Getting Started with Nature Study


Nature Study

How do you get started with nature study?

I get asked this often and it is a great question, because what better way to start the Charlotte Mason method in your home other than with nature study?

Here is what Charlotte says about nature study, “Consider, too, what an unequalled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for any study or calling under the sun — the powers of attention, of discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing with his growth, what will they not fit him for?”

I love that, “what will they not fit him for?”

My first piece of advice, is to go outside. We tend to over complicate this simple act of stepping out the front door, because we can easily become infiltrated with the many beautiful resources available for nature study.

I’ll be honest, you don’t need these guides to get started. Do I own them? Yes. I love them and do recommend them, BUT you don’t need them to get started.

Start by going on what we call a nature hike. This can be as simple as walking around the perimeter of your yard and noticing all the nature along the way. Stop and notice the weeds. Do they have a flower? Look up at the sky and study the clouds. Let the child look and avoid too many interruptions of lengthy explanations. We want them to notice and make the connections.

We have also enjoy driving to a nearby trail for our natures hikes. When we go on our hikes they can take a bit longer than our own yard because there are new things to explore. I make sure to prepare for this with plenty of snacks and water. I like to allow my child to play, run, explore, and wonder for as long as possible.

After plenty of wild rumpus playing, then I might ask my child to come help me look at an interesting mushroom, bug, or bird. We notice the colors, the shapes, and the size. We might use a field guide or the SEEK app to identify it.

Later, after we are home or even the following day is when we like to nature journal. They are usually too involved in play to sit and journal in the moment. I like to pull books on the topic off the shelf or pull up a YouTube video.


“Now the knowledge of Nature which we get out of books is not real knowledge; the use of books is, to help the young student to verify facts he has already seen for himself”


My children draw and write their observation down. We write a brief summary in their notebook about what they remember. What was it doing? What time of day was it? What did you notice about it? Soon your child will have a treasure of nature drawings that they will enjoy looking back at over time.

Here are a few resources and ideas to help you make nature study a rhythm on your weekly lessons:

  • Purchase a few field guides or check out some from the library
  • Keep binoculars near a window with some reference cards
  • Go on a walk at the same time everyday
  • Visit the same trail throughout different seasons
  • Invite friends to join you, especially if going on a trail by yourself makes you nervous
  • Look-up a local nature group
  • Visit a state or national park and visit their nature centers

Use a nature guides like:

Check out my Amazon shop for all our nature supplies!

These are my affiliate links! 


I'm Julia Mederich - My husband Jordan and I have 3 boys (7, 4, and 2) and a girl on the way. We are a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschooling family and enjoy going on nature adventures, reading aloud, and learning through play.

We live in Northwest Wisconsin.

I'm excited you're here! And hope this content inspires you on your homeschooling journey.


”Home is the nicest word there is.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Leave a Comment