Nature Study is a VERY important component of our eclectic homeschool. We enjoy spending time outside, walking, observing plants, bugs, trees, leaves, etc. God’s Creation is so beautiful and intrinsic; there is always something new to learn about outside.
Charlotte Mason hit the nail on the head when she coined that children should spend time outside playing, in nature, observing, LEARNING from nature.
Since even before we officially began to homeschool, we had spent time outside just in nature. Sometimes walking a trail, other times even in the backyard observing the plants that are in our home.
My advice to you is to become familiar with the flora and fauna you have in your area. Visit natural museums or look up books about your state’s nature. Palm trees are local to Florida whereas Michigan has willow trees and pine trees everywhere. Take advantage of those geographical differences to discover and learn about nature right where you are.
So many times when going on nature walks, we stop to observe tiny caterpillars or worms. The kids wish we could take them home to continue observing them. This Bug Catcher and Viewer helps us transport the bug to our garden to continue our observations. This set comes with an Insect Magnifier, a Catcher, and 2 tweezers to pick up bugs without actually touching them.
We have found that using a Bug-Catching Net is really useful for catching butterflies, look at, and release. Sometimes we snap a quick picture of it, or another insect, to read about in the book Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies: Take-Along Guide (Take Along Guides) .
This Outdoor Set for Kids – Binoculars, Flashlight, Compass & Magnifying Glass is actually in my wish list. It is a very complete set that would be great to use when going on a hike, so the kids could bird watch from a distance through the binoculars. They could also use the compass for finding the direction we are walking while looking at a map.
Books for the Nature Loving Child and Books for Nature Study
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (Julia Rothman)
The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature (Dover Children’s Science Books)
Games for Nature Study
Nature study is a natural way of learning and appreciating the world around us. It also raises consciousness in caring for everything around us like animals and plants.
Go ahead and go to your backyard to enjoy, discover, and learn about what surrounds you!