We first became aware of the value of nature study in the homeschool experience through our own study of the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. It was her belief that children should get outside and observe God’s creation every single day!
Truth be told, nature study is still a bit daunting for the two of us. We live in a place that is often oppressively hot and has some formidable wildlife lurking in the grass and in the waters. But after our conversation with Sonya Shafer, co-founder of Simply Charlotte Mason, we are deeply inspired.
Sonya is a popular homeschool speaker and writer, specializing in the Charlotte Mason Method. She has been on an adventure for more than 20 years studying, researching, practicing, and teaching Charlotte’s gentle and effective methods of education. Her passion for homeschooling her own four daughters grew into helping others and then into Simply Charlotte Mason, which publishes her many books and provides a place of practical encouragement to homeschoolers at simplycharlottemason.com.
“Through nature study, the child is laying up in his mind this store house of images and ideas that he can access and made use of as he does his formal science lessons.”
In this podcast episode, Sonya sparked enthusiasm within us for nature study, especially as she referred to it as a way of making and interactive with “nature friends.” She called nature study “a growing relationship, and you can model what it looks like,” she said, “to stay curious and to keep learning as an adult. You can wonder and discover and learn right along with your children, and isn't that one of the sweetest parts of homeschooling anyway?”
Sonya urged us not to let fear hold us back from all that God’s creation as in store for us. It’s so much easier and more natural and organic than we have built it up to be in our minds, and the rewards run deep. “Something about being in God’s creation,” she said, “resets your hormones and reduces your stress level. I can feel my shoulders go down as I’m walking around one of my favorite parks. Just surrounding your child with the things God has made -- it’s a totally different atmosphere from sitting in a house all day surrounded by things that man has made.”
And if you leave this podcast as inspired as we were, there are so many ways to connect with Sonya and dig into the treasure trove she has to offer:
In this podcast episode, Sonya talks about using a Nature Notebook. If you’d like more information on how to start one, we have an awesome guest post for you from Sonya. Check it out!
“Giving our children this firsthand experience with the wonders of God’s creation can cultivate that sense of caring, of stewardship within them.”
During this podcast episode, Sonya mentioned a great resource for preschoolers called Our Preschool Life. Be sure to check that out.
As you tune in, you’ll get to hear our super cool theme music. All of the music on the C2C Podcast was written, performed and produced by Jenni’s daughter Sky. Be sure to visit her on Instagram.
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