what is out there, but instead to scoop up the tired and defeated drop outs. And sometimes to inspire people to create their own booklists.


This is solid working class. For example, if you click on Bronze and read the topics list,  music appreciation is listed as an "extra", but "singing, clapping, stomping, improvised and folk instruments" are the core music. We can all sing and clap and bang on a dented trash can. We can all do music. Music is for everyone. Many years ago, I stumbled in Jumbo Book of Music and have never been the same since. https://www.amazon.com/Jumbo-Book-Music-Books/dp/1550747231 A lot of what AO calls the riches are listed as "extras". And some of the "riches" are only scheduled in certain years.


This is not competition. It is some thing else, entirely. I advocate making music with your body and trash, when you get tired of reading from the booklists. I leave it up to the parent to decide is armpit farts are an acceptable form of music.  :lol:

Edited by Hunter
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