Practical Homescholing Award for Science 2020

What an honor again to be in the top spot for the Practical Homeschooling Magazine Awards for 2020! I can’t tell you how much this means to me to receive this award for being a top elementary school science curriculum. I write about things I love and am passionate about. To know that the families who use my plans love them too keeps me motivated to go on creating the best homeschool nature study site on the web!


I’ve been writing the Outdoor Hour Challenge since 2008. The list of topics covered with the weekly nature study lessons and ideas has grown to be a complete library of resources for families to use no matter the weather and no matter the environment.

It makes my heart soar to know that homeschooling families feel my program has enriched their lives and given them a solid science curriculum to use as a means of learning about nature together.

Thank you to all of you who voted and those that have supported this worldwide community of nature-loving families throughout the past decade.

The 2020 Practical Homeschooling® Reader Awards™ will be announced in the Summer 2020 issue of Practical Homeschooling magazine. The Reader Awards have been a regular feature in the magazine since 1998. Thousands of homeschoolers rank the curriculum they have used, and the products with the highest satisfaction ratings win.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

As a BIG thank you, I’m going to be extending a discount code for you to use towards ANY level of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Discount code: 2020AWARD

Use this code at checkout and you will receive $10 off your purchase of a membership.

If you choose an Ultimate Naturalist Library Membership, this will give you all current 26 ebooks, including the Herb ebook!

Printables for Members Button

Newsletter Index download

PLUS, you’ll receive access to the printables library with dozens of notebooking pages and activities for you to print out. PLUS, it will include access to all 76 archived issues of the monthly newsletter.

Benefits by Level graphic  26 ebooks

Now is the time to join so you can start using the resources right away and then for the next year of your membership!

Thank you so much for your love and support of the Handbook of Nature Study!

2020-2021 Outdoor Hour Challenge Plans

2020 to 2021 plan graphic with ebook covers2

Would you like to join us for the next school year using the Outdoor Hour Challenge as your science/nature study curriculum? Take a look at this entry to see what our topics will include over the next year. They will be based on the ebooks shown in the graphic above AND printables from the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Do you want to get started with nature study in your family? Why not give the Outdoor Hour Challenge a try in your family. I have never regretted the decision to make nature study a regular part of our homeschooling experience.


Don’t forget to use the discount code: 2020AWARD



New Ebook is Now Available-Herb Nature Study

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

Ultimate and Journey Level members can click this graphic to go directly to the library to download a copy of this new ebook. Make sure you are logged in and if you’re having trouble with your password, please leave me a comment or send me a direct email to receive my assistance. Email: [email protected]


New Ebook is Now Available to Members!

The Herb ebook is now ready for you to download and use with your family. I’ve been creating the challenges for this ebook over the past year for your family to use while growing and enjoying some fragrant and delicious herbs in your garden.

We’ll be working through this ebook during the upcoming 2020-2021 school year but you can use the challenges this summer if you want to jump start some easy nature study right in your own yard.

2020 to 2021 plan graphic with ebook covers2

I released the 2020-2021 plan for nature study last week. Please click over to the entry to see the complete plan.


In the new Herb ebook are eight brand new Outdoor Hour Challenges for you to complete as part of your nature study lessons with your children. These challenges are not based on information in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. You’ll be using internet links and field guides to glean information about each topic.

  • This 49 page digital ebook has 8 challenges and supplemental activities that will help you learn about some popular and common herbs you can easily grow in your garden.
  • There are multiple custom notebooking pages for each of the topics. You can choose from simple notebook pages or more advanced notebooking pages.
  • There are 6 coloring pages.
  • Sample: Print an ebook sample here: Cilantro Nature Study

Here are the specific topics included in this ebook:

  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Bee Balm
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Mint

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

How do you get the new Herb ebook?

Members of the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey levels have access to the new ebook in their library. You need to click the “Members Area” button at the top of the website, sign into your account, and the ebook is there to download and save for your family to use when desired.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

If you don’t have a membership yet, I am offering a $5 off discount code that will be good towards your Ultimate Naturalist membership.

Discount Code: HERBS4U



Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge- Juniper Tree Nature Study

I love the juniper tree habitat found here in Central Oregon. It’s the quintessential landscape of the western United States with its rough and rugged tree bark and gnarly limbs. The juniper tree plays an important role in the habitat as shelter and food for the local animals and birds. Take some time to learn about this tree with blue berries as part of your nature study lessons this week.

I’ve included a few ideas below to help you get started. Then turn to the challenge in the High Desert ebook available in the Ultimate or Journey level memberships for more ideas to use with your family.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Juniper Tree Nature Study

Common Species Found in the Western United States

¨ Western Juniper  or Juniperus occidentalis

¨ Rocky Mountain Juniper or Juniperus scopulorum

¨ Utah Juniper or Juniperus osteosperma

Use these ideas to get you started with your juniper tree study:

  • Look in your tree field guide for juniper trees or use the links above for detailed information, including range maps.
  • You may wish to view this helpful video: Rocky Mountain Juniper.

See the High Desert ebook for more juniper nature study ideas!


Please note that I will not be posting the complete challenge here on the blog.  You’ll find the detailed challenge in the High Desert ebook that’s available both in the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships. Sign into your account and download the ebook for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

High Desert Ebook cover graphic

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 25 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!

Topics in this ebook include:

  • Bitterbrush
  • Sagebrush
  • Greater sage-grouse
  • Succulents
  • Mountain Lion
  • Coyote
  • Pocket Gopher
  • Bristlecone Pine
  • Elk
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Juniper
  • Snowberry
  • Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
  • River Otter


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Use the discount code NATURESTUDYFUN for $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.