(Update · 22 February 2024: The Great Backyard Bird Count for 2024 has entered the history books. Nearly 300,000 reports were submitted from all around the world, and more than 7000 species of birds were recorded. Check the GBBC website (birdcount.org) for ongoing analysis of the results in the coming weeks. And of course you don’t have to count birds only for this special event — it’s an ideal homeschool activity all year round!) 🐦
We love natural history in the River Houses, and we think bird study in particular is one of the best educational activities you can take up in a homeschool environment. It’s suitable for all ages, it can be made as elementary or as advanced as you wish, it teaches a wide range of facts and skills, and it can be done at all times of year and just about anywhere.
There’s no better way for beginners to get started with bird study than through the big annual event that’s coming up in February: the Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by Cornell University and many other nature organizations. The count is held over the Washington’s Birthday weekend so the dates this year are 16–19 February 2024:
The idea is simple: just count the birds you see in your backyard (or any other single location) for at least 15 minutes on one or more days during the four-day count period, and then submit your list to the GBBC website. Your counts will be combined with tens of thousands of others to generate a snapshot of current bird populations across the United States and around the world. Your homeschool observations will become part of a real international scientific project.
Please join in! On the GBBC website you can print out a set of beautiful Great Backyard Bird Count posters as well as a handsome GBBC certificate (available each year after the count is complete) — all ideal things to display on your homeschool bulletin board.
How many birds can you and your students find this year in your homeschool neighborhood? 🐦
❡ Books in the running brooks: Our recommended homeschool reference library includes an excellent bird guide that would serve your homeschool well. Many other similar guides are also available — find one that’s a good fit for your family and take it with you on all your outings, whether far afield or just out to the backyard. 🦉
❡ Come, here’s the map: Natural history and geography are deeply interconnected. One of the first questions you should teach your students to ask about any kind of animal or plant is, “What is its range? Where (in the world) does it occur?” Our recommended homeschool reference library also includes an excellent world atlas that will help your students appreciate many aspects of biogeography, the science of the geographical distribution of living things. 🌎
❡ Whether they work together or apart: This is one of our regular Homeschool Natural History posts and it’s also one of our “Lunar Society” posts about the many independent “citizen science” projects that we recommend to homeschool students. Add your name to our free weekly mailing list and get more great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 📫
❡ Homeschool calendars: We have a whole collection of free, printable, educational homeschool calendars and planners available on our main River Houses calendar page. They will help you create a light and easy structure for your homeschool year. Give them a try today! 🗓
❡ Support our work: If you enjoy our educational materials, please support us by starting your regular Amazon shopping from our very own homeschool teaching supplies page. When you click through from our page, any purchase you make earns us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping us to keep going and growing! 🛒
❡ Join us! The aim of the River Houses project is to create a network of friendly local homeschool support groups — local chapters that we call “Houses.” Our first at-large chapter, Headwaters House, is now forming and is open to homeschoolers everywhere. Find out how to become one of our founding members on the Headwaters House membership page. 🏡