The term “nature study” can be a bit of a kaleidoscope. It means different things to different people. Many believe that it applies only to formal lessons on nature-related topics, such as a structured lesson on the life cycle of a beetle.
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As a homeschooling parent, what you choose to expose yourself to matters. The words you read, the voices you listen to, the videos you watch–they all become a little Greek chorus in your head on the days when you’re nailing it and on the days when you’re losing it. We must be careful to choose words and voices and videos that empower us and remind us that we’re not in this alone. I treated myself to Julie Bogart’s A Gracious Space, Fall Edition at the beginning of this school year and there have been so many times I’ve been glad I did.
If a homeschool fairy swooped down one day and told me I could only choose three tools to teach my children, I’d like to think I would not hesitate. I would smile and reply, “Books, nature, and open-ended art supplies.” But my answer is a sneaky one. I firmly believe that, at least in the early grades, you can teach just about every subject with these three things.
Edwin Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” Of equal notability (in my humble opinion), Richard Louv said “If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”