NaturExplorers is a series of 19 books by Cindy West and Melissa Leach for in-depth unit studies of nature topics. Each of these studies is about 60 pages in length.

These unit studies incorporate real books, nature walks, outdoor activities, experiments, crafts, art projects, recipes, building projects, writing, research, poetry connections, Bible lessons, art study, music connections, and internet links. All of these are listed (and described) as possible activities rather than being presented as step-by-step lesson plans. It’s up to you to select the best activities for your situation. Some activities have explicit instructions while others are general suggestions for you to flesh out.

Some activity pages are included in each study but rather than typical worksheets, these tend to be charts, data recording sheets, or other sheets that accompany activities. You will probably want to have students create a binder where they can collect and organize their work.

Activities primarily target the elementary grades. However, each book also has a number of activities for younger and older students so that you can easily have the entire family working together on whichever topic you choose. In addition, each book offers some ideas for group activity if you choose to use a study with a co-op or larger group.

Background information near the beginning of each book gives the parent or teacher a leg up on students before starting any activities. While you might share some of this information with students in advance, more likely you will draw on it as you work through various activities or encounter teachable moments.

One of the most valuable features of these studies is flexibility. You can do as much or as little as you like. Studies can be used in conjunction with traditional programs or you can select titles to make your own year-long program. For example, I might use Constant Conifers, Delightful Deciduous Trees, Fruits and Nuts, and Wonderful Wildflowers for a year-long study on plants and trees with younger children. Then I might return to some of these titles a few years later, assigning more research, reading, and writing for older students to do alongside another, more traditional course.

While the authors have a Christian viewpoint, it is mostly isolated into a section, “Bible Lessons from His Creation,” rather than being threaded through the entirety of each book. The authors have avoided resources that talk about millions of years with only a few exceptions which they note in advance for you.

In addition to the aforementioned titles are studies on: Animal Signs, Beautiful Birds, Butterflies Fly By, Captivating Clouds, Coping with the Cold, Ever-changing Erosion, Flying Creatures of the Night, Frogs and Toads, A Fungus Among Us, Hard as a Rock, Incredible Creeks, Peaceful Ponds, Remarkable Rain, Spectacular Spiders, and Snow and Ice.

Cindy West has other books related to nature. You can read my review of 100+ Easy and Fun Creative Nature Walks. Two other e-book studies, Nature Studies Through the Holidays, are connected to the liturgical year and have Christian content. One is for the season of Advent and the other Easter. These are briefer studies at only 32 pages each.

Pricing Information

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$14 each
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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent/Teacher Instruction: high
  • Grade Level: grades PreK-8
  • Suitable For: group or family
  • Religious Perspective: Christian
  • Educational Approaches: Charlotte Mason, eclectic, unschooling or relaxed homeschooling
  • Educational Methods: activities, creative, discovery or inquiry, discussion, experiential, hands-on, natural learning, real books
  • Technology: PDF

Publisher's Info

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