Nature Studies
The study of nature is appealing to people of all ages. It is easy to incorporate nature studies into your homeschooling approach. Some homeschooling methods focus very strongly on nature studies, including the Charlotte Mason method. Learn why it is so important and some great approaches to learning from nature.
Links and Items
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Apologia Educational Ministries
Apologia publishes several science textbooks that are especially suited to the homeschool environment. They are filled with easy to understand lessons and experiments which can easily be performed at home. The curriculum is also backed by a question/answer support system. This set of textbooks is written under the "Exploring Creation" name. There are three elementary level texts: Their middle school and high school texts include:
  • Exploring Creation With General Science
  • Exploring Creation With Physical Science
  • Exploring Creation With Biology
  • Exploring Creation With Chemistry
  • Exploring Creation With Physics
  • The Human Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
  • Exploring Creation With Marine Biology
  • Advanced Chemistry in Creation
  • Advanced Physics in Creation
  • Plus other texts
    Great Science Adventures
    Great Science Adventures is a series of books that offer a creative approach to learning science. Each one showcases the series' method of using creative, hands-on activities to enhance exploratory learning. Each book contains 24 lessons, with 2-3 lessons completed each week. The unique format contains activities and basic content appropriate for grades K through 8. Perfect for multilevel teaching or if you want to challenge your advanced students individually. Titles include:
    • Discovering the Human Body and Senses
    • The World of Tools and Technology
    • Discovering Earth's Landforms and Surface Features
    • The World of Space
    • The World of Insects and Arachnids
    • The World of Plants
    • The World of Light and Sound
    Considering God's Creation
    Considering God's Creation is a creative in-depth encounter with natural science from a biblical perspective. It is adaptable for grades 2-7. This is a large 272-page book that comes with a Teacher's Manual with audio CD.
    Things to See & Do in Idaho
    Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
    Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve contains three major lava fields covering almost half a million acres and a quarter million acres of sagebrush steppe grasslands. The rugged landscape remains remote and largely undeveloped. The Craters of the Moon lava field spreads across 618 square miles and is the largest young basaltic lava field in the lower 48 states. Sixty distinct lava flows form the Craters of the Moon lava field ranging in age from 15,000 to just 2,000 years old. This lava field contains more than 25 volcanic cones including several outstanding examples of spatter cones. The Kings Bowl and Wapi lava fields, both about 2,200 years old, are located on the southern edge of the Snake River Plain. All three lava fields lie along the Great Rift, displaying some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world. There are extensive examples of pahoehoe, slabby pahoehoe, shelly pahoehoe, spiny pahoehoe, aa, and block lava, as well as rafted blocks, tree molds, lava tubes, and many other volcanic features. Craters of the Moon is located 18 miles southwest of Arco, Idaho.
    California National Historic Trail
    The California Trail carried over 250,000 gold-seekers and farmers to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840's and 1850's, the greatest mass migration in American history. Today, more than 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen in the vast undeveloped lands between Casper Wyoming and the West Coast, reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American travelers and settlers. More than 240 historic sites along the trail will eventually be available for public use and interpretation. The trail passes through the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and California.
    Tautphaus Park Zoo
    The Tautphaus Park Zoo is located in Idaho Falls. Watch the flock of threatened African Penguins as they swim in their pool, experience a wallaby mob on the move, or surround yourself with sights and sounds of South American birds in the walk-through aviary. Stop by the Children's Zoo and pat a donkey, feed a lamb or just relax on a bench and enjoy the beautifully landscaped grounds.
    Yellowstone National Park
    About 640,000 years ago a massive volcanic eruption spewed an immense volume of ash that covered all of the western U.S., much of the Midwest, northern Mexico and some areas of the eastern Pacific. This was one of many processes that shaped Yellowstone National Park--a region once rumored to be "the place where hell bubbles up." Geothermal wonders, such as Old Faithful, are evidence of one of the world's largest active volcanoes. These spectacular features bemused and befuddled the park's earliest visitors, and helped lead to the creation of the world's first national park.
    Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
    Hagerman Fossil Beds NM contains the largest concentration of Hagerman Horse fossils in North America. The Monument is internationally significant because it protects the world's richest known fossil deposits from a time period called the late Pliocene epoch, 3.5 million years ago. These plants and animals represent the last glimpse of time that existed before the Ice Age, and the earliest appearances of modern flora and fauna. The fossil beds are located one and one half hour from Boise and thirty minutes from Twin Falls, Idaho.
    Zoo Boise
    Zoo Boise offers animal exhibits and educational programs for all ages.
    City Of Rocks National Reserve
    Beginning in 1843, City of Rocks was a landmark for emigrants on the California Trail and Salt Lake Alternate Trail and later on freight routes and the Kelton, Utah to Boise, Idaho stage route. The area's historical and geological values, scenery, and opportunities for recreation led to its designation as City of Rocks National Reserve in 1988. The reserve is located 45 miles south of Burley, Idaho.
    The Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey
    The World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise houses the Peregrine Fund's national and international conservation programs. At the World Center birds of prey are propagated for release to the wild. The Center houses about 200 falcons and condors for breeding. The World Center is also the home of our Education Program at the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center and the Herrick Collections Building.
    Activities & Experiments
    Arbor Day National Poster Contest
    Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
    Handbook of Nature Study
    Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
    How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
    Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
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    Featured Resources

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    The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
    These 13 essays, presented at the 1993 National Grassroots Speakout on the Right to School Choice, illustrate how education reform actually works. Written by award-winning teachers and their students, these essays present successful teaching methods that work in both traditional and nontraditional classroom settings. “Gatto’s voice is strong and unique.” — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
    Cuisenaire Rods Multi-Pack
    Grades Pre K & up. An economical way to bring rods into the classroom. Pack contains six sets of 74 rods, six trays with, and Teacher's Guide. For use with 12-18 students.
    The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start
    An increasing number of parents are turning to homeschooling. This guide helps those parents to determine what are the best first steps to take, how to define your educational philosophy, and the best approach for your children. Included is a discussion of how to choose curriculum, assess progress, and stay within the legalities of your state. 
    Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child's Education
    In this book, Raymond and Dorothy Moore look at the research behind learning styles for children. The message of slowing down and responding to your child's readiness is a welcome contrast to the common practice of pushing young children through the system. They conclude that the best environment for children to learn is at home. 
    Discover Your Children's Gifts
    This comprehensive work on children's learning styles and creativity expression is a tremendous help to parents as they begin homeschooling. The authors discuss how God gifts children in different ways with different ways of learning and expression. This guide will help you identify your child's personality gifts and help them reach their full potential.