Anyone who is familiar with Charlotte Mason's writings and work is interested in nature study. Even if you are not a Charlotte Mason fan, it seems as though God has innately instilled in all of our children a fascination with HIS creation! Mary Woodis brings to us a true delight in the creativity of our Lord with her work, The Nature Study Idea Book.
Chapter 1 opens with the study of nature at Crooked Pines, which could easily be titled Nature Study in Your Own Backyard. Chapter 2 covers the basics of beginning a Nature Club. Included are suggestions on getting started, resources, ideas, and even a paragraph concerning safety. OK all you nature buffs, did you know that you can even do nature studies indoors? Yes, it is possible. Chapter 3 covers the study of bugs, spiders, and houseplants! Chapter 4 is titled "What About Teaching the Older Child?" and was written by none other than Cindy Rushton. If I understand my reading correctly, she was a member of that first Nature Club with Mrs. Woodis. Chapter 5 is a companion to chapter 4 titled "Growing Older with Nature Studies." This all makes it seem so easy to implement, yet gives instruction enough to be a whole curriculum approach. The rest of the book is entirely devoted to teaching older students. Chapters such as: "Teaching Science through the Attributes of God," "Scientific Fields of Study," and "The Process Skills of Scientific Inquiry" follow. Chapters 10, 11 and 12 cover the studies of Ornithology, Entomology, and Meteorology, respectively. Finally, chapters 13 through 20 contain ideas, Scripture, poetry, definitions, Internet links, resources, vendors of scientific equipment, and a myriad of living book titles to enhance your studies. In most cases, a suggested reading age is included beside the title along with a very brief summary of the writing. At the very end, there is a template for the Nature Club sketch and observation sheet.
Another wonderful book brought to us from Crooked Pines Publishing, The Nature Study Idea Book, is a comfortable, easy read that will enhance everyone's nature study. In my mind, it is perhaps one of the best books on the subject. There are surely enough ideas to keep you going for a long, long time. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on bringing the attributes of God into your study. All that God has created speaks of HIS glory, and this book will help you find the tools to give your children a more complete understanding of HIM!