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's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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934 Items found Print
1001 Bugs to Spot
by Emma Helbrough
from Usborne
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Insects & Arachnids (Location: SCI-BUG)
44 Animals of the Bible
by Nancy Johnson
from Master Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Bible Study & Reference for Kids (Location: BIB-STU)
$9.59 $6.00 (1 in stock)
7 Continents: Antarctica
by Jo Ellen Moore
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in Evan-Moor Geography (Location: GEO-CUREM)
A Kid's First Book of Birdwatching (book only)
by Scott Weindensaul
from Running Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Birds (Location: SCI-BIRD)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
About Raptors
by Cathryn Sill, illustrated by John Sill
from Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
in Birds (Location: SCI-BIRD)
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Adventures of Bob White
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by Thornton W. Burgess
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for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
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Africa's Vanishing Wildlife
by Chris & Tilde Stuart
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for 5th-10th grade
in Africa (Location: HISMC-AFR)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
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by Robert Haas
from National Geographic
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by Glenn O. Blough, illustrated by Jeanne Bendick
from Purple House Press
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
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$12.99
Akiak: A Tale From the Iditarod
by Robert J. Blake
Reprint from Puffin Books
for 1st-3rd grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
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Dover Coloring Books
by Jan Sovak
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
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by Syd Hoff
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for Kindergarten-2nd grade
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by Kelly Milner Halls
from Darby Creek Publishing
for 3rd-6th grade
in Zoology (Location: SCI-ZOOL)
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Album of Birds
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from Rand McNally
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
Album of Dinosaurs
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from Rand McNally
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
Album of North American Animals
by Vera Dugdale, illustrated by Clark Bronson
from Rand McNally
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
Album of North American Birds
by Vera Dugdale, illustrated by Clark Bronson
from Rand McNally
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in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
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from Rand McNally
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
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from Rand McNally
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
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from Rand McNally
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage Nonfiction (Location: VIN-NFIC)
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from Random House
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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1955 Edition from Random House
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
All About Cats
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from Random House
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
All About Elephants
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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from Random House
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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from Random House
for 3rd-6th grade
in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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from Random House
for 4th-6th grade
in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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from Random House
for 3rd-6th grade
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from Random House
for 3rd-6th grade
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for 3rd-6th grade
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from Random House
for 3rd-8th grade
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from Random House
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in All About Books (Location: VIN-ALL)
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from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 4th-8th grade
in Nature Study (Location: NAT-GEN)
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in Reptiles & Amphibians (Location: SCI-REPT)
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National Geographic Kids Level 3
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