Erin Dean

Welcome to Nature/Outdoors

How to Use This Course

The Nature/Outdoors class on is a class that helps students appreciate the wonders of nature by keeping any type of nature journal that works for the individual student. Classes are presented for two different climates, generally in groups of four weeks for each pair of topics. Included are science experiments, art, crafts, journaling, photography, and more to encourage learning and a love of nature. These classes can be taken in any order, so the student can study the subjects that interest them most. And you can always add in other subjects that they may be surprised to find so interesting!

Course Details

Course Introduction

Nature/Outdoors is a favorite among nature lovers! This wonderful class by Erin Dean encourages students to explore nature and the outdoors through instruction, videos, informative websites, and hands-on activities. Erin has created Nature/Outdoors to be enjoyable for all students, no matter where they call home. Most lessons have two tracks, e.g., bears and ants simultaneously, so that students can choose one or the other. They can, of course, do both tracks each month, depending on their interest level. Erin has provided engaging activities to learn about the animals or the habitats she covers in this course. Where safety might be an issue, such as the lessons on bears and snakes, she provides ample warning to watch from afar or simply watch the videos provided.

All ages, from preschool through adult, are sure to enjoy this course. Erin asks a variety of questions related to each topic to encourage detailed observation, and she includes science experiments, art, crafts, journaling, photography, and more.


Lessons include written instruction, links to informative websites and videos, journaling, and hands-on activities


14 units; most units have four weekly lessons on a topic; many have multiple tracks that can be followed. For example, Unit 1 includes four lessons on evergreens and four lessons on sand.


Elementary-middle school

Course Outline

  • Unit 1: Evergreens and Sand
  • Unit 2: Birds and Wildflowers
  • Unit 3: Animal Tracks and Traveling Seeds
  • Unit 4: Night Sky and Rainbows
  • Unit 5: Ponds and Trees
  • Unit 6: Owls
  • Unit 7: Mosquitoes
  • Unit 8: Acorns
  • Unit 9: Migration and Fungi
  • Unit 10: Cold Weather: A Study of Winter and Warm Weather: A Study of Lichens and Mosses
  • Unit 11: Creeks
  • Unit 12: Wild Birds and Wolves and Coyotes
  • Unit 13: Squirrels and Snakes
  • Unit 14: Bears and Ants

Download a Preview

Enjoy a preview of Erin Dean’s Nature/Outdoors class.

Course Completion Certificates

Go to all Nature/Outdoors lessons.

Find other great science resources in our Focused Learning Centers.


Erin (Eddie) Dean has been homeschooling her bright, high-energy, and loquacious children for almost nine years. The children are 5, 12, and 20 (graduate) and can almost always be found side by side, often with foam swords, video camera, or both. She’s a lifelong hiker and roamer and married to Simon, a very supportive computer programmer/business analyst, kayak enthusiast, and husband who shares her love of all things outdoors—and is blind to messes. Erin’s background includes accounting, developing children’s programs for a large community center, and more years of wrangling other people’s children than she likes to admit.

When she’s not here, she can be found at her blog The Usual Mayhem. There, she shows the good, the bad, and the chaos of one homeschooling family, and shares her love of nature with anyone who’s foolhardy enough to step through the door.