Spring is here! And with it beautiful weather: sunny, rainy, or windy, each day is an invitation to get outside. As homeschoolers, we have the unique ability to incorporate that into our school day through nature study!
We often overlook nature study, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. It is important for children to observe for themselves the way the world works. Charlotte Mason writes on the importance of nature study for children, “Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life...”
So where do you start?
There are several free nature study resources if you would like to have a structure to follow. Free Homeschool Deals offers an entire list of free resources to help you kickstart your study of nature, including printables, copywork, and flash cards.
For older students, this list provides numerous ideas for observation of various aspects of nature. Notes based on Furneaux’s A Nature Study Guide here provide insight on how to approach nature study as a “method more than a subject”.
Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study is highly recommended as a resource. Barb McCoy started the blog handbookofnaturestudy.com as a homeschool nature study community. Weekly, she posts an Outdoor Hour Challenge, which is paired with reading from the Handbook of Nature Study. This link leads to a list of articles and resources which cover nature study for everyone from toddlers to teens.
Keeping a nature journal is a good way to record what everyone is learning. It can appeal to different learning styles as well: notes, sketches, pictures, samples of what they find. You can build your own in a cheap notebook from Walmart, or find one on Amazon that gives suggestions and offers tips for how to sketch, what to write, etc.
For further information, this blog goes through different principles of Charlotte Mason on nature study, accompanied by quotes from her writing and practical suggestions. It’s a great resource for you to discover how to teach your children to learn about nature.
How do you include the study of nature in your homeschool?
We’d love to hear your favorite ways to include this subject in your daily life. Let us know in the comments!