Sunday, April 10, 2022

Nature Study Resources for the Charlotte Mason Homeschooler

For the last 16 years I have homeschooled my children with an eclectic tilt towards Charlotte Mason education and a heavy bent towards the constant study of nature.  In that time I have come across some of the very best nature study, living book reading material and I wanted to share that with you.  It has many vintage choices, but no worries, I found most of them on Amazon and put the links up just for you!

According to, 'Living Books' are:
Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.” They can be contrasted to dry writing, like what is found in most encyclopedias or textbooks, which basically lists informational facts in summary form. You might be surprised to find that living books are available for most school subjects — even math, geography, and science! 
I search constantly for books that fit these credentials because it really does bring life to the Nature Study for my kids.  My kids wait for the next chapter or book with enthusiasm, and remember so many of the facts that they constantly shock people with the facts they know about these wonderful animals.

First up, the baby animal series written by Berneice Freschet, illustrated Jim Arnosky

To anyone who is familiar with nature study knows Jim Arnosky.  If they don't, they should.  ;)  He is an incredible naturalist that has styled and yet accurate drawings of all the amazing nature experiences he has.  All of his books are packed with information!  I tend to trust anything that has his name on it.  If you have never heard of him, try anything that has the word "Crinkleroot" in the title.

These books are for preschool - 4th grade.  They are adorable!  They follow a baby animal while adding true facts about how they grow and interesting facts about their life-cycles.

Next up, Shirley Woods books.  

Shirley Woods is a Canadian nature writer who captures the essence of each story about an animal with the enthusiasm and interest of a season of Meerkat Manor.  The topics vary, each book containing the first year (usually) of a particular species.  He follows anything from a deer mouse to a fox to a beaver.  The books contain one life cycle, from birth to having their own cubs/kits/pups.  The author brings the topics to life by writing in the narrative style of the animals, as if they themselves are telling about their experiences.

Last up for living books, Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study.

This book (or book series, depending on how you buy it) has more of an 'informative' style.  But it falls into the "living book" category because it has stories about each subject as well as lists of facts.  The book even goes so far as to prepare the reader with questions to think about each subject as well as places they may be found and information that helps the reader study the subject more effectively.

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