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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Potter Park Zoological Gardens
The Potter Park Zoo in Lansing offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
Resources
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.
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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason's Timeless Educational Ideas
Are you disappointed with dumbed-down reading material (“twaddle”) written for children? Do you wish for your children to feast their hearts and minds on noble ideas, fine art, and great literature? Are you hoping your children gain an appreciation of nature and a deep understanding of natural sciences? Most importantly, do you want your children to develop a lifetime love of learning? If you answered “yes,” you may discover a Charlotte Mason-inspired twaddle-free education is just what you’ve b...
Montessori Reading
Montessori Reading is a beginning reading and writing program for elementary aged children. This series of books introduce phonetic letter sounds, phonogram combinations, reading simple sentences, and reading and writing words that name everyday objects, animals, etc. A teaching guide and a child's journal are included.
Children at Play : Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development
Children at Play is an insightful exploration into the world of children's play and its tremendous significance in the shaping of each child's humanity. A mother and proponent of Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf system of education, author Heidi Britz-Crecelius offers practical suggestions and an up-to-date list of resources for today's families.
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. 
Choosing & Using Curriculum: For Your Special Child
Homeschooling a child with special needs can be challenging. This book lays out a discussion of different reading and math programs, how to adapt materials for special situations, resources for blind, deaf and speech/language, and curriculum types and styles. It will help you find the resource you need to make your homeschooling successful.