Since moving to Texas, our family has sought to connect with other homeschoolers in our area for a nature club—but so often, the options have required a long drive or haven't fit our schedule.
So we gathered a few other homeschooling families at our church and started our own!
If you find yourself wanting to start a nature club, here are some simple suggestions:
1. Choose a date, time, and frequency you can commit to. For us, Wednesday from 10am to noon (including lunch) works well. We get a little Morning Time done before we go, spend time at nature club, then head home before naps/rest time.
2. Choose a location that's close by and easy to access. We chose a creek bed at a local park that's not far from any of our homes. We'll be able to see it change through the seasons! Choosing the same spot every week cuts down on planning and communication.
3. Choose a simple curriculum. We are using (and loving) the Texas Nature Guide by Chickie and Roo. The short, doable lessons (about 15 minutes) coincide with the seasons here in Texas. Last week, we studied hummingbirds and mapped the migration of hummingbirds that's currently happening just south of us.
4. Invite families you want to spend time with. Though not always possible, it is such a gift to spend time with other families every week who teach their children to be respectful and have similar values.
5. Nominate a teacher (or switch off). My friend Nina has offered to teach the weekly lesson, while I do a short tutorial on how to draw what we're studying. Each child brings a nature journal (a blank notebook) and records the date, time, location, and any observations... then follows along as I draw. Then we let them loose to explore and do simple sketches of anything else they find.
6. Provide incentive. Each week, the kids are instructed to go home and finish a nature sketch about something we've studied. If they bring it back finished, they get to choose a prize (lollipops, stickers, erasers). This has been incredibly motivating!