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.
Things to See & Do in Michigan
Detroit Zoological Park
The Detroit Zoological Park consists of 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits. The Detroit Zoo is a natural habitat for more than 3,000 animals and 700 varieties of trees, shrubbery and flowering plants. Of the 340 species at the Zoo, 64 are officially listed as endangered or threatened and two are extinct in the wild. Major exhibits include the Arctic Ring of Life, the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, Great Apes of Harambee, Penguinarium, free-flight aviary, Holden Museum of Living Reptiles, the National Amphibian Conservation Center, giraffes, Siberian tigers, African lions, Asian elephants, Grevy's zebras, Bactrian camels, snow monkeys and the prairie dog exhibit, just to name a few.
Binder Park Zoo
Binder Park Zoo is located in a lush forest which exhibits the animals in natural surroundings. Wild Africa, a 50-acre immersion experience, features a 17-acre savanna where one of the nation's largest herd of giraffe roam with gazelle, ostrich, zebra, and more.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Comprised of 125 acres of natural wetlands, woodlands, meadows and botanical gardens, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a year round experience with indoor tropical, arid, Carnivorous, Victorian and seasonal gardens, world class changing sculpture gallery with shows by international artists, and outdoor acreage featuring a world-class sculpture park, children's garden, historic Michigan's farm garden, amphitheater for summer concert events, nature trails and board walks. It is located in Grand Rapids.
Isle Royale National Park
Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, everchanging weather and a cool climate, and the crystal clear waters and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior characterize Isle Royale National Park. This wilderness archipelago is 45 miles long and nine miles wide at its widest point. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extends four and a half miles out into Lake Superior. The archipelago is composed of many parallel ridges resulting from ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated. Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife.
North Country National Scenic Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas in seven northern states. The approximately four thousand mile long trail incudes a variety of hikes from easy walking to challenging treks. When completed, through the efforts of many people, the trail will become the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. From the Missouri River in North Dakota to the shores of Lake Champlain in New York, the trail allows hikers to experience a variety of features, from clear-flowing streams, to thick Northern woods, from vast prairies to clean lakes.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, wildlife and the forest of the Lake Superior shoreline beckon visitors to explore this 73,000+ acre park. Attractions include a lighthouse and former Coast Guard life-saving stations along with old farmsteads and former logging trails. The park is a four season recreational destination where hiking, camping, hunting, nature study, and winter activities abound. At its widest point the Lakeshore is only five miles and hugs the Superior shoreline for more than 40 miles.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses a 60 km (35 mi.) stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. The park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. The Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including a 1871 lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district.
Belle Isle Aquarium
The Belle Isle Aquarium is North America's oldest, continuously operating public aquarium. It is located on Belle Isle in Royal Oak, the Detroit River's beautiful 1,000-acre park. The Aquarium currently displays 60 exhibits with a total capacity of 32,000 gallons of water. In total, the Aquarium is home to over 5,000 individual animals of 239 species. Of these species, 31 are officially listed as endangered, threatened, or already extinct in the wild.
John Ball Zoological Garden
The John Ball Zoo is located on the hillside of a beautiful 140 acre park on the west side of Grand Rapids. Currently the animal collection at the Zoo includes 237 species and 1,183 individuals.
Potter Park Zoological Gardens
The Potter Park Zoo in Lansing offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
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.

Nature Studies Homeschool Curriculum
Considering God's Creation
Life science truly comes alive with this 270-page lap-book style notebook for 2nd-7th graders. A Charlotte Mason type discovery approach is easily implemented with creative activities, music and topical Bible studies, making this program a perfect choice for a homeschool family or a classroom. It may be used as a stand-alone science course or as an invaluable supplemental resource for any other program. 
Nature Studies 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.
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Featured Resources

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These Rare Lands
If a picture's worth 1,000 words, this book--with its hundreds of breathtaking photos of America's National Parks--is a well-stocked bookstore. Accompanied by the words of poet laureate Mark Strand, These Rare Lands is a perfect coffee-table book for anyone who has enjoyed the wonders of nature's wildest places. From a storm over Sequoia National Park in California to the otherworldly stalactites and stalagmites of New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns and an Atlantic sunset in Maine's Acadia, th...
Pecci Reading Method: At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child
At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child offers a balanced approach with intensive phonics and literature-based reading instruction. This is a simple method of teaching reading, with lots of supplemental materials. Get product information here.
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School
This book shows how school is not necessary for a child to gain learning, socialization, or motivation. It offers a look at radical unschooling, a way of educating children without coercion, curriculum, or control. This look at a child who grows from childhood to adulthood with the experience of self-direction is a celebration of the success of unschooling. Covers topics such as parenting, self-discipline and self-motivation, socialization, and more. 
Homeschooling Essentials: A Practical Guide to Getting Started
If you're ready to begin homeschooling, then the experiences of others can offer valuable help and encouragement as you jump into this new adventure. This practical guide answers common questions, helps you navigate the legalities of homeschooling, talks about the practical side of homeschooling and different methods, offers resources and gives advice about high school.