This nature study guide is a great place to start when you add nature to your Charlotte Mason homeschool. Packed with suggestions, tips and resources, you will feel completely enabled to let go of the books, and embrace nature.
Nature Study Guide
In our own Charlotte Mason homeschool, there is evidence of nature study being the necessary element to creating interest in the world around us and opening up the curiosity of science to each of our children.
“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.” – Charlotte Mason
When we first started this method of learning, I felt so inadequate for this part of the Charlotte Mason method because I was a city girl through and through. Nature didn’t interest me, and often times discussed me when all I thought of was the bugs and creepy things, verses the truly beautiful creatures that filled my world.
Thankfully, I trusted the method and decided that we were going to start with a year of studying birds. We purchased a bird feeder that attached to our window. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this new hobby of bird watching, and learning all I could about the names of the birds that flocked to our window for feed every day.
Our homeschool lessons would stop completely when one of us spied a new type of bird we hadn’t learned yet. We grabbed our Bird Guide and started memorizing the features that we needed to identify this new ‘friend’.
I found a version of the illustrated book called A Year With the Birds by Alice Ball, and I fell in love with the poetry that went along with each bird. Each poem depicted things about the nature of each bird, its habits and habitat. It was this book that inspired our year long study that opened up nature studies to our family like nothing else probably could!
Journaling was a great way to record our study of the birds, while implementing some art skills. I wrote a Beginner’s Guide to Nature Journaling on my other blog that will help you get started.
By the end of our first year studying the birds, we knew all of the birds in our area and we were so observant that when we traveled, we would find other birds that were new to us and quickly found them to in our guide to identify them.
The birds opened up all of nature for us, and before we knew it my kids were observing and identifying in their free afternoon time without me, and loving every bit of it!
Over the years, our home library has grown, and decreased.
On these shelves I have some cherished favorites that just won’t be removed out of this house, and these are the ones I just have to share with you as amazing resources to help your own family when starting a Charlotte Mason homeschool. After all, a nature study guide would be incompletely without resources to help you dig deep and open up the world around you for your own children, right?
I don’t know how much we would have really fallen in love with the Charlotte Mason homeschool if we didn’t invest in field guides. There wasn’t a day in our first 4 years of learning this method of nature study that the guides weren’t pulled off the shelf.
These same weathered and torn guides are getting the same love and attention once again, from my youngest learner, making them so valuable for an investment.
There are a lot of different kinds of field guides but I have two favorite series: Smithsonian and Take a Long Guides.
Field guides can be a big investment so I would recommend starting with these ones, and adding one or two as your budget allows.
Observation was one way that nature studies became enjoyable for our family, but without the use of living books, I really don’t know how deeply nature would have effected our family, like it has.
As my children each started homeschooling, I would be sure to include some of our favorites for each of their lessons. My older two children heard them together, and then I have had the opportunity to read them again to my next child and will be doing them one more time with our last one.
They are just that good!
I had never heard of journaling before we started to homeschool with the Charlotte Mason method. I really needed help understanding what it looked like and how to implement it. With the few resources that I found, I was hooked and love having it being a part of our homeschooling.
The best way to really get all of this implemented is to choose one day a week for a nature walk, nature study and journaling.
I hope you find this nature study guide as a motivation to add nature studies to your Charlotte Mason homeschool.