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Because of Creation, Nature Study Makes Sense

These butternut trees are just beginning to drop their leaves.

These butternut trees are just beginning to drop their leaves.

Nature study is an essential part of our life and homeschool.  Even when we lived surrounded by pavement, we found spots of green beauty within walking distance—although sometimes it was a long walk.  Nowadays we live in a small paradise, with woods, wetlands, farmland, birds, mammals, insects, our garden, and more.

As I stood among the shoulder-high raspberry canes on Thanksgiving Monday, I realized that living in such a wonderland does not mean anything in itself.  No, we still need to get outside. We need mindfulness to listen, see, smell, and feel.  We need to spend time and to be patient.  And, above all, we need to give thanks.

Fall-painted leaves, blue sky, fuzzy caterpillars, and the smell of early morning are gifts to us from God.  And, as we so carefully teach our children, it is important to say ‘thank you’ when we receive a gift, especially an unexpected and undeserved one.

What’s more, when we thank God for nature, we are taking a significant and controversial philosophical stance.  We are confessing that God has created the world.  And that has a huge impact on our nature study in at least three ways:

  • There have always been those who worshipped nature and feared it.  History abounds with examples, and nowadays environmentalism tends in this direction.
    • But we worship God who created the world, not nature itself, and how liberating that is!
  • There are also those, especially in our detached society, who completely ignore nature.  They are content to live among screens, fast food, money worries, and cement.
    • But because we know our God has created the world, we are motivated to pay attention to it and to care for it.
  • There are even those who say, sadly and with existential angst, that the natural world is not really real; we’re making it up as we go along.  This philosophy is behind so much of today’s despair.
    • But we know that God is the great ‘I Am’ who exists and through whom all things exist.   We don’t have to lose ourselves in the convoluted logical results of foolish ideas.

Yes, there are many consequences to the fact that God has created the world, and one of them is that nature study is possible and has meaning.

So get outside, learn about the natural world around you, and give joyful thanks to the God who made it all.  Soli Deo Gloria!

This post is linked to Monday’s Musings, Trivium Tuesday , Encourage One Another Wednesday, Carnival of Homeschooling, and Works For Me Wednesday.

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6 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Thank you for those thoughts. It really does change a bit my thinking about nature walks. We have done a few here. I do want to continue adding them to our week.

  2. Annie Kate,
    It has occurred to me, too, that many are taking God’s beautiful nature and ignoring it. As a conservative, organic loving, tree-hugger who really enjoys being a steward of the land we have been gifted, I find that hard to understand. I am thankful for eyes to see and especially that the Lord has placed belief in our hearts! That is the best gift and by it we can say, ‘we love him because He first loved us!’
    I appreciate you so much. Have a great rest of the week!

  3. briana says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I like keeping a nature book because it gives me a place to log my appreciation for His creation.

  4. Annie Kate says:

    Yes, and from your comments I’m realizing that I’m not the only mom who does nature study as much for herself as for her kids. That is a good thing, and a good example for our children as well.

  5. Amy says:

    Soli Deo Gloria! So true about Thanksgiving. Sadly, most people don’t even know what they are thanking on Thanksgiving. The food? Their country? I don’t know Canadian history, but the pilgrims here were thanking God and we should do the same! I love that you tied the holiday into our everyday interactions with nature. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Amanda Jones says:

    Thank you for your Carnival submissions. I used them both but this one was my favorite because I am the same way! What a magnificent creation God has made us stewards of! No matter where our family goes, I always try to encourage the kids to see and appreciate what God has placed around them!

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