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 North Carolina
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, near the historic town of Manteo and the scenic Outer Banks, is situated on 14 acres of property overlooking the Croatan Sound. The 68,000-square-foot building houses aquariums ranging from 300 gallons to 285,00 gallons, two touch tanks, interactive exhibits, classrooms, meeting rooms, research space, a large auditorium and a gift shop.
North Carolina Zoological Park
Located in Asheboro, the North Carolina Zoological Park, with more than 500 acres in its African and North American continental regions, is the country's largest walk-through natural habitat zoo, in which the animals and plants in its exhibits are seen in settings that closely resemble the habitats in which they would live in the wild. Its 37-acre African Plains exhibit alone is as large as many entire zoos. Sited on hilly, wooded terrain in the ancient Uwharrie Mountains of central North Carolina, the Zoo has approximately five miles of trails in its two continental regions. Among the Zoo's more popular animal attractions are its polar bears, seals, sea lions, seabirds, river otters, bison, elk, alligators, elephants, rhinoceros, chimpanzees, baboons, gorillas, giraffes, zebras, ostriches and tropical birds. There are dozens of other species as well.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Stretched over 70 miles of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a fascinating combination of natural and cultural resources, and provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Once dubbed the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for its treacherous currents, shoals, and storms, Cape Hatteras has a wealth of history relating to shipwrecks, lighthouses, and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. These dynamic islands provide a variety of habitats and are a valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl. The park's fishing and surfing are considered the best on the east coast.
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.
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.
Western North Carolina Nature Center
The WNC Nature Center, located in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, is an educational center exhibiting plants and animals native to the Southern Appalachian Region, including Cougars, Bobcats, Red and Grey Wolves, Black Bear, Otters and more to Pygmy Goats, Red Devon Steer, Chickens and Sheep.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher takes visitors on a journey from freshwater rivers and swamps to saltwater marshes and estuaries and into reefs and the open ocean. The 84,000 square foot facility includes a large ocean tank offering two-story, multi-level viewing of large sharks, groupers, barracudas, and loggerhead turtles and a 20,000 freshwater conservatory showcasing the varied ecosystems of the Cape Fear River.
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Located in Atlantic Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is situated on 298 acres of maritime forest in the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area. The 35,000-square-foot building houses aquariums ranging from 300 gallons to 12,000 gallons, a touch tank, interactive exhibits, classrooms, meeting rooms, a large auditorium and a gift shop. Outside is a natural marsh area and nature trail.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
The seashore is a 56 mile long section of the Outer Banks of North Carolina running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. The three undeveloped barrier islands which make up the seashore, North Core Banks, South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks, protect one of the few remaining natural coastal barrier island systems in the world. Its native grasslands comprise the only remaining natural grasslands in the eastern United States. Small populations of the endangered sea beach amaranth grow within the national seashore. Here, also, marks the northernmost edge of the range of the Loggerhead Turtle, a marine turtle on the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species. The national seashore also provides one of the southernmost habitats for the federally listed piping plover. Other endangered species that visit Cape Lookout National Seashore include Roseate Terns, Peregrine Falcons, and Bald Eagles. Also, more than 100 wild horses roam Shackleford Banks island.
Latta Plantation Home School Camps
Located twelve miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, Latta Plantation offers camps for preschool and school aged homeschoolers. Learn about farm life and nature.
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
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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work
Maria Montessori is important background reading for parents considering Montessori education for their children, as well as for those training to become Montessori teachers. The first woman to win a degree as a Doctor of Medicine in Italy in 1896, Maria Montessori's mission to improve children's education began in the slums of Rome in 1907, and continued throughout her lifetime. Her insights into the minds of children led her to develop prepared environments and other tools and devices that ha...
Montessori Method
This book is Montessori's own exposition of the theory behind her innovative educational techniques. She shows parents, teachers and administrators how to "free a child to learn through his own efforts".
Elementary Geography
Elementary Geography is a reprint of the original work by Charlotte Mason. It includes her ideas about teaching children about their world, with poetry selections throughout the book. Explores ideas of place from space to our earth, seasons, map making, and topography. Written in a pleasing conversational style, it is useful for understanding teaching methods, memorization, and copy work. 
KONOS
KONOS offers unit studies for homeschoolers, with a focus on character building and the study of history.
Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started
Homeschooling 101 gives you the steps to help you get started on your homeschool journey. This guide lays out how to get started, choose and gather curriculum, scheduling, organizing your home, and finding the joy in homeschooling. This book is perfect for new homeschoolers who are looking for real help in taking the first step.