CLOSED October 20th. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more!
 

Nature Study

Between global warming, holes in the ozone, and the pollution of our seas and rivers, maybe it is best to keep kids indoors and pacified in front of the television....but probably not. If these aren't real threats then there's nothing to protect our children (or ourselves) from, and if they are real threats—all the more reason to instill a love of nature in the younger generations.

Kids have an inclination toward exploration and learning. Allowing them to do so encourages not only active bodies and active minds, it fosters a healthy imagination and love of beauty. Charlotte Mason understood this over a century ago, and developed a system of education in which nature study played a prominent role. It is in nature, more than in the classroom or the rec room or even the library, that children best learn by observation, and this habit once formed will never disappear.

The often-referenced "childlike wonder" inherent in all of us from a young age (though modern society seems to be stamping it out quicker and more efficiently) isn't just some esoteric feeling of awe. It's literal wonder—kids wonder how birds fly, why their pet dog's fur falls out in summer, where ants go in the winter, why it gets colder and harder to breathe the higher you get. The less contact they have with the natural world, the less wonder they'll have; but the reverse is also true, and kids allowed to roam and explore the outdoors will develop a sense of inquisitiveness that can only help them in the so-called "real world."

Preparation for the Real World of modern myth often takes on peculiar guises. Children are snatched from the fields and streams and placed in front of computer screens or television sets. They are crowded into classrooms and made to feel good about the fact that they are learning nothing at the same rate as everyone around them. They are given plastic toys with supposed educational properties and made to "play" with them under close adult supervision.

Meanwhile, the real real world waits outside the walls and doors and windows with its fresh smells, its colors brighter and more unique than anything on HDTV or Blu-Ray, its real wind, and its endless mysteries. If you don't like answering questions, don't want your kids to grow or exercise, prefer fat and lazy to fit and intelligent offspring, by all means somberly prepare them for a life without questions, and consequently without answers. If you want children who will grown into thoughtful adults with a sense of the loveliness of Earth and their place in it, keeping them inside is possibly the most dangerous choice you can make on their behalf.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

