Happy Results: Heather F.’s Nature Study Story

Charlotte Mason Nature Study Success

Of the many gifts that we can give our children, one of the greatest is a love of nature. And the sooner we encourage that relationship, the more time they will have to develop it and enjoy its benefits.

Charlotte Mason described such a gift like this:

“A love of Nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humour” (Vol. 1, p. 71).

Heather F. has seen that firsthand in her children. Here is her story.

My oldest child was 4 years old when he walked in the backdoor carrying the most beautiful fat, black and green striped caterpillar. He found it on the parsley plant, and he told me, “It stuck out its tongue when I squeezed it.” A quick Google search later and we discovered it was an Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar. He named it “Cattie,” and less than a week later it was a chrysalis inside a jar on our kitchen counter.

That moment, five years ago now, began our family’s enduring love for nature study, and butterfly gardening in particular. My children can now tell you which species of butterfly are common to our area, what times of year you are likely to see them, and what they look like as caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies. They can identify their host plant and know the best place on the leaves to search for the eggs.

But more than all the specifics about butterflies, they have learned to love and stand in awe of God’s creation. They have learned to observe nature closely and notice similarities and differences between creatures.

We still have a way to go in our nature journaling practice, but my children have learned to notice the world around them and to care, and that is a very Happy Result.

Do you have a Happy Results story about seeing Charlotte Mason’s methods work with your children? It might be about living books, narration, music study, picture study, poetry, handicrafts, nature study—any of her simple and effective methods. Let us know about your encouraging experience—your Happy Results story—so we can share it with others.


  1. My boys love nature study but we have never tried a butterfly garden. What any inspiring idea! They are going to love it.
    To keep my boys interested, we keep a nature box to go along with our journals. This way, they can quickly spy something in their box that they found in the outdoors, like a leaf or rock, and write about it. This really helps my kinesthetic learner as he is hands-on and loves touching his treasures.

    • I have plastic shoeboxes that I let each of my kids keep their nature treasures in and they love it too!
      If you want to get started in butterfly gardening, here’s a wonderful website to help you know which butterflies are common to your area and what their host plants are: http://GardensWithWings.com

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