In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As we look at nature around us, we find much of beauty to enjoy and many lessons to be learned. Nature is a delightful place to center school subjects for children. Deserts, mountains, beaches, and tundra each provide homes for a variety of plants and animals. Habitats vary and each provides an opportunity for the homeschool family to explore nature and to learn how to care for Earth. Revelation 7:3 admonishes us “do not harm the land or the sea or the trees”, reminding us that God’s principles require us to care for the things He has created for us to enjoy.
Simply by looking out of a window, a homeschool family can observe many interesting things in nature. By looking out mine, I can see flocks of a dozen or more white pelicans as they glide through the air so gracefully. The Canadian geese are starting to gather on the wildlife refuge ponds next door, preparing for their annual migration. In the late afternoon they create a cacophony of noise Cute faced raccoons, adorable little pests, visit after darkness falls, stealing cat food from a bowl on the porch. Their eyes glow in the dark when you shine a flashlight at their faces! A few months ago a mother killdeer had a nest in the gravel at the edge of our lawn and seemed to flutter for miles with her fake broken wing when anyone came near. Hummingbirds at feeders, and tiny bats who live in eaves, provide enjoyment and lessons to those who observe. Even from an armchair, nature’s antics provide much to behold.
By going outside, even more senses are engaged as the fragrances, textures, sights, sounds, and tastes of nature are experienced. A mountain experience brings rewards and joys. Wild mushrooms, leaves of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and fragrant flowers entice children to pluck, smell, and feel them as they are discovered. Some things are safe to taste, like wild strawberries, astringent elderberries, and pine needles made into a fragrant tisane. Forest creatures, such as wild turkeys, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk are easily observed on a walk through the woods or meadow. Even this late in the year, the lush green of new growth shares its story of hope and the creation of all things new.
It’s interesting to observe how God speaks to us through His creation. And it is overwhelming when one realizes the breadth and width of human responsibility when it comes to caring for the natural world. Caring for Earth is a commission we need to take seriously. Teaching children about God’s care for us, and for His commission to take care of the plants, creatures, and terrains He created provides lessons in ecology, stewardship, and God’s protection and care. Together we can do our part to make our environment a safe and beautiful place. Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees. A reminder to us all!