On this day, we ventured out into the backyard for a winter outdoor hour challenge to soak up some sunshine and spot some winter weeds and seeds. Our homeschool nature study time is always a wonderful and well needed break in our homeschool day.
We went to the known spots. First, the althea bush.
Winter Outdoor Hour: Weeds and Seeds Homeschool Nature Study
Back on a recent winter Outdoor Hour snow day, we had noticed some seeds. This bush produces beautiful purple blossoms in summer. We’ve entered a blossom in our state fair several years in a row and won ribbons each time. (The althea bush started from a cutting from my grandmother, Mama Ann’s, house.)
But, we’d never taken the time to look closely at the althea and its seeds in winter before. Guess what? We thought the seeds were just about as beautiful as the summer blossoms. They almost look heart-shaped and have little tufts to carry them on the wind or on the back of a bird or animal.
Next we searched out morning glory vine. Shriveled near the water hose and little balloons of seed pods. Pop them open and those seeds are tiny! This vine loves to climb the bird feeder. Little purple or deep blue blossoms greet us, sparkling with the summer, morning dew. Saying, “good morning, glory!”
Then it was time on this winter outdoor hour for a simple tromp through the woods for collecting. Mimosa pods were everywhere of course! Eldest boy picked up a pine cone, declaring it a seed as well. Yes, we’d learned before where to find the tiny seeds of the pine cone.
I love how these winter homeschool nature studies all flow into each other. Evergreen pine cone, seeds, weeds.
Then… this always seems to happen when I go back inside. The children make a discovery on their own! Love it when that happens.
I noticed them all around one spot. “What did you find?” I ask.
A woolly bear caterpillar! He apparently came out of his winter hibernation. He was a bit shy of all the attention and curled up into a ball. You can’t see it but he has a nice red band of those spiky, porcupine-looking things around his middle.
So, since we remembered back to our caterpillar and butterfly homeschool nature studies of last year, we decided to house this little guy.
We found the caterpillar habitat and researched the caterpillar’s care. More on this in our next study of winter insects!
Inside, we took a closer look at those seeds and sketched in our nature journal pages.
(It always helps to have your favorite stuffed animals close by 🙂
So glad we took a few minutes outside to really notice. A beautiful winter day with hints of spring! You can join in the Outdoor Hour Challenges with Homeschool Nature Study any time! Here is the Winter Weeds Homeschool Nature Study.
Have you noticed anything special in your Winter Outdoor Hour Challenge or your recent homeschool nature studies?
-first published February 2011, updated January 2022