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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park
Explore the animal world at the Chattanooga Zoo. Offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured Resources

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Waldorf Education: A Family Guide
Waldorf Education finds itself catapulted from its humble beginnings 80 years ago into the midst of the central educational and social issues of this decade.What draws parents and educators toward Waldorf Education today? "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" offers a "first look" for parents and educators into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. This comprehensive book is a collection of articles describing the world of Waldorf Education - the fastest gr...
One Thing at a Time : 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day
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Home Schooling from Scratch : Simple Living, Super Learning
Parents learn what they really need, how to find or create materials and opportunities for less money, and how to organize their household for economical, happy learning.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Jr. Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Race around the board in this fast-paced, wonderfully wacky game. Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 1st and 2nd grade skills in math, language arts, life science, physical science, and social studies!
Taking Charge of Your Child's Education: A Guide to Becoming the Primary Influence in Your Child's Life
Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. The best way to do that is to get fully involved in their educational process as their primary influence. This book is full of helpful information, resources, and tools that will lead you to home education success. Erica Arndt recognizes that the most important factor is the family unit relationships. This book will help you as you make your decision to homeschool.