It’s hot in the homeschool world right now but have you been asking yourself, why do nature study? If you haven’t fallen in love with it yet, here are 101 reasons you are about to!
Nature studies is one of those homeschool subjects we all want to be doing. Instagram is full of photos of kids out there exploring amidst stunning scenery, or making elaborate nature sketches while sitting at exquisitely decorated tables full of art materials and beautiful books. But when reality doesn’t quite match up with our vision, how do we persevere?
The very best way to ensure nature studies is a hit in your home, and becomes a treasured feature of your weekly rhythm, is to have a solid why for including it in the first place. So why do nature study? Here are 101 reasons why you should fall in love with nature studies and make it a priority in your home.
Why do nature study? Because it is an important part of your child’s science education.
- Nature studies lays solid foundations for further science
- It encourages your children to observe the world around them
- More than this, it prompts your children to ask why things happen
- And then they go a step further and wonder why things happen in the particular way that they do
- They start to notice the details
- They take notice of patterns we have come to take for granted
- All on their own they begin to collect samples when they fill their pockets full of the treasures they find
- And with a little encouragement they start to record what they have brought home
- Then they realise they need to know even more
- And they begin to research further because they want to!
All of these skills are used later in more formal scientific studies from all disciplines. Nature studies builds this foundation for our children so that they succeed later on.
#11 Find out why Kristina from Blossom and Root believes nature studies helps children develop their curiosity
Why do nature study? Because it is good for our home, our world.
- Nature studies nurtures a love of nature in our children
- When children love nature they are more inclined to respect it
- Respect leads directly to caring
- Children who care for the natural world grow into adults who care for the natural world
- We need more adults who care because: climate change
- We need more adults who care because: habitat destruction
- We need more adults who care because: loss of species
- We need more adults who care because: pollution affects us all
- We need more adults who care because: food security
- Children who love nature will one day become our farmers and our scientists, but also our artists and our poets. We need to nurture this now.
#22 Brandy and Michelle at Afterthoughts shares her thoughts on why children should study nature during their home education
Why do nature study? Because it helps us create a cohesive education for our children.
- Nature studies is a natural way to link learning across multiple subjects
- Looking for patterns in nature develops a natural mathematical awareness
- Enjoying nature themed poetry links your language arts and science learning seamlessly. You can even try creating your own poetry to share with each other.
- Spending so much time exploring means your children are banking a huge volume of local area geographical knowledge without evening realising it
- Adding short notes to a nature journal is the perfect opportunity to practice penmanship minus the tedious handwriting lesson
- Regular sketching in a nature notebook is the ideal way to develop drawing skills. Drawing is a learned skill, not simply an innate talent, and this is a fun way to practice.
- You can complement your nature studies with nature themed music. Try playing Vivaldi’s four seasons in the background during your journalling time and expand your listening library from there.
- For a more unusual way to combine nature studies and music, why not turn your next hike into a listening walk and discuss pitch, volume and melody when you hear birds singing.
- While we’re on the subject, nothing says P.E. quite like a family hike
- Don’t forget history. When you are exploring your local area, try to find clues for how the land use has changed over time. Do the plants growing give you a clue? Has the wildlife changed as the years have gone by?
#33 Tricia from Hodge Podge shares how she uses nature studies to help her children improve their art. And it may not be quite what you expect!
Why do nature study? Because your homeschool should include things that are good for you too!
- Nature studies isn’t just for kids, it’s for mamas too. Have you heard of mother culture?
- It gives you the perfect excuse to buy all of those exquisite nature themed books sitting in your online cart.
- Charlotte Mason, the queen of nature studies, tells us to sit quietly and send the children off to explore and report back. That there is your free pass to take a nice, long break in the middle of the day
- Getting outside helps soothe frayed nerves. If your kids are driving your bonkers, head off on an impromptu nature walk. At the very least, their bickering and whinging doesn’t sound as loud outside 😉
- Have you heard the saying, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices?’ That there is a legitimate reason to buy those bright red wellies your husband doesn’t think you will ever wear, or that new sunhat you’ve been eyeing off.
- Because adults need an excuse to dance in the rain too. And this one is legit!
- Kids outside are not making a mess inside. Get out there with them and reduce your housework load right now.
- It’s not just kids who sleep better after a day outdoors, mamas do too #insomniarelief
- The best spots always seem to be a car ride away. You can use the time to play audio books and get another subject ticked off your list for the day with no effort on your part whatsoever.
- A nature explorers group isn’t just fun, it’s some much needed adult socialisation for mum as well.
#44 Erin shares the reasons she loves nature studies over at The Unusual Mayhem.
Why do nature study? Because your children need to!
- Including nature studies as a regular part of life is good for your children’s health
- And that includes mental and emotional health, not just physical health!
- Nature walks, swimming in creeks and climbing trees helps children develop their gross motor skills
- It also helps them learn risk management
- And to trust themselves
- And to find their own limits
- Fresh air is good for you
- So is sunshine! Did you know vitamin D deficiency can become a problem if children spend too much time inside?
