Nature Study Resources
Nature study can be tackled in 15 minutes 3x per week. The three parts to nature study are lessons, lore and observation. Lore are tales that bring it to life for the child. You can link the lore, lessons and observation or you can just read the next chapter in the book that you choose. Certainly the latter is the easier choice. I use Our Wonderful World for lessons, Burgess Bird book for lore. When lessons come up, we read the next chapter, when lore comes up, we read the next chapter. Observation I send them out into the yard with a plastic baggie. We study what they find. The lessons and lore make the animals real to them and prompts them to observe them. An extra would be pulling books and learning about naturalists in history and their mark on history.
Charlotte Mason would suggest no formal lessons before 6. But she would be adamant about nature study. Nature study changes your brain and the way that you observe the world. It changed me forever. Nature IS science - it is physics and chemistry and biology and zoology and anatomy. The greatest minds in history started with nature study and deep observation of the world around them. Leonardo DaVinci, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein: Famous visionaries who kept a journal. Nature study is a great way to move from Nature journaling to Common placing. Some of the greatest minds in history we naturalists first before anything else. Artist and Scientists are more alike than different.
- Sabbath Mood Homeschool - Nature study - The REAL scientific method! Why do it? What is the point?
- From the above link - a quote from Charlotte Mason regarding nature study - "Years hence, when the children are old enough to understand that science itself is in a sense sacred and demands some sacrifices, all the ‘common information’ they have been gathering until then, and the habits of observation they have acquired, will form a capital groundwork for a scientific education. In the meantime, let them consider the lilies of the field and the fowls of the air. (1/63, emphasis mine)"
- Foraging Texas - Botanist website run by a man who frequents Jesse Jones Park in Humble, Texas. Learn about medicinal uses for plants found in the forests in Texas!
- Learning Herbs - Create remedies, become and herbalist, have fun with kids.
- Living Science/Nature Study Hub - The best Nature Study information all in one place.
- Our Wonderful World - Free - on DIY Homeschooler
- Storybook of Science
- Eyes and No Eyes by Arabella Buckley
- Anything by Jean Fabre
- Christian Liberty Press Books
- Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
- BIG list of lore on the Sabbath Mood Website! Choose any of these. Many can be found on audio on LibriVox, Youtube, or Podcast Addict (She categorizes lessons and lore together I think or maybe I categorize them differently, but it's a great list of both lessons and lore.
- Soda Bottle Bird Feeder kit - make your own for $2.95 plus the cost of a 2 liter bottle of soda.
- Exploring nature with children - I will say that I had a great program going, and found this curriculum and implemented it in August. And I killed the wonder of nature study because we were too bogged down by curriculum. January came and we picked up where we left off and we chunked this curriculum. HOWEVER, some people may need something like this, and that is why I include it here. You could also blend both worlds and do 3 days of nature study a week, lessons, lore and let Exploring Nature with Children lead your observation. But for me, that would pull out some of the wonder also. There truly is something to walking out your door and truly appreciating nature for what it is TODAY. Not what someone else says you must notice.
- Wild+Free - Wild+Free has groups that meet in all areas of all racial, religious and homeschool philosophy backgrounds and all over the world. Also, purchase bundled content to help with nature study - monthly subscription to the content.
- Information on starting your own Nature Study co-op
- Forest School - Make a woodland environment your classroom!
- Apps that can help you to be a naturalist on the go
- Audubon Bird Guide App - This app is very extensive and may even take the place of a paper field guide, although you may want to have one of those handy too. It will even identify birds for you if you have trouble finding it!
- iNaturalist App - Take photos of your discoveries and store and share them in the app. Connect with other naturalists. Safe, no messaging feature. Just nature! When they say "connect" they really just mean seeing what everyone else is doing.
- Animal and Bird Sounds - Use this app to play bird songs while reading Burgess Bird Book! (I set my ringer to the bird call of the bird we are studying that week - game changer!)
- Book of Mushrooms - When we go to the wilderness park, this comes in handy! REALLY - See how many mushrooms you can collect (safely) in plastic baggies and use this app to study them. It will surprise you how addicting mushroom study can be!
- Star Tracker App - Great for learning Constellations
- Picture This App - Having trouble identifying a plant? Take a picture here and if it is not easily identifiable, others in this community will identify it for you!
- Miscellaneous Links
Game-schooling Herbs, Fruits and Vegetable plants
- Wildcraft - Teach children about herbs, and their medicinal uses with this fun and beautifully illustrated board game.
- Lucy Hammet Bingo Games - More than just nature study here!
Famous Author and Poet Naturalists to study
- Henry David Thoreau
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- John Burroughs
- John Muir
- Jane Goodall
- Steve Irwin
- Charles Darwin
- Claude Monet
- Arabella Buckley
- Jean Henri Fabre
- Thornton Burgess