Marrying a husband who makes his living from working the land has helped me appreciate Mother Nature from her vast weather cycles to the small creatures that live in the soil our grass grows in. There is so much to learn from studying any part of the natural world. How does a caterpillar change into a butterfly? Will this tiny seed really grow into a tomato plant? How are clouds formed? Why does the wind blow? Just how many different birds do we have sharing our trees? Children are naturally curious about such things. It stands to reason then I want to take that curiosity, that desire to know, and incorporate it into our homeschool.
“Let [children] once get touch (sic) with nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through his life.” ~ Charlotte Mason ~ Home Education, pg. 61
There are so many different ways you can study nature with children. Some require more effort than others. All offer interesting rewarding discoveries. We have come away each time with a awestruck respect for life and its Creator. Here are a few suggestions for various nature studies you can do in your own backyard.
3. Set up a small weather station complete with thermometers, a weather vane, and barometer. Learn how to read each instrument and see how accurately you can predict the weather. Try to find any correlation with the wild animals that visit and the type of weather you are having.
4. Take an afternoon to lay on the grass and watch the clouds. Learn the various types of clouds and what type of weather they usually accompany.
5. Walk all around your yard and see how many flowers, shrubs, and trees you can identify by name. Don’t know what some of them are? Assign each person one plant to learn all they can about it and then have them teach the rest of the family their new found knowledge.
6. Start a bug collection.
7. Find or order some caterpillars to observe all the way to their wondrous transformation into moths or butterflies.
9. Keep nature journals. These are simple booklets where you draw and write your observations.
10. Don’t keep the study to just spring and summer. A lot goes on in the fall and winter too!