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 Nebraska
Riverside Zoo
The Riverside Zoo in Scottsbluff offers waterfowl on the zoo's lake, a petting area and a playground. Riverside Zoo also offers an enriching botanical experience with over 30 garden spots bursting with the blooms of the season.
Niobrara National Scenic River
This 76-mile reach of the Niobrara River in northcentral Nebraska was added to the nation's Wild and Scenic River System in 1991. The river is swift and shallow over much of its length, cutting through bedrock forming riffles, rapids and waterfalls. The Scenic River preserves a superb example of a Great Plains river and protects a unique ecological crossroads where six distinct ecosystems and their associated flora and fauna mix, some at or beyond their normal geographic limit. The western third of the Scenic River is home to over ninety waterfalls -- highest is Smith Falls that cascades seventy feet from a Sand Hills cliff. Many locally-owned ranches are found along the river retaining the valley's rural flavor, yet much of its wild character is preserved. Wildlife abounds: animals such as white-tailed deer, coyote, beaver, mink, bull snakes, soft-shelled turtles, turkeys, herons, and sandpipers are commonly sighted. Enjoyed by tens of thousands of canoeists yearly, the upper reach of the Niobrara is noted as one of the country's outstanding canoeing rivers. A portion flows through a federally designated wilderness.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, features the world's largest indoor rainforest, desert, nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp, a world-class aquarium, a brand new state-of-the-art gorilla complex and much more. The Lied Jungle is the world's largest indoor tropical rainforest, encompassing three separate geographic zones. The 72,000 square-foot Scott Aquarium is one of the country's largest. Visitors can walk through a glass tunnel in a 850,000 gallon coral reef tank and view marine life -- including sharks and rays-- swimming all around them.
Folsom Children's Zoo & Botanical Gardens
The Folsom Children’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens is home to more than 300 animals with the child’s eye view in mind. The Zoo and Botanical Gardens are situated on 19 beautifully landscaped acres in the heart of Lincoln.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds near Harrison is an internationally recognized fossil site. The landscape surrounding the fossil beds has been a site of change for millions of years. Agate has also been a home to people like James and Kate Cook; leaders of great nations like Red Cloud and American Horse. The weathering of sedimentary rock, bones becoming visible in cliffs, and the gifts presented to James Cook by the Lakota Sioux are all reflective of the strong natural and cultural relationships of the Agate landscape. The Monument preserves bones in one of the best preserved Miocene mammal sites in the world.
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.
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
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.
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.
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Homeschooling on a Shoestring : A Jam-packed Guide
So you want to homeschool but don't think you can afford it. This book is a compendium of ideas for the family that wants to start or continue homeschooling on a tight budget. Includes ideas for making money as a stay-at-home mom, sources for inexpensive curriculum, affordable teaching tools, and ideas for low-cost field trips. Also discusses ways to run your household more efficiently and with less cost.
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
Please Don't Drink the Holy Water
Susie Lloyd faces the trials and joy of raising a happy, active Catholic family.
Taking Charge of Your Child's Education: A Guide to Becoming the Primary Influence in Your Child's Life
Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. The best way to do that is to get fully involved in their educational process as their primary influence. This book is full of helpful information, resources, and tools that will lead you to home education success. Erica Arndt recognizes that the most important factor is the family unit relationships. This book will help you as you make your decision to homeschool. 
The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
This classic homeschool resource is intended for teens who are ready to take charge of their own education. Written by Grace Llewellyn in the '90s, it is still relevant today. Teens will be empowered by claiming their natural ability to teach themselves and to fully personalize their education. Covers the decision to leave school, as well as many of the learning opportunities available to teens.