One of the things I appreciate most about homeschooling, and particularly homeschooling in metro Atlanta, is the opportunity to spend a lot of time outside in nature. Because of our flexible schedules, proximity to State and National Parks, waterfalls, and mountain trails, and warm weather most of the year, we’re able to take ourselves — and our learning — out into the natural world. As homeschoolers, we’re also fortunate to be able to design our own lesson plans, which means we can include nature study in our daily lives, year-round, even when we can’t get outside.
Most days when we’re in need of fresh air and sunshine, we just head to a local park with walking trails and access to the Chattahoochee, but sometimes we venture farther out and do a day trip to Amicalola Falls or Arabia Mountain. Usually, it’s just us, but other times, we meet up with friends or other homeschooling families.
For 2020, I’ve decided to make the effort to get outside even more, explore the trails and woods around us, and use that as a foundation for a deeper nature study during the year.
If including more nature into your homeschooling is something that appeals to you as well, here are a few resources to spark inspiration and get you started.
Holistic Roots Homeschool Enrichment Classes — these classes, hikes, and workshops led by a local nature-loving homeschool mom (and personal friend) are geared towards kids ages 5-12. If you’re in the metro Atlanta area, be sure to check them out. Their monthly hikes are especially popular!
Wilderness Times — this blog is a fantastic resource for anyone — beginner or experienced — who wants to get outdoors. If you’re looking for hiking tips, product guides, reviews, and more, this is the site to visit.
Georgia State Parks — all the information you need to plan a visit to one (or all) of our state’s great parks, including a section on their Junior Ranger program and educational events for kids and families.
National Parks — Georgia is also home to over 10 National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites, some of which are in the metro Atlanta area and perfect for a quick visit or day trip. The site also has a wealth of information for families interested in learning more about the National Parks Service, wildlife, and nature.
REI Co-op — REI offers classes and workshops on everything from bike riding to hiking to camping (and more). They also have a great blog and newsletter full of useful information for beginner or experienced naturalists, a membership program, and a retail service selling outdoor gear, clothes, and more.
Hike Like a Woman — this is one of my favorite blogs about hiking and getting outdoors because of its focus on women, and often on moms who will be hiking with kids. The information here is inspiring and very useful!
Nourishing My Scholar — this is another blog that I enjoy, especially when I’m looking for new ideas to add more nature study to our homeschooling plans.
Chipper Birds — if birds are your thing (and what a great subject to build a unit study around, right?), this lovely blog is a great place to get started. Here you’ll find posts about birds from around the world, with lots of interesting and useful information.
Atlanta Audubon Society — with classes, workshops, field trips, community outreach opportunities, membership, a newsfeed and blog jam-packed with information, and more, this site is an invaluable resource for nature-loving families in metro Atlanta (and beyond).
Finally, if the weather is bad, and it’s impossible to get out for a real-life adventure, you can always make time for an online visit to Puzzlewood, and dream of exploring this amazing, magical woodland (and the inspiration for Tolkein), in the UK’s Forest of Dean.