Take Homeschooling Outside with Spring Science Notebooks

Experimenting with water flow

Experimenting with water flow

It’s Spring in our area of the world and full of life – trees are leafing out, seedlings are emerging, flowers blooming, and the kids really don’t want to be inside.

So we are spending more time outside. One of the things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility we have to change our location. We can homeschool from anywhere – even outdoors.

Charlotte Mason is well known for her stance on getting kids outside and observing the world. And I agree with her. I’ve intentionally set up our days so the kids spend as much time outdoors as possible. However, that doesn’t solve the need to get some schoolwork done.

We incorporate gardening, butterfly and bird watching into our school days during spring time. But I’m also known to send the kids outside with their reading or lay out in the grass with them reading aloud. And – to just play and follow their creativity, which in itself often leads to more schoolwork than I could ever assign them.

Another way to incorporate outdoor time into schoolwork is with notebooking. Spring science notebooks cover art, science, and language arts in a way that is a lot of fun and easy to do. And the Kids love to show them off to others.  This year instead of doing full science notebooks, we are just doing notebooking pages in a blended notebook, but it works and the kids love it.

If you are new to notebooking, here’s an article from Cindy Rushton, aka the Notebooking Queen, on what you can include in spring science notebooks.  Enjoy!



It is Spring! Why Not Begin a Science Notebook?

by Cindy Rushton

11 yr old working on a notebooking project

11 yr old working on a notebooking project

Today being inside just tortures me! It is STUNNING outside! Even the little birds are begging us to go outside.

Are you like me, dying from “cabin fever” and ready for spring? This is the perfect time to begin Nature Notebooks! Not only will you have an abundance of treasures awaiting your exploration, but these are perfect days to try something fresh. Ready? Let me help…

Chances are you already have many things that could be included in a Science Notebook around your home. Look for those “goodies” that do not have their own special place and add them to your Science Notebooks. This is the perfect opportunity to develop “a place” for those “goodies” while developing a nice product for displaying all the growing knowledge of nature all while your children are keeping special memorabilia!

One of the things that I like about using supplies intended for scrapbooking is that there are so many products that enable us to keep bulky materials safely inside of our notebooks. Not to mention, scrapbooking makes EVERY notebook so much cuter! And,to imagine that we call this “school!”

Want some ideas of things to include in your notebooks?

  • Sketches…Don’t forget to include date, time, place, Latin name, and common name. Oh! Don’t forget to document where you found it.
  • Snapshots – Don’t forget to journal about your snapshot!
  • Pressed flowers, leaves, feathers, butterflies, etc.
  • Glossary of terms studied
  • Artwork (Nature art, original drawings, coloring pages)
  • Diagrams
  • Poetry
  • Information about discoveries
  • Lists of new findings
  • Handouts from trips
  • Narrations from trips, outings, hikes, nature walks, books read about nature or scientists/naturalists
  • Timeline – Mark your excursions, inventions, famous men and women, so on!
  • Instruction Sheets on “How to Care for…” or “How to Collect…” etc.
  • Booklets
  • Project data
  • Bible verses
  • Journal entries
  • Details from outings
  • Favorite quotes about nature
  • Reading list
  • Research
  • Reports
  • Essays
  • Science experiment logs
  • Notes from any Science study

You can add a lot of life to your Science Notebooks with special supplies you find along the way! I have found that the little touches have made our notebooks so much more fun and in the process hooked my children.

Encourage your children to use die-cuts, frames, stencils, shapes, and edgings galore to make their notebooks fun and beautiful!

My children now beg each weekend to work on our binders/scrapbooks. We have taken these simple skills into other projects for our Science studies such as creating books or booklets, making cards with pressed flowers, sketches, poetry and Scripture verses, and displaying our collections. The key is to just have fun and enjoy making your notebooks all yours!

Happy Notebooking!


About Cindy Rushton

Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention.

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3 Responses to Take Homeschooling Outside with Spring Science Notebooks

  1. Laurel says:

    Hi Shannon – Thank you for this idea with the spring notebooks. I am going to try this with my kids. We do a lot of study outside in nature. Have you tried using UV or solar beads when your kids are outside? The beads are white when you are inside and then when they go out in the sun, the beads change color. I like to use them with my kids as they can detect and visually see the effects of the sun. They also know when they need to wear sunscreen. You can buy the beads at Spangler Science – http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1350

  2. Shannon says:

    Laurel – Thanks for the great suggestion on the solar beads. We have used them in a science experiment once (and they are really cool!!), but I never thought about using them as a sunscreen indicator. I have really 3 really fair children who are outside a lOT. Reminding them to put sunscreen on is a bit tedious. My 5 year old would really respond well to your idea of wearing it as a reminder – especially if i only used the beads that turned pink.

    Thanks for the website referral too. My 11 year old and I had fun watching the videos and looking at all the cool science ideas. We love to do science during the summer months and came away with all kinds of ideas.

    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas with us!!

  3. Gurman says:

    This is a really great set of links. I adrlaey use a home management binder system that is pretty good, and I like it because I can edit the PDF files to fit my needs However, I always like looking at new ideas and inspiration for managing my home stuff, too Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather

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