We think bird study is one of the best subjects 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 can be a solitary or a social activity, and birds can be found just about anywhere at any season of the year. We recommend adding a good standard bird guide to every homeschool library, and over the course of the upcoming homeschool year (beginning next week!) we will be posting a series of reviews of all the birds of North America using our recommended bird guide as a reference.
Another valuable resource that every homeschool naturalist should be familiar with is the eBird service from Cornell University (ebird.org). eBird is a major website and database of bird observations from around the world, contributed by regular folks just like you and your students. We refer to it throughout the year in our homeschool natural history posts.
The best way for beginners to get started with eBird is with the free online mini-course “eBird Essentials” that you and your students can take together:
eBird Essentials is a three-hour introduction to eBird and bird study, all online with no materials to buy, and it will help you learn how to find birds in your local area, identify them, and record your observations in a way that will make them useful to others. The instructor is a K–12 education specialist, and you can even get a continuing education certificate (for a fee) if you’re so inclined.
I use eBird almost every day myself to track what I see in my neighborhood and so do tens of thousands of other people around the world. Why not join us?
What ornithological observations and naturalistical notes will you and your students be making in the wonderful homeschool year ahead? 😊
❡ 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 includes an excellent world atlas that will help your students appreciate many aspects of biogeography, the science of the geographical distribution of living things. 🌎
❡ Nature notes: This is one of our regular Homeschool Natural History posts. Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞
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