- Spending time outside is also good for your children’s vision
- There is even some evidence to suggest that getting outside is helpful in reducing the symptoms of ADHD
#55 Grace at The Mulberry Journal shares ideas on how to combat ‘nature-deficit’ with nature studies and why this is important.
Why do nature study? Because it is great for your family!
- Nature studies is a fun and relaxing way to spend time together.
- There is none of the pressure that sometimes comes with more formal/traditional school subjects. And that means none of the friction that can come along too.
- It’s a great opportunity for our kids to see us mamas learning new things. You can lead by example here.
- Because jumping in muddy puddles à la Pepper Pig is fun, but it’s even more fun when you mum does it too!
- This is the perfect subject to get dads involved. Many find this a more natural fit than the other subjects we fill our days with.
- Shared adventures are the perfect bonding opportunity
- Days spent outside equal peaceful evenings when everyone is tired out.
- You can complement your nature studies with family board game nights with games like Wildcraft or Gaia’s Garden (I got this one from Spiral Garden in Australia).
- Because everyone can enjoy nature studies, this is the perfect subject to get older and younger kids working together.
- And because of moments like this…
#66 Cindy from Westward Journey shares how including nature studies in their homeschool days helps her and her children connect to their faith
Now we couldn’t have a post on nature studies without a whole heap of Charlotte Mason quotes! Check out what the queen of homeschool nature studies had to say on the topic:
- “The child who learns his science from a text-book, though he go to Nature for illustrations, and he who gets his information from object lessons, has no chance of forming relations with things as they are, because his kindly obtrusive teacher makes him believe that to know about things is the same as knowing them personally...“ vol 6
- “Consider, too, what an unequalled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for any study or calling under the sun — the powers of attention, of discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing with his growth, what will they not fit him for?” vol 1
- “Out-of-door nature-study lays the foundation for science” vol 3
- “Do children keep tadpoles, and silkworms, and caterpillars in these days? Very few have given us the results of their own observations. We have many capital descriptions from books, and that is better than nothing, but the very essence of natural history is that it should, so far as possible, be drawn direct from Nature.” vol 6
- “By-and-by he will have to conceive of things he has never seen: how can he do it except by comparison with things he has seen and knows?” vol 1 on using nature studies to lay foundations
- “..when children are old enough to understand that science itself is in a sense sacred, and demands some sacrifice, all the common information they have been gathering until then, and the habits of observation they have acquired, will form an excellent ground work for a scientific education. In the meantime let them consider the lilies of the field and fowls of the air.” PNEU article
- “…to cherish in them, the love of investigation” vol 1
- “Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life...” vol 6
- “Here is a duty that lies upon us all; for we all enter on the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. These are things to which we have right, no one can take them from us; but, until we get as much as a nodding and naming acquaintance with the things of Nature, they are a cause rather of irritation and depression than of joy” vol 4 on becoming carers of the earth
- “A love of Nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humour” vol 1
#77 Why do nature study? Because Sonya Shaffer of Simply Charlotte Mason is convinced and so am I!
Remeber I said that beautiful books was a perk of nature studies? Here are a few you will want to add to your collection. They are so beautiful each one is a reason of its own! Why do nature study? For the books. All the beautiful books!
- Nature Anatomy
- Australian Backyard Explorer
- Handbook of Nature Study
- The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
- Wonderland of Nature by Nuri Mass (you can find the ebook at Homeschooling Downunder)
- BEES A Honeyed History
- Farm Anatomy
- Laws’ Guide To Nature Drawing and Journalling
#88 Jimmie shares some of her favourite living books for nature study on her blog, Jimmie’s Collage
Why do nature study? Because it is so much fun!
- Cloud watching
- Climbing trees
- Walking through the forest
- Jumping in puddles
- Collecting rocks
- Following a trail of ants
- Hiding in bushes waiting for your next animal sighting
- Going on adventures
- Playing with fun art materials
- Building your book collecting
#99 Alison at Learning Mama shares how nature studies helped shape a fun summer for her kids
We’re getting close to the end now! But you may be wondering,
Can I still enjoy nature studies with my kids if I don’t like the outdoors?
How can we love nature studies if my children have allergies and can’t go to all of these outdoor places?
So these last two are especially for you!
#100 There are lots of indoor places you can visit to get your nature studies fix and Kim has plenty of suggestions for you over at iHomeschool Network
#101 And Sallie Borrinck has a whole host of ways you can enjoy nature studies from the comfort of your own home. That’s indoors. Without having to go outside 😉
There you have it. More than a hundred answers to the question, why do nature study?
101 Reasons to Love Nature Studies in your homeschool. And now no excuse not to be including nature study in your homeschool week 😉
This post is part of the 101 Reasons link up on iHomeschool Network. You can find more great 101 reasons posts on a variety of homeschool topics by clicking on the picture to the left.