Did you find this review helpful?
433 Items found Print
1001 Bugs to Spot
by Emma Helbrough
from Usborne
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Picture Riddles & Search (Location: A01-01D)
44 Animals of the Bible
by Nancy Johnson
from Master Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Bible Study & Reference for Kids (Location: CPB-08B)
7 Continents: Antarctica
by Jo Ellen Moore
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 3rd-6th grade
in Evan-Moor Geography (Location: B04-04D)
Adventures of Bob White
Famous Bedtime Story Books #19
by Thornton W. Burgess
Illustrated from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Africa's Vanishing Wildlife
by Chris & Tilde Stuart
1st edition from Smithsonian Books
for 5th-10th grade
in Africa (Location: B02-05E)
African Critters
by Robert Haas
from National Geographic
for 3rd-6th grade
in Zoology (Location: BSR-09B)
Akiak: A Tale From the Iditarod
by Robert J. Blake
Reprint from Puffin Books
for 1st-3rd grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Alaskan Wildlife - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Jan Sovak
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
Animal Homes
by Angela Wilkes
from Kingfisher
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Zoology (Location: BSR-09B)
Animals Without Backbones: Invertebrates
Come Learn with Me
by Bridget Anderson
from Charlesbridge
for 4th-6th grade
in Zoology (Location: BSR-09B)
Answers Book for Kids Volume 2
by Ken Ham
from Master Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Worldview & Apologetics for Kids (Location: CPB-08A)
Ant Cities
Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Stage 2
by Arthur Dorros
from HarperCollins
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: BSR-12B)
Antarctic Antics
by Judy Sierra
Reprint from HMH Books for Young Readers
for Preschool-1st grade
in Arctic & Tundra (Location: BSR-08C)
Arctic and Antarctic Life - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Ruth Soffer
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
At the Aquarium - Coloring Book
by Cathy Beylon
from Dover Publications
for Preschool-1st grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
Atlantic Fish - Coloring Book
Educational Read & Color Books
by Peter & Linda Spizzirri
from Spizzirri Press
for 2nd-5th grade
in Educational Read & Color Books (Location: A02-01)
Audubon's Birds of America - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Paul Kennedy
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
Backyard Nature - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Dot Barlowe
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
Balto and the Great Race
Totally True Adventures
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
1st Printing from Random House Books for Young Readers
for 1st-3rd grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Bed for the Winter
DK Readers Level 1
by Karen Wallace
1st edition from DK Children
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in DK Readers (Location: CPB-05D)
Beetle Is Shy
by Dianna Hutts Aston
from Chronicle Books
for 2nd-6th grade
in Nature Study (Location: B18-18C)
Beginning Birdwatcher's Book with 48 Stickers
by Sy Barlowe
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Birds (Location: BSR-10B)
Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature
by Stan & Jan Berenstain
from Dover Publications
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Nature Study (Location: B18-18C)
Big Book
by Kathleen Ruckman
from Master Books
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Nature Study (Location: B18-18C)
Big Book of Big Animals
Usborne Big Books
by Hazel Maskell
from Usborne
for 1st-3rd grade
in Zoology (Location: BSR-09B)
Big Book of Big Bugs
from Usborne
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: BSR-12B)
Big Book of Big Sea Creatures
Usborne Big Books
by Minna Lacey
Reprint from Usborne
for 1st-4th grade
in Oceanography & Marine Biology (Location: BSR-05A)
Big Dinosaur Sticker Book
by Paul Nicholls
from Usborne
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Usborne Sticker Books (Location: A01-01A)
Birds - Coloring Book
Educational Read & Color Books
by Peter & Linda Spizzirri
from Spizzirri Press
for 2nd-5th grade
in Educational Read & Color Books (Location: A02-01)
Birds of Prey - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by John Green
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
Birds of the Air
Eyes and No Eyes #4
by Arabella B. Buckley
from Yesterday's Classics
for 2nd-5th grade
in Yesterday's Classics (Location: A11-02C)
Birds, Nests and Eggs
by Mel Boring
from Northword Press
for 2nd-4th grade
in Birds (Location: BSR-10B)
Birds: Nature's Magnificent Flying Machines
by Caroline Arnold
from Charlesbridge
for 3rd-6th grade
in Birds (Location: BSR-10B)
Book of Insects - Package
from Memoria Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: BSR-12B)
Book of Insects - Student Text
by Arabella Buckley & Julia McNair Wright
from Memoria Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Book of Insects - Teacher Key
by Laura Bateman
from Memoria Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Book of Insects - Workbook
by Laura Bateman
from Memoria Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Book of Trees
by Sean Brooks
from Memoria Press
for 6th-8th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Book of Trees - Curriculum Package
from Memoria Press
for 6th-8th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Book of Trees - Student Guide
by Sean Brooks
from Memoria Press
for 6th-8th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Book of Trees - Teacher Guide
by Sean Brooks
from Memoria Press
for 6th-8th grade
in Memoria Press Science (Location: B17-01C)
Botany Coloring Book
by Paul Young
1st edition from Harper Perennial
for 5th-9th grade
in Botany (Location: BSR-07D)
Boy Who Drew Birds
by Jacqueline Davies
New title from Houghton Mifflin
for 1st-3rd grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
Bugs
by DK Publishing
1st edition from DK Publishing
for 3rd-5th grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: BSR-12B)
Bugs
Usborne Beginners
by Lucy Bowman
from Usborne
for 1st-2nd grade
in Usborne Beginners (Location: CPB-05B)
Bugs Big & Small God Made Them All
by William Zinke
from Master Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: BSR-12B)
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
DK Eyewitness Readers Level 2
by Jennifer Dussling
from DK Publishing
for 1st-3rd grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: BSR-12B)
Building an Igloo
by Ulli Steltzer
from Square Fish Publishing
for 1st-3rd grade
in Arctic & Tundra (Location: BSR-08C)
Burgess Animal Book for Children
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Yesterday's Classics
for 1st-4th grade
in Yesterday's Classics (Location: A11-02C)
Burgess Bird Book for Children
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
in Birds (Location: BSR-10B)
123456789