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Homeschooling has surprised me in many ways, but one of them is how much I love studying birds with my children. Studying birds is not necessary for an excellent homeschool but it has enriched ours in many ways. Unlike many other things children participate in, birding can be a lifelong hobby and joy, no matter your physical abilities or location.
To observe birds well, we have to slow down, be still and wait. Birds teach us so much about seasons, reliance on the Lord and about life, if you stop long enough to consider! Our introduction to birding has started slow but here is how we’ve incorporated it into our home education:
How we incorporate birdwatching for kids into our homeschool
Bird Feeders: As soon as we had a homeschool space established in our home, we put a bird feeder right outside the window. From where we sit and work we can see many birds visit and are careful to always keep our feeders well stocked. I would suggest having a suet feeder and traditional feeder, and any other specialty feeders (hummingbird, oriole) if your location has such birds.
Bird Identification: get yourself a good bird field guide for your area. We love ones like The Kids' Guide to Birds of Minnesota and Birds of Minnesota Field Guide.
Bird Call Identification: our greatest joy in birding has been being able to identify bird calls. Bird Songs Bible has been such a wonderful resource for us, and I know many who have also used The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs and Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song.
Binoculars: Get yourself a pair of binoculars for your children, take them out to the woods and sit awhile. We have observed so many wonderful birds this way. Also at our local nature centers and hiking trails there have been many birds to observe!
A feather treasury: Whenever we are out, we try to keep a look out for bird feathers. These can carry disease, and so should be handled and cared for as so, but we use this guide to feather cleaning and care to store feathers for our nature collections!
Bird activities: I don’t know when birding because popular for children, but there are now some incredible bird resources, games and toys out there for children! Some of our favorites include: bird bingo, the big book of birds, and Bird Count.
- Bird resources: There are some incredible nature study resources available on birds, and our favorites are The Treehouse Schoolhouse Birds of Prey Nature Study and Tanglewood Hollow’s Backyard Bird Identification Cards!
Birding has been such an unexpected pleasure and joy for our family and everywhere we go we get new opportunities to expand our bird knowledge and skills. If you haven’t started studying birds together as a family, consider adding this to your nature study!