Discover the beauty of art and nature study in your homeschool and help your children explore the simple joys of the outdoors. There is so much to marvel about in God’s great creation!
The Wonder Of Creation in Nature
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Though I have a degree in elementary education, I did not know what nature study was until we started homeschooling. If you are unfamiliar with the term, you probably wonder what it means and why it is important.
Nature study is quite simply observing and studying various aspects of nature. At times in our home, it is done in addition to a more formal science program. Other times (especially for young children), it is our only science program.
We know from Genesis that God created the whole world and gave us stewardship over the earth. Nature study allows my children to learn more about the plants and animals God created and helps point them back to the creator.
Children are naturally curious, and nature study is an excellent tool for learning more about the world around them.
Nature study looks different from home to home, child to child, and often year to year. It might be as simple as taking a walk through the woods and talking about what you saw. As children get older, you may add in resources to research what you find or choose specific topics of focus.
Some of you might be worried that you won’t know the answers to your children’s questions, but one of the great things about nature study is that you can learn together. You don’t have to know the names of all the birds; you get to learn alongside your children with field guides and other resources.
Using Art To Explore Nature In Your Homeschool
“We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.”– Charlotte Mason
We love adding art to our nature study and find it is a great way to tie things together. Nature journaling is an integral part of helping students remember and share what they have learned. Sometimes, it can feel a bit overwhelming at first.
When I first started encouraging my children to draw what they saw on our hikes, they were resistant. They found it challenging to draw the plants and animals. However, I found that using art lessons to help us draw the different animals gave them confidence and added a bit of extra fun to our study.
At first, we would hike and observe and then go back home and choose an art lesson that represented something we had seen. However, over time, my children became more confident in drawing what they saw because of their skills.
For example, after drawing and painting several bird pictures, they had the confidence to begin drawing birds in their nature journals.
Another option we enjoy is to pick a new topic from our nature study curriculum and then find one of Nana’s art lessons to coordinate. Then we can start our study with a drawing. It is an excellent introduction to a new topic. Also, the art lessons are a fun way to add something to our journals that we cannot find locally.
Learning About Nature And Creation Through Art
Nana has many different nature courses that pair beautifully with nature study. My teenage daughter is enjoying the backyard birds acrylic lessons as we work our way through a nature study focused on birds.
There are even more ideas (and a couple of free art lessons) included in this Chalk Pastels Bird Study.
Some families love to study nature based on the seasons. They allow you to watch how things change over the year and helps you focus on what is available in your area during that time.
Nana has courses for each season that are a fantastic nature study supplement. You can draw frost and frozen lakes in the winter and then rainbows and bird nests in the spring. The fall pumpkin lesson is a family favorite!
Spring is fast approaching, and there is an excellent post with ideas on incorporating art in your spring-themed nature study!
Many other lessons tie in wonderfully, including a shark-themed course, a garden course, and my personal favorite, a seashore course. We live near the coast, so we love to study nature at the beach. However, if you live far from the coast, these art lessons will help you explore the seashore in your home.
Check out all of Nana’s nature-themed courses to see which ones will work best for your studies (or get access to them all with the Clubhouse Membership).
Additional Resources For Art And Nature Study In Your Homeschool
“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.”– Charlotte Mason
Though nature study is helpful for all ages, I find it especially important with young children. They thrive with the time outside to move and explore. Sometimes, I let them explore and let their natural curiosity lead our studies.
Other times, I appreciate having a plan and a guide to help us learn and grow together. These resources will help you find something that works well for your family and whatever style of nature study you choose.
- The Ultimate Guide to Nature Study Resources is a great resource for finding materials that can help you get started on your nature study journey. There are many resources that will help you create a plan that works for your family and give you the tools to lead no matter your prior knowledge level.
- This Seasonal Tree Study is a fun and simple way to combine art and nature study, and it is simple and easy to do right from your own home.
- Chalk pastel nature journaling is a great way to get started recording what you learn. You ARE an ARTIST Clubhouse members also get a free nature observation printable that you can use with the nature journaling.
- Finally, this is an excellent list of a variety of the best homeschool nature study resources. There are exciting options for every family.
Enjoy your time outside with your children, and let these resources help supplement and guide you in your study.
Dawn is a passionate follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and homeschool mom of four. In her spare time she loves to read, hike, and write on her blog Schoolin’ Swag. She enjoys reviewing curriculum and helping moms find the right fit for their family.