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 Minnesota
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.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Located in St. Paul, the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory features animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
The Bell Museum of Natural History
Located in Minneapolis, the Bell Museum has exceptional scientific collections. Nearly 4 million specimens—mammals, birds, fishes, plants, mollusks and insects—provide opportunities for research and learning. From Eurasia to South America, Bell Museum scientists collect specimens to build the museum's biological collections, which serve as an international library for scientific research. In addition to collections from around the globe, the Bell Museum has the largest collection documenting Minnesota's biodiversity.
Mississippi National River & Recreation Area
Used by Native Americans for trade, food, and water long before Europeans visited the “New World,” the Mississippi River and its watershed is a major contributor to the ecology, culture, politics and economy of the North American continent. To acknowledge this fact, Congress established the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area in 1988. The park’s boundaries enclose about 54,000 acres and 72 miles of river. They describe a narrow corridor of land on either side of the Mississippi from Dayton and Ramsey, MN on the north boundary past Hastings, MN on the south border. Only 35 acres are owned by the Park Service. These 72 miles are a significant and representative stretch of the Mississippi. They contain the only gorge and waterfall on the main course of the entire 2,350 miles of river. Named St. Anthony Falls in 1680, the falls were later used to generate power for logging, flour milling, and electricity for a growing population. Less than ten miles away, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers was an early outpost for the American military and an important crossroads for fur traders. Further downstream, St. Paul marked the upper end of steamboat navigation and was the jumping off place for tens of thousands of settlers. And the Vermillion River bottoms are excellent examples of floodplain forest ecology. From visitor centers to trails, from industrial centers to Mississippi River backwaters, this park has a bit of something for everyone.
Minnesota Zoological Garden
Located in Apple Valley, the Minnesota Zoo is situated on 500 acres in Dakota County. The collection currently stands at about 2,300 animals, with 105 animals representing 15 species on the United States Endangered Species Act list.
Voyageurs National Park
The park lies in the southern part of the Canadian Shield, representing some of the oldest exposed rock formations in the world. This bedrock has been shaped and carved by at least four periods of glaciation. The topography of the park is rugged and varied; rolling hills are interspersed between bogs, beaver ponds, swamps, islands, small lakes and four large lakes. In the years since the last glaciation, a thin layer of soil has been created which supports the boreal forest ecosystem, the "North Woods" of Voyageurs National Park. This land is rich in human history. Named for the Voyageurs, French-Canadian canoe-men who traveled these waters in their birch-bark canoes from the Great Lakes to the interior of the western United States and Canada. Modern voyageurs continue to ply these waters. The water, accompanying scenery, geology and rich cultural and natural resources that give Voyageurs its national significance, merits its protection for the enjoyment of present and future generations. On the northern edge of Minnesota's border, 55 miles of the park meander along the Canadian border with Ontario. Voyageurs is about 15 miles east of International Falls, MN and 300 miles north of Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.
Lake Superior Zoological Gardens
The Lake Superior Zoo is located in the beautiful lakeside city of Duluth. Features the two-story Diana Monkey exhibit, Australian Collection, Northern Territory, Polar Shores and the Primate Conservation Center.
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
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.
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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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. 
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
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Catholic Home Schooling: A Handbook for Parents
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Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School
Grace Llewellyn, author of the The Teenage Liberation Handbook, offers the stories of 11 teens who made the decision to reject traditional schooling methodologies and take their education into their own hands. The essays highlight offer a day-in-the-life look at teen homeschooling and unschooling, as the teens embraced self-education and increased in their self-confidence and motivation. 
H. A. Guerber's Histories
Helene A. Guerber wrote histories for grammar school children in the 19th century. Published in 1896 by the American Book Company, ‘Guerber’s Historical Readers in the Eclectic Readings Series’ were used to introduce children to the histories of the ancient and classical world. These engaging narratives are richly detailed accounts of the lives and times of the most important people of the period, arranged chronologically. The people are placed within the context of their times, and their histor...