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 Missouri
Saint Louis Zoological Park
The Saint Louis Zoo features 6,200 wild animals, plus a children’s zoo, an insectarium, River’s Edge, a 10-acre multi-species experience, and Penguin & Puffin Coast. Also offers special exhibits and educational programs.
The Butterfly House
Observe thousands of butterflies all in free flight in a tropical conservatory with a carefully controlled environment. As many as 60 butterfly species and 150 tropical plant species are exhibited. Watch a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, tour the exhibit hall, or shop in the gift shop. Also offers educational programs.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Ozark National Scenic Riverways was created by an Act of Congress on August 24, 1964, to protect 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in the Ozark Highlands of southeastern Missouri. The clean, clear waters of these two beautiful rivers provide excellent opportunities for johnboating, canoeing, swimming, fishing and tubing. The landscape is predominantly rural, with broadleaf forests and occasional open fields. The southeast Missouri Ozark Mountains are typified by narrow steep-sided hollows, numerous streams, and bluffs. Much of the area is underlain by soluble limestone and dolomite, giving rise to sinkholes, caves, and springs of a classical karst topography. There are over 300 recorded caves within the boundaries. There are 112 species of fish, 196 species of birds, and 58 species of mammals found in the park. There are also 25 species of snakes found in the park, including 4 poisonous species.
Kansas City Zoo
The Kansas City Zoological Park is a 202-acre facility in the middle of Swope Park, the second largest urban park in the United States. The Zoo exhibits more than 1,300 animals in naturalistic habitats, including a 95-acre African exhibit. The Zoo also houses the Sprint IMAX. In addition to exhibiting and preserving rare animals species, the Zoo provides a variety of educational and entertaining activities. Please look at the menu at the left and above to access the Zoo's many offerings.
Dickerson Park Zoo
The Dickerson Park Zoo, located in Springfield, Missouri, is home to more than 500 animals representing 160 species. The zoo is recognized for its successful Asian elephant, cheetah and maned wolf breeding programs.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
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.
Wonders of Wildlife: The American National Fish & Wildlife Museum
Learn about the value of fish and wildlife, our heritage of hunting and fishing, and how to participate in the conservation of outdoor resources. Offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits. Located in Springfield.
Wild Canid Survival & Research Center
The Wild Canid Survival & Researh Center is popularly known as the Wolf Sanctuary. It is located on sixty-five isolated, wooded acres within Washington University's Tyson Research Center approximately 20 miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. This small facility is the premier canid conservation, education, reproduction and research center. The Center offers tours and programs to the public.
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.
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.
Featured Resources

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Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home
This book is not about "school at home"--it is about something better. It is about Real Learning. Homeschooling pioneer Charlotte Mason wrote with great wisdom about providing young minds with a living books education. She urged teachers to present great ideas and stand back, allowing students to form relationships with the ideas. Elizabeth Foss carries Miss Mason's philosophy from the idealto the real. How does the busy home-educating mom balance the various needs of a houseful of children? How...
A History of Science
A History of Science is not a textbook, but is a guide to help parents and children study science through literature. It is intended for children in elementary grades.
Climb Inside a Poem for Children Big Book of Poems
The poetry anthology, Climb Inside a Poem: Original Poems for Children, uses the writings of contemporary children's poets, whimsical illustrations, and an expansive big book format (14"x 18") to create a 36-page poetry playground. The children's poems crafted expressly for this collection are written by acclaimed children's authors.
Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work
Maria Montessori is important background reading for parents considering Montessori education for their children, as well as for those training to become Montessori teachers. The first woman to win a degree as a Doctor of Medicine in Italy in 1896, Maria Montessori's mission to improve children's education began in the slums of Rome in 1907, and continued throughout her lifetime. Her insights into the minds of children led her to develop prepared environments and other tools and devices that ha...
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home
The book that shows homeschooling in action! What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book. Real-Life Homeschooling From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's nee...