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The Art of Nature Study
with Tricia Hodges
Welcome to The Art of Nature Study! Each issue features an article by Tricia Hodges about either art or nature study. These two subjects really do go hand-in-hand. Learning doesn’t fit into neat little boxes, so combining them is a wonderful way to show your children how connected everything really is!

With both art and nature study, children develop observational skills and eyes to see the beauty around them. Drawing, painting, and chalk pastels give kids a creative way to fill their nature journals with flowers, trees, birds, and more.

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Art & Academics
It’s funny what we feel guilty about. We didn’t do enough math or science… or we didn’t do enough art and music. We tend to think about subjects in terms of academic or supplemental ones, and inevitably we worry if we’ve emphasized one over the other.

What if we saw them all as equally important to our children’s education? What if we actually incorporated art into the academic?

It’s so easy to fall into a trap of making everything separate. Most of us grew up that way! But the beauty of homeschooling is this: we can show our kids the connections by how we choose to study the subjects.

“Art can truly enhance your studies across the curriculum while strengthening your children’s imagination, creativity, and more.
Children can incorporate drawing, painting, or art pastels (our favorite!) into their nature journaling. When children are recreating what they see, they are learning the “art of observation.” Observation is a key skill in all of science, so a strong emphasis on it will help them throughout their science studies.

Illustrations bring picture books to life. Younger students can observe the illustrations by doing a picture study and older students can learn about the different art mediums used to create the illustrations. Both can copy the style and create their own.

When it comes to the “art of illustration,” the applications are endless! History timelines, maps, and all the things of science—from nature to biology to even chemistry—are enhanced when coupled with original illustrations by your young (and older) artists.

Creating their own models and charts across the subjects will help them go beyond memorizing to understanding. Adding art will stretch some types of learners while others will excitedly go above and beyond, but all of them will benefit. Just keep in mind that perfection is not the goal. Focus on the process, what they are learning, and their personal expression of that.

various paints and pastels on a table
Here’s your challenge:
  1. With your kids, brainstorm ways you can incorporate art into your curriculum. Make a list and put it where you can easily see it.
  2. Gather supplies—whether you store them in a cabinet, closet, or a box you can slide under the bed.
  3. Have fun! Give them as much freedom as possible to imagine and create art with their academics.
Art can truly enhance your studies across the curriculum while strengthening your children’s imagination, creativity, and more.
Kathy Eggers smiling with a green scarf on

ricia Hodges and her mom are passionate about growing a love of art at You ARE an ARTiST! Tricia is Nana’s daughter and a mama of five children. Nana shared the fun of her first chalk pastel art lessons with her grandchildren around Tricia’s kitchen table. Homeschooling since 2000, Tricia has seen the fruits of home education with three homeschool grads so far! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at Your Best Homeschool and is author of the book, Help! I’m Homeschooling! She and her husband, Steve, are also owners of sister sites Homeschool Nature Study and The Curriculum Choice.