Is Genesis History? The Beyond Series has been a great resources for high school students who are interested in Creation Science. We know many of our homeschool friends have younger students who want to participate, but the course is advanced for little learners. That is why we want to introduce you to Cindy West creator of NaturExplorers, perfect for 1st – 8th graders.
Meet Cindy West & NaturExplorers
I have always considered myself an eclectic Charlotte Mason homeschooler. Early in our homeschooling journey, I read that nature study was a Charlotte Mason practice and I was elated! I quickly added a weekly nature walk to our homeschool routine, fully expecting it to be a wonderful “extra” to the real lessons. At the very least, I hoped my children would somehow feel the same closeness to the Lord that I felt in nature!
Nature Study is Real Science
It didn’t take long for me to realize that nature study was so, so much more than an extra in our routine. It became our hands-on science lab where my children not only experienced things they had been learning during the “real” lessons, but also discovered new things and made incredible connections without the need for other curricula.
Obviously, they wanted more nature study because it got them outdoors for playful learning, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. But I wanted more nature study, too, because of the incredible, natural learning I saw taking shape.
NaturExplorers Teaches Creation Science
I’m naturally a planner. While nature walks for the sake of nature walks are fine sometimes, if there was to be serious learning, I needed to have a plan in place. Walks without plans in place quickly spiraled into playtime rather than learning. (Playtime is important and I’m a huge advocate for lots and lots of it! I’m referring here to the idea that we were specifically going outside for learning time.)
If I had a need for nature walk plans, I figured other homeschoolers probably did, too. I decided to use my love for nature-based science, my love for writing, and my master’s degree in education to craft a simple plan for nature walks. That’s when the NaturExplorers series was born!
Because so many of our family’s nature walks ended up with follow-up learning indoors, I decided to create a curriculum that not only included nature walk ideas, but lots of potential indoor activities, too.
Creative Learning Activities
The nature walk ideas are so much more than telling you what to find on your walks. Instead, they are varied and creative learning activities! For instance, you may be asked to measure certain items and create a graph; or compare certain items and create a chart; or deeply observe a certain aspect and draw the parts. The nature walks are wholly science lessons in and of themselves.
During the walk, you may realize that your children need a little more knowledge about this or that. Or, perhaps they asked questions that you didn’t quite know how to answer. That’s where the second half of the curriculum comes in handy. It includes model-making, experiments, kid-friendly research projects, and more to help your children dig deeper into learning.
There are 19 different NaturExplorers topics! For each topic, there are 20-40 nature walk ideas to choose from, plus tons of ideas to help you dig deeper into so many aspects of the topic if you like. Besides the nature walks and creative learning activities in each curriculum guide, you’ll also find an overview of the topic, several printable nature notebook pages, a list of living picture books, a list of non-fiction books and field guides, Bible lessons, and suggested connections to poetry, music, and art – all appropriate for 1st-8th graders.
Nature Studies Lay a Wonderful Foundation
What I’ve learned over the years is that nature study lays a beautiful and solid foundation for upper level science. Of course, by default, it also lays an amazing foundation for connecting all the subjects together, too – creation history, math, and even language arts.
We did A LOT of nature study in our homeschool during the elementary and middle school years. While we did learn from some other science curricula at the same time, I’m convinced that my children had a confident and lasting understanding of high school science with a strong handle on creation apologetics because of their vast experiences with nature study.
Nature study can be such a wonderful way to prepare your children to jump into studies like Is Genesis History? seamlessly. They will have intimate knowledge of the Creator and His sciences, and will be primed to soak in the rest of the goodness!
Combine the Beyond Series with NaturExplorers!
I love the fact that Beyond Is Genesis History? lessons can be connected so easily to your own in-the-field study! While the NaturExplorers series was written for 1st-8th graders, you can certainly combine nature walks with video lessons. Additionally, NaturExplorers is a perfect option to include younger students into Is Genesis History? studies!
or Vol. 2: Life & Designs + NaturExplorers Frogs & Toads
or Vol. 2: Life & Designs + NaturExplorers Spectacular Spiders
About Cindy West
Cindy West has been homeschooling since 2001 on a cattle farm in central KY. Two of her three children are successful homeschool graduates who made wonderful transitions into college and the real world. She is “only schooling” a 7th grader now and readily admits it’s kind of nice planning for a single student. Besides the NaturExplorers series, Cindy has written several other curriculum guides and how to homeschool books, including Homeschooling Gifted Kids: A Practical Guide to Educate and Motivate Advanced Learners. She also writes about creative homeschooling at OurJourneyWestward.com, trains parents at HomeschoolMasterclasses.com, and is Mrs. Cindy at NoSweatNatureStudy.com.