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 Alabama
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.
Mote Marine Aquarium
From its humble beginnings in tiny shed in a small Florida town, Mote Marine Laboratory has expanded to include a 10.5-acre campus in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations and public exhibits in Key West and field stations in Summerland Key and Charlotte Harbor. The Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota offers large displays of marine life, mammals, turtles, and aquaculture.
Montgomery Zoo
The Montgomery Zoo features 500 animals representing over 150 species - all in a barrier free, natural environment and divided into continents featuring Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms. Take a rail tour through each realm on McMounty 102, the Zoo's train, and stop by our Gift Shop to find that perfect souvenir.
Birmingham Zoo
Explore the animal world at the Birmingham Zoo, featuring an alligator swamp, tropical rain forest, and zoo train and carousel.
Mann Wildlife Learning Museum
Located at the Montgomery Zoo, the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum offers one of the nation's finest collections of professionally presented North American wildlife. All are shown in realistically created environments including painted mural backdrops depicting the natural habitat of the animal, with sounds of animals and several 'touch and feel' exhibits.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
Located in Birmingham, Ruffner Mountain is a 1,011-acre nature preserve in eastern Jefferson County. Its protected forest, ridges and valleys provide a refuge for a wide variety of native plants and wildlife. Located in the center of Alabama’s largest urban area, it also offers a place for people to retreat to the serenity of the outdoors.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab, founded by the State Legislature in 1971, is Alabama's marine education and research center. Located on the eastern tip of a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea Lab offers educational programs, the Estuarium, a public aquarium, and more.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
Thrill to Rickwood's miracle mile of underground caverns. The 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish and underground pools are just a few of the natural wonders exhibited in the colorful caverns. The park also features an Olympic size swimming pool, picnic area and campground.
Russell Cave National Monument
For thousands of years bands of prehistoric Indians came to the area we know today as Russell Cave. The cave provided a shelter. The surrounding forest provided food, tools, and fuel for their fires. Occupation of the cave shelter continued from the earliest known people to inhabit the southeastern United States, until the time of European explorers. The story of the inhabitants of Russell Cave is one of adaptation and survival. These people left behind clues to their way of life. These clues help us to have a better understanding of the people who have gone through the mists of time. Russell Cave National Monument is located near Bridgeport.
The Wildlife Center
Located in Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, the Wildlife Center is Alabama's oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center. More than 3,000 injured and orphaned wild creatures are cared for each year, including almost 2,000 birds representing more than 100 species. The Wildlife Center is open to the public for self-guiding tours, and features the Treetop Nature Trail. A beautiful, elevated walkway in the woods, the trail offers close-up views of non-releasable hawks and owls in natural habitat enclosures built among and around the trees.
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum, "Alabama's Little Corner of Greece," now features over 20 acres of year-round floral beauty and classical sculpture, including new statuary honoring Olympic heroes. The Olympian Centre welcomes visitors with a video presentation of Jasmine Hill's history and a display of Olympic memorabilia from the Games of past years. A tour of Jasmine Hill, now completely accessible to visitors with disabilities, offers spectacular and ever-changing views, including our full-scale replica of the Temple of Hera ruins as found in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Flame.
Little River Canyon National Preserve
Little River flows for most of its length atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. The river and canyon systems are spectacular Appalachian Plateau landscapes any season of the year. Forested uplands, waterfalls, canyon rims and bluffs, stream riffles and pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs offer settings for a variety of recreational activities. Natural resources and cultural heritage come together to tell the story of the Preserve, a special place in the Southern Appalachians. Little River Canyon National Preserve is located near Fort Payne.
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.
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Featured Resources

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A Reason For® Handwriting
A Reason For® Handwriting provides a fun, meaningful approach to developing effective handwriting skills. Each lesson is built around a Scripture verse chosen not only for proper letter combinations, but also inspirational content. “Border Sheets” encourage students to share God's Word with others. You'll find product information about A Reason For® Handwriting here.
A History of Science
A History of Science is not a textbook, but is a guide to help parents and children study science through literature. It is intended for children in elementary grades.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and ...
Choosing & Using Curriculum: For Your Special Child
Homeschooling a child with special needs can be challenging. This book lays out a discussion of different reading and math programs, how to adapt materials for special situations, resources for blind, deaf and speech/language, and curriculum types and styles. It will help you find the resource you need to make your homeschooling successful. 
A Child's Story of America
This text reads like a story book more than a history textbook. This book has a decidedly Christian bent. Students are given a comprehensive overview of U.S. history from Columbus to the present. Review questions are included throughout, as well as helpful maps. The text contains numerous pictures and large print. An optional test packet and answer key is available.