Nature study is an area of a Charlotte Mason (CM) education that may seem a burden at first. We have become such indoor, domesticated people, surrounded by our technology and comforts that we dislike being outdoors. However, a study of natural science is truly a delight. Getting outside, breathing fresh air, slowing down, and using all five senses to experience nature is a very healing experience. I encourage you to try it for yourself and for your children.
Charlotte Mason said that children should have outdoor walks every single day, and she lived in rainy England! If you would like to read more of CM’s own words about nature, visit Charlotte Mason Nature Quotes.
For homeschoolers, a weekly nature walk is the norm. The nature walk can be in your own backyard or at a park or other natural place (the beach, a desert, a river bank). The main objective is to simply enjoy nature, using your senses to observe and feel everything surrounding you. It doesn’t have to take all day. If you only have one or two hours, it is better than nothing. Start small, committing to just a single hour outdoors each week. I promise you that eventually you will come to love the time outside so that you won’t be ready to go back indoors. Your nature walks will extend to two hours or more until you truly look forward to them.
As Christians, we have a duty to experience nature. Read more over at Shining Dawn Books blog — Nature Study as a Duty of Christian Homeschoolers
Nature Study Links
Two fantastic links for homeschoolers who want to learn more about nature study.
Charlotte Mason Nature Study (general overview)
Last Child in the Woods (a book review of a fantastic explanation of why we need nature)
Getting Ready for Nature Study
This is a free printable form I created for documenting what you study. I don’t plan ahead for our nature studies. Instead I wait to see what presents itself on our nature walks. But these forms are perfect for recording what you did study.
2. NaturExplorers Nature Study Plans
These lesson plans are made by two nature loving homeschool moms. Each eBook includes background information, activity ideas, free printables, and a list of recommended books.
Special bundled sets are also available for extra savings. A bundle would be enough for an entire term of nature study.
Barb’s Outdoor Challenges are a wonderful step by step guide to exploring nature. If you are new to nature study, these are a great place to start.
Animals to Study
Habitats to Study
And if you are on Pinterest, be sure to follow Nature Study Homeschool Coop board for lots of visual inspiration.