Do you love exploring nature with children? We are a family of nature lovers. Each one of us would prefer to be outside than indoors. We hike all the time. As we hike, we talk and explore and learn.
And, sometimes, we come home and do an activity or read a book that is somehow related to the day’s discoveries.
But… we don’t do an Official Nature Study.
I’ve always wanted to, mind you. I love nature! I want my kids to grow to love and understand the plants, animals, and insects that are in our own backyard. But I never get around to actually planning and organizing the Official Nature Study. So, instead, it ends up being a hodgepodge of stuff that I find around the house and a quick Google search. And I keep telling myself that I’ll be more organized soon and that soon we’ll have an Official Nature Study of our very own.
I always feel guilty that we don’t do something more official over here, especially because we spend so much time outdoors.
But a few months ago, right around Thanksgiving-ish, my friend Kara introduced to me to a nature study curriculum. And not only is it fun, but it is incredibly easy to use.
It was love at first sight!
Today, I’m going to share it with you and tell you why you will love it too. Whether you love to be outside, like us, or whether you know nothing about nature but feel the need to incorporate it anyway- this curriculum fits!
Exploring Nature with Children & DIY Nature Explorer Packs
Disclosure: I received Exploring Nature with Children: A Complete Year-Long Curriculum at no cost in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only share products and resources that I would use with my own family.
Exploring Nature with Children: A Complete Year-Long Curriculum
Exploring Nature with Children: A Complete Year-Long Curriculum was created by Lynn Seddon, a fellow homeschooling mom and blogger. It is just what is says: a complete, year-long curriculum. It contains 48 weeks of material, starting in September and continuing throughout the year, but you can jump into the curriculum at any point during the year. We started using it in late November.
The book is completely self-contained, housing all the information you need to make nature study a part of your family’s routine. It would work for both those comfortable in nature and those new to nature exploration.
Exploring Nature with Children is available as a PDF download for $15.00. And from now until March 13, 2016, My Little Poppies readers can get 25% off with the code MYLITTLEPOPPIES.
What is included?
The first chapter of the book explains how to use the book in your homeschool and also includes the following:
- An overview of nature study
- A page for each season, complete with a list of materials required for each weekly nature walk.
- A chapter for each month, including four weekly themed nature study lessons for each month.
Each week’s nature study includes:
- A nature walk activity
- A reference to a section in The Handbook of Nature Study (a fantastic book that I should have had in my library years ago!)
- A reading list
- A piece of art to study
- A poem to study
- Extension activities related to the week’s theme
What this homeschooling mom loves about Exploring Nature with Children
There are so many things that I love about this curriculum. It encompasses so many of the qualities that I look for when purchasing a curriculum.
- It is affordable
- It is simple, yet filled with great content
- It is easy to use- you can jump right in immediately
- It works well with multiple ages
- It meshes into our lifestyle perfectly
- It incorporates other subjects, such as science, writing, music appreciation, art, and poetry.
- Oodles of fun crafts
- We all learn something from it
- Can be used for multiple years
All I needed to do was to download and print the curriculum and put it in a binder. Then, we were good to go! We started that very day!
What do you need?
You could honestly get by with this curriculum and your library card alone, but I did invest in a couple additional items:
- Nature journals for each of us
- The Handbook of Nature Study by Anne Botsford Comstock (this had been on my wish list forever and it has already become a classic in our home).
- Plus, I made use of our DIY Nature Explorer Packs on each hike.
Here’s a confession, guys. Sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants over here. I intend to plan, but sometimes I don’t. What I love about this curriculum is that you can pick and choose what to do each week. Did you forget to pick up the recommended reading for that week at the library? No worries! Search the internet for a read aloud of the book (we have such great luck with this), substitute another book on the topic, or skip it altogether and use a different extension activity.
Exploring Nature with Children has become a part of our weekly routine…
… and we love it! Here are a few examples of the many ways we have enjoyed this curriculum:
Celebrating winter solstice
Learning about, and recording weather
Salt dough ornaments
Studying the phases of the moon
10. And this week we will be celebrating Candlemas Day (one week late!) by making our own candles!
This curriculum even inspired our children to create a nature-themed I Spy game that we pack on our hikes!
I’m so thankful that Kara introduced me to such a simple-to-implement, fun, year-long nature study. Our family has enjoyed it every single week since late November. We like it so much that we even brought it on vacation!
Add books and games to build upon the learning!
And here are some of our favorite nature-related materials:
Be sure to check out these related posts:
Now, it’s your turn: Do you include nature study in your homeschool? Share here.
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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