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 New Mexico
White Sands National Monument
At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a mountain ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and have created the world's largest gypsum dune field. The brilliant white dunes are ever changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing. Slowly but relentlessly the sand, driven by strong southwest winds, covers everything in its path. Within the extremely harsh environment of the dune field, even plants and animals adapted to desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few species of plants grow rapidly enough to survive burial by moving dunes, but several types of small animals have evolved a white coloration that camouflages them in the gypsum sand. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Mammoths, giant bison, and short-faced bears were witness to the first tremblings of the earth and firework-like explosions of molten rock thousands of feet into the air. Approximately 60,000 years ago, the rain of cooling cinders and four lava flows formed Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, rising more than 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape. Although long extinct, Capulin Volcano is dramatic evidence of the volcanic processes that shaped northeastern New Mexico. Today the pine forested volcano provide habitat for mule deer, wild turkey, and black bear. A 2-mile road spiraling to the top of the volcano and paved trails into the crater and around its rim provide access to explore the volcano and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding volcanic landscape.
Navajo State Park
Navajo State Park is Colorado's Answer to Lake Powell. Navajo Reservoir Extends for 20 miles South into New Mexico. Boaters and campers enjoy the park year-round. Sailors, houseboaters and other power boaters cruise some of the 15,000 surface-acres of the giant reservoir. Daily and seasonal slip and mooring ball rentals, boat rentals and gasoline for boats are available at the park’s Two Rivers Marina. Navajo’s campgrounds have 138 campsites; most sites are open year-round. Fishing​ enthusiasts catch crappie, large-mouth and small-mouth bass, northern pike, trout, bluegill and catfish in the reservoir.​
Albuquerque Biological Park
The Albuquerque Biological Park includes Albuquerque Aquarium, Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Rio Grande Zoo and, in the near future, Tingley Aquatic Park. The BioPark has an estimated 6,000 animals, 11,000 plants, 300 staff and 350 volunteers.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park
Dedicated to the interpretation of the Chihuahuan Desert, Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad is an indoor/outdoor living museum displaying more than 40 native animal species and hundreds of succulents from around the world. While on the 1.3 mile self-guided tour, which takes approximately 1.5 hours, visitors will discover sand dunes and mountainous areas, where pinon and juniper trees contrast with the desert floor below.
El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais National Monument and Conservation Area near Grants, New Mexico, preserves 114,277 acres of which 109,260 acres are federal and 5,017 acres are private. El Malpais means "the badlands" but contrary to its name this unique area holds many surprises, many of which researchers are now unraveling. Volcanic features such as lava flows, cinder cones, pressure ridges and complex lava tube systems dominate the landscape. Sandstone bluffs and mesas border the eastern side, providing access to vast wilderness. For more than 10,000 years people have interacted with the El Malpais landscape. Historic and archeological sites provide reminders of past times. More than mere artifacts, these cultural resources are kept alive by the spiritual and physical presence of contemporary Indian groups, including the Puebloan peoples of Acoma, Laguna,and Zuni, and the Ramah Navajo. These tribes continue their ancestral uses of El Malpais including gathering herbs and medicines, paying respect, and renewing ties.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Established to preserve Carlsbad Cavern and numerous other caves within a Permian-age fossil reef, the park contains more than 100 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave—the nation's deepest limestone cave at 1,567 feet (478m) and third longest. Carlsbad Cavern, with one of the world's largest underground chambers and countless formations, is highly accessible, with a variety of tours offered year-round.
Alameda Park Zoo
The Alameda Park Zoo in Alamogordo was established in 1898 with a small collection of waterfowl and deer. The park served as a diversion for weary railway travelers to enjoy as the steam locomotives refueled. Today the well shaded, seven acre Zoo is home to 90 different species, nearly 300 animals. Visitors enjoy playful otters, colorful birds, endangered wolves, and are entertained by the antics of a variety of monkeys. The Zoo also offers travelers a shaded picnic area and playground on seven acres of city park.
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.
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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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For the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry
For the Good of the Earth and Sun is for teachers at all levels, especially for those teachers who feel anxious about introducing poetry to students. Georgia Heard offers a method of teaching poetry that respects the intelligence of students and teachers and that can build upon their basic originality. She explores poetry from the inside as it is: a powerful and necessary way of looking at the world, and one of mankind's most durable inventions. Her book provides detailed, organized information ...
Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner
Dr. Linda Silverman coined the term "visual-spatial learner" to describe the special and unique gifts of people who learn best through seeing and with images. This guide is a great resource as you support your homeschooling visual learner in discovering the best ways to learn and succeed. 
Parenting With Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids
Gary Popcak and his wife Lisa show that God offers every Catholic parent guidance and the opportunity to take a truly Catholic approach to parenthood. In this book, they discuss parenting strategies, phases children go through, the essential differences between discipline and punishment, and more. 
Beautiful Feet Books
Beautiful Feet Books publishes Rea Berg's "History Through Literature" study guides. They offer fine children's literature, including the D'Aulaire biographies and Genevieve Foster's "World" titles. This is a great resource for anyone wishing to utilize an approach that studies history through literature.
Safe Young Drivers: A Guide for Parents and Teens
Sixteen is by far the most dangerous age on the road. A 16-year-old is twelve times more likely than older drivers to die in a crash as a single occupant. Put two young teens in a vehicle, and the odds of death and injury nearly double. Despite these sobering facts, the procedure for obtaining a driver’s license in most states remains minimal. Commercial driving schools, even the most competent and conscientious among them, cannot possibly provide complete instruction. This book helps to address...