I receive a lot of questions about Exploring Nature With Children: A complete, year-long curriculum, and I have done my best to answer them here:
What age range is this curriculum for?
I have tried to make this book as family friendly, and multi-age as possible. It gives you the necessary scientific information for each week’s nature theme, then the parent can present those facts as they see fit, to each individual child. A child that is old enough to keep a nature journal would get the most out of it, but I have included suggestions to using the book with much younger children, too. I wrote this book because I had been looking to buy something like this since my 14 year old daughter was a toddler. I would have jumped at this book, even with a tiny, because it would equip me as a mum to talk with my child about nature, without having to go through a pile of different books first!
The extension activities included vary; venn diagrams, writing poetry, making models, amongst many others. I have been very careful to use only relevant, authentic activities, with absolutely no busy work. Some will suit younger children, others are for the older child.
What climate is this curriculum suitable for?
I have written Exploring Nature With Children to be as accessible as possible to all families, but it has a definite northern hemisphere, four season slant. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons could be swapped around (follow the spring-time chapters in autumn, for example.)Take a look at the preview. Here you can see a complete week’s lessons and the table of contents, which shows the theme for each week. This should help you decide if this curriculum will work for you.
What month does the curriculum begin?
Exploring Nature With Children has four weekly chapters for each month of the year – this is a whopping 48 weeks worth of nature study for you and your child! The book begins in September, but you can begin at any point in the year. You can use every week, or dip in and out as you please. This really is a curriculum that will work for you, not you for the curriculum!
Do I need to be in the countryside to use this curriculum?
Absolutely not! You and your child will choose your own ‘special nature spot’ to visit each week for your nature walks. This could be a local park, green-space, woodland, even your own garden. There are selected weeks were you need to be in a specific setting; for example the are four weeks of pond study, but all families should be able to find their own special nature spot and become an expert in their own little corner of the world.
Is this is a secular or religious programme?
Candlemas: The introduction explains that Candlemas marks the presentation of the Holy Child in the Temple, where Simeon held Jesus and called him a ‘Light to the World’, and that in pre-Christian times it was an important festival to celebrate the returning light.
July: Weather discusses the legend of St. Swinthun and one of the activities that week is to track the weather to see if the legend is correct.
Black Garden Ants: Contains Proverbs 6:6-8 as the week’s poem.
The Solstice and equinox weeks discuss the changes that are going on in the natural world.
The science within the book contains no controversial topics.
Exploring Nature With Children is used by secular families, and families of different faith backgrounds. I understand that this is a very important matter to us, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.
Is there a hard copy available?
At the current time, Exploring Nature With Children is available as a PDF download only.
May I use ENWC with my homeschool Co-op?
You are more than welcome to use Exploring Nature With Children with your co-op. I just ask that organisers do not make copies for other families. If you think other families will want their own copy, please do get in touch, and I can create an on-going discount code exclusively for your group.
Is Exploring Nature With Children just for home educators?
Exploring Nature With Children is a complete, year-long curriculum that allows home educating families to enjoy nature study in the Charlotte Mason style. It is a truly open-and-go curriculum, and is therefore a completely unique resource. It can, however, be used by anyone wishing to share nature with a child. It will give you all the scientific background you need, and all the ideas you could wish for, without being an overwhelming read.
Can I see a preview of the book?
Yes of course, thanks for asking 🙂
Where do I buy Exploring Nature With Children?
You can go via my blog, Raising Little Shoots
Or straight to the shopping page.
What have others said about Exploring Nature With Children?
From the Sandbox To Socrates FaceBook page:
Is Nature Study overwhelming for you? It is something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to?
Our very own Lynn has designed an incredible year long nature study course using poetry, art, and best of all, Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study. She has done all of the work for you, lining lessons up on a week by week basis, and all you have to do is print it out and tuck it in a binder.
You can click through from the blog to see preview pages.
Charlotte Mason would be delighted.
From MT – a home educating mum
It’s fantastic! I love it! I love how you have included a poem & a piece of art! & I love how you don’t presume that the adult has knowledge of nature. I love the extension activities! I feel really excited reading it – like its something I could actually do – despite knowing nothing at all about nature!
From CC – a home educating mum
Feedback for exploring nature with children.
Was thinking over the summer how I wanted to incorporate nature study into my girls learning for the coming year. I had bought the nature study handbook years back but never really used it. I needed something more structured as planning and preperation is not my forte. This resource is ideal. Its written in a clear and concise way and is easily adaptable for all my children, ranging from 4 to teens. I love the fact that I dont need lots of other books etc to get going with it though there is the option of doing that with book recommendations should you want to expand the teaching. Thanks Lynn for giving me a reason to look forward to September, cant wait to get going with it!
From JGC – a home educating mum
I am so thrilled to be reading “Exploring Nature With Children: A Complete, Year-long Curriculum” by Lynn Seddon. It came out exactly when I needed it as well, being a first time home educator of a very spirited four year old boy. While Charlotte Mason advocates waiting a few years before starting formal education, I believed my child would benefit from learning about the rewards of patient observation and he could certainly make meaningful drawings for himself in a nature journal. Armed with two other wonderful CM based books on the subject of Nature Study, I thought I was completely ready to deliver Nature Study to my son. However, I found myself overwhelmed when it came to trying to figure out where to start. I was afraid of missing very relevant details and was unsure about when to commence certain parts of study. For example, its said that winter is the best time for studying bird song. When exactly? What other activities could we be doing in winter? How often should I be taking my son to revisit pond study? What if I completely forget to do this particular nature craft which is holiday themed, in time for that holiday?
I learned a lot about Nature Study from my existing resources as an overview, but when it came to the week by week nuts and bolts of putting a comprehensive lesson plan together, I often found my enthusiasm for natural wonder waning, bogged under the practicalities of actually having to pull it off.
Lynn Seddon’s book solves a lot of problems for me. First, it is written with gentle, loving reverence for the study of nature which makes it an enjoyable read. At every step, she offers suggestions for adapting the lessons for younger children and then for older children. In Lynn’s lesson plans, she asks questions that encourages the use of all of the senses that invites more inquiry and curiosity. The lessons are all laid out complete with equipment lists of everyday, inexpensive items and additional related activity suggestions that build upon what’s being learned, using many different skills from many adjoining disciplines. I find the extensions engaging and I look forward to sharing these with my son.
If that wasn’t good enough, Lynn included book suggestions– both fiction and non-fiction for additional study, poetry selections and art selections to consider each week. To me, its the icing, cherry on top and generous scoop of ice cream on the side! Not only was I struggling with Nature Study for my very spirited little boy, I was also struggling with Picture Study. So while the curriculum focus is on Nature Study, for all intents and purposes, a good deal of Picture Study and even appreciation for Poetry is included. These are relevant to what is being studied for the week and I believe connecting Picture Study and Poetry to Nature Study will entice my four year old to participate in those. This book offloads so much footwork for me!
I think the most important thing for me that “Exploring Nature With Children…” provides is confidence. I had visions of going to our outdoor space for Nature Study with my son happily following with nature journal at hand. Then the reality of this vision turned into him handing his journal off to me to make a run for a nearby playground when I struggled with what in nature to introduce him to. Now I have a plan, books to select from to prepare him for his study outdoors and overall a compass to follow for the whole of the year– and one that can be revisited for years to come.
“Exploring Nature With Children…” could not have come at a better time for me and I consider this curriculum a gift, crafted with great forethought and care. Thank you Lynn!