One simple nature study (nature walk) can open the floodgates to all kinds of endless scientific discoveries and discussions! It’s one of the simplest, most refreshing, most relaxed yet most educational AND fun ways to explore our world. Nature studies are simply fantastic, for ALL AGES, even (or especially) for the teachers/parents/adults. It’s an up-close look at things we read about, a chance to indulge in fresh, natural air and sunshine (or rain, if you’re up for it). BUT, If you’re like me, a mom who’s never really been “into” outdoorsy, bugsy, creepy-crawly type nature adventures, I’m here to share that nature walks do NOT have to be as fancy, in-depth, “scientifical,” academical as some expert home schoolers may suggest. Here’s how and why WE engage in easy, carefree, 5-step nature studies in our homeschool journey, which we've dubbed the "5C Nature Study."
If you’re “scientifical,” and/or you’re choosing to incorporate nature studies as a part of your science curriculum for the week/month or school year, then you’ll enjoy creating nature studies that include taking notes along your journey, collecting leaves, studying and collecting rocks, and going back home to finish up with drawings and scientific observations sheets and graphs, and the whole sha-bang.
Been there, done that.
Nowadays, our middle school level science calls for physics and chemistry, and lots of reading sometimes long-winded, mathematical/scientifical information in which a well-rounded, young brain needs to familiarize itself with for future, upperclass, long-winded studies. :) Such is the life of a student, right? At some point, we HAVE to get even the boring pages read and completed.
So, to balance out harder-to-digest, book study days, we incorporate a day here and there to enjoy a simple version of nature studies. No books, no crayons, no caddies for collecting leaves and rocks. Just ourselves, with feet covered in comfortable walking shoes, comfortable clothes, a magnifying glass, camera, maybe a few more items, and each other.
Here's what we do, the "5C Nature Study", nice and simple, yet it always sparks creative, fun, enjoyable moments and memories, and often leads to magnificent scientifical discussions! (Okay, “scientific” :)
1) Choose a Location
Park, riverwalk, the zoo, downtown, arboretum, an outdoor mall with enough “nature” around it will work, and/or the plants & garden section of a hardware store
Wear comfortable walking shoes; flexible clothing for squatting, kneeling, bending; a cap or hat if out in the direct sun or during hot summer months; sunglasses & sunscreen if necessary; rain jacket, rain boots, or umbrella if weather permits, etc.
3) Collect Equipment
Magnifying glass, maybe a notebook if necessary, writing utensil
4) Check Nature Out! (Orally Observe)
Take as much time as you’re allotted, and just enjoy the freedom of being outside, educating your children, and being together!
That’s IT! A comfortable, relaxed, purposeful, lovely walk out in the natural air with your family. What a blessing! It doesn’t have to be stressful or academically charged each time. You’ll be surprised just how much your children are learning anyway. If nothing else, you’ve spent a little time with each other just enjoying each other in the great outdoors.
Have you tried this stress-free Nature Study version before? If so, where did you go? What did you take or not take? What did you study, learn, discuss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
I hope this sparks a bit of encouragement for you in some way. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and YouTube for additional homeschool tips and tricks that we explore. As always, be encouraged, and enjoy! :)
“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”
Enjoy three more articles below on other homeschool adventures we engage in!
Enjoy three videos that capture many of the fun homeschool activities we explore, too!