Our Nature Table

The idea of a nature table or nature shelf has been in my mind for a while now and yesterday, I finally got around to beginning it.  Inspired by Charlotte Mason (or was it Montessori?  Or Waldorf?  I don't know.  I'd be lying if I said I could keep all those homeschool greats and philosophies from morphing into one giant amalgamation in my head...), it is a designated space in the home where the children can store their finds from nature on display.  I moved some furniture around and settled on this place in our library (that sounds fancy doesn't it?) and I think we like it.  The shelf we've had for a long time and while probably not the perfect milieu for display, the multiple shelves make it nice for categorizing the various nature treasures that we have found over the years.  Because I never had a great place to put them, they were often kept for a little while then thrown away.  By me.  Because I can't tolerate clutter and without a set place to keep all these little keepsakes, they'd drive me crazy.  But now we have a set, albeit very humble, place!  Yay!

And I really felt like the homeschool mom rockstar because we spent several hours researching each item, categorizing, and labeling each treasure.  The feeling didn't last long I assure you but I enjoyed it while it lasted because when you're a homeschool mom you have to savor those moments that just click.  We're currently using the three shelves on the bottom and they are separated into animals, vegetation, and rocks/minerals.  The top two shelves now keep our devotionals and Bible.  After all, all of creation can lead us to glorify God more fully (and because that's where I needed to keep them).  Each higher order of creation gets the next higher shelf...pretty cool, huh?

The shelf is far from complete but it's a start and is actually meant to be a constantly evolving project.  Things will be added, changed, discarded, and rotated as we discover throughout the year.  As we add items we will look them up, learn about them, and categorize them accordingly.  Any recommendations for a great field guide are appreciated.  We're in need of some books so that we can identify the birds, plants, wildlife, rocks, etc. that we find in this area and preferably a really extensive one.  I've recently realized how woefully inadequate my own knowledge is in the area of local wildlife.  Homeschooling seems to do that to me and I'm well aware now how lacking I am in so many subject areas.  Good thing it's never too late to learn.


  1. I love this! Sometimes I feel like our whole house is a nature table with the way Syd and Kay collect things. The current fascination is rocks. Yesterday they were cataloguing their rocks in egg cartons that they painted.

    You've inspired me to designate and set up an intentional space for their finds. I want a shelf like yours but will have to get creative and use something else.

  2. I think this is so cool! The shelf is so perfect for it, too. I love the beauty and simplicity of it the shelf itself, and the way you displayed everything. The whole "order of creation" thing is very clever! I've seen lots of nature tables,usually the waldorf kind..they're beautiful, but sometimes they can sort of become too much like an altar unto itself..pointing us toward "mother nature" instead of toward a Father who loves us and created all this for us. Nice job! And your handwriting is pretty slammin, too:) heather

  3. You ARE a homeschool rockstar! :) That nature shelf is inspiring. And I must say, I'm always admiring your clean whites in your house- your drapes, your bookshelves, your walls. So bright and airy and beautiful.


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