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 Tennessee
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area
The free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries pass through 90 miles of scenic gorges and valleys containing a wide range of natural and historic features. The area offers a broad range of recreational opportunities including camping, whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting and fishing. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with its experience in managing river basins, was charged with land acquisition, planning and development of facilities. Now completed, these lands and facilities are operated and maintained by the National Park Service for the benefit and use of the public.
Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo offers many animal species including cheetah, zebra, ostrich, gibbons, hyacinth macaw and more. In addition, the Zoo offers the Jungle Gym, the country's largest community-built playground, the Grassmere Historic Farm, the beautiful Unseen New World exhibit, exciting animal shows, educational programs and much more.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Ridge upon ridge of endless forest straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the Eastern United States. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, and the depth and integrity of its wilderness sanctuary, the park attracts over nine million visitors each year. Once a part of the Cherokee homeland, the Smokies today are a hiker's paradise with over 800 miles of trails.
Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park
Explore the animal world at the Chattanooga Zoo. Offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
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.
Tennessee Aquarium
Located in Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium is the first and largest freshwater life center in the world. Journey through a spectacular 60-foot canyon and two living forests, where you will see over 9,000 animals that swim, fly and crawl in natural habitats. The Aquarium's exhibits guide visitors on a journey from the Tennessee River's source in the Appalachian high country, through its midstream, to the Mississippi Delta, and on to the great rivers of the world in Africa, South America and Asia. Visitors experience evocative living environments that recreate the habitats of the fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects that rely on rivers for their existence. Also features an IMAX theater.
Obed Wild & Scenic River
The Obed Wild and Scenic River is located in Morgan and Cumberland Counties in East Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau. The park includes parts of the Obed River, Clear Creek, Daddys Creek and the Emory River. Over 45 miles of creeks and rivers are included in the wild and scenic river area. These waterways have cut rugged gorges with bluffs as high as 500 feet above the whitewater in the streams. Outdoor recreation such as whitewater boating, rock climbing, hiking and fishing are popular seasonal activities in the Obed.
Knoxville Zoological Gardens
The Knoxville Zoo offers animal exhibit areas, including the African Forest, Grasslands Africa, a Kid's Zoo, and more. The zoo is situated on 53 rolling acres on the east side of Knoxville and features more than 800 animals.
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Occupying 115,000 square feet in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is a 1.4 million gallon aquarium with over 8,000 exotic sea creatures from all over the world featuring dozens of 10-foot sharks and the world’s longest underwater aquarium tunnel. Also features, two petting areas, hourly dive shows, hourly marine lectures, two great restaurants, and a gift shop.
Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo features animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits. Highlights include Primate Canyon, Cat Country, the Northwest Passage, Once Upon a Farm, and a China exhibit.
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
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.
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.
Featured Resources

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Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence
It's time to change your perspective to transform the way you plan, teach, and homeschool. This book helps you to see homeschooling as a calling. With this mindset, you'll be able to dismiss the stress of impossible expectations. Find strategies to help you juggle the logistics of homeschooling with different ages, be a good support for a struggling learner, set realistic goals, dismiss the guilt, and weather any criticism. You can be a hopeful homeschooler! God uses all for good and can transfo...
The Mystery of History
The Mystery of History series is another alternative to traditional textbooks. The five volume set covers history from creation to present day, with a biblical worldview. This series is intended for grades K-8. Note that at this time, this series is not completed.
Don't Waste Your Time Homeschooling: 72 Things I Wish I'd Known
Traci Matt, a veteran homeschool mom helps you make the most of your homeschooling efforts. She takes a look back at 20 years of successes and challenges, offering tested strategies to assist you on your home education journey. This book will help you learn ways to keep a peaceful home, stay out of the isolation trap, practice self-care, learn how to live with teens, and respond to the questions of others.
Children at Play : Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development
Children at Play is an insightful exploration into the world of children's play and its tremendous significance in the shaping of each child's humanity. A mother and proponent of Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf system of education, author Heidi Britz-Crecelius offers practical suggestions and an up-to-date list of resources for today's families.
Habits: The Mother's Secret to Success (Charlotte Mason Topics - Volume 1)
This work contains a selection of the writings of Charlotte Mason, a British educator. Her writings from the 1880s are still relevant today and contain ideas that can be easily and successfully incorporated into homeschooling. This book focuses on the concept of building good habits in children, why it is important, how it can be implemented, and what impact it will make on home life and homeschooling. Written from a mother's point of view, Mason's works and ideas are explained and distilled int...