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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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Black Books Galore's Guide to Great African American Children's Books
"This is a great resource that fills a tremendous need. It should be on parents' shelves at home as well as in every school." —Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. Harvard Medical School These are exciting times for African American children's literature. Never before have there been so many titles available. Now the three mothers who founded Black Books Galore! —the nation's leading organizer of festivals of African American children's books —share their expert advice on how to find a...
Parenting With Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids
Gary Popcak and his wife Lisa show that God offers every Catholic parent guidance and the opportunity to take a truly Catholic approach to parenthood. In this book, they discuss parenting strategies, phases children go through, the essential differences between discipline and punishment, and more. 
Minds More Awake: The Vison of Charlotte Mason
Anne E. White explores what is known as the Charlotte Mason, based on the educational philosophy of the 19th century British educator. The goal is to set a child on the path to an intentional, purposeful life. White explores both the practical and philosophical understanding the Mason's practices. White includes lots of examples of how to use these ideas in your own homeschooling. 
Home Education: A Homeschooling Classic
Home Education consists of six lectures by Charlotte Mason about the raising and educating of young children (up to the age of nine), for parents and teachers. She encourages us to spend a lot of time outdoors, immersed in nature and handling natural objects and collecting experiences on which to base the rest of their education. She discusses the use of training in good habits such as attention, thinking, imagining, remembering, performing tasks with perfect execution, obedience, and truthfulne...
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading was developed for use with students of multiple ages at the same time, perfect for the homeschooling family. It is designed for use as an entire reading program or as a supplement to an existing program for students in grades 2-8.