Can I Use No Sweat Nature Study in High School?

I recently received a question from a longtime member asking if you can use No Sweat Nature Study in high school for science credit. That’s a great question, and I have good news!

Take a peek at the original question.

My daughters do not want to stop studying with you! We have decided that one high school credit will be nature studies, spanning over 4 years to amount to the 120 hours required for a credit. Our umbrella school asks for at least two science credits to include a lab. What can we do additionally, or what would count as lab within your program? 

Sandra V.

I have recently received several similar questions about using No Sweat Nature Study for high school, so it’s high time to address this. Fortunately, you’ll get a definitive answer and plenty of learning ideas!

nature journal page of trees painted in watercolors

Is it possible to use No Sweat Nature Study in high school?

The short answer is…YES!

The longer answer is that you must add certain additional requirements to supplement the classes. Luckily, it’s not hard to do, and I’ve provided many ideas below.

The bottom line is that high school classes need to be beefy. No Sweat Nature Study classes are very in-depth through middle school. They provide a solid basis of understanding and scientific vocabulary, and the interactive nature journaling builds an enormous amount of skills.

Is nature study a science?

Yes. The most obvious part of the program is the scientific understanding that students glean during the classes. However, as students enter high school, they need to take on more and more learning independently.

Luckily, it’s not hard to push students toward independence in learning after they have learned the basics about a topic from a No Sweat Nature Study class. (The ideas for doing this are coming below.)

If you’re concerned about titling a credit “nature study,” there are other options. While you certainly can’t consider this program a full biology course, it can go toward a biology credit. Plenty of botany and animal science classes coupled with independent learning activities can easily count towards part of a credit. In the same way, many of the earth, space, and weather class topics can be used toward a physical science credit.

Notice in this picture how older students can still work alongside younger students if that’s a desire.

Important Higher-Order Thinking Skills

Higher-order thinking is one of the more unique and less obvious skills practiced in the program. This includes comparing, contrasting, analyzing, creating, questioning, examining, questioning, defending, and many more.

As mentioned above, by the time students reach high school, it’s critical for them to move beyond my direction in these higher-order thinking skills. They need to work on them using their own brain power.

The good news is that I’ve trained them to do just that during our classes together. I will continue to train those skills as they continue taking classes with me in the No Sweat Nature Study program. As the parent, you will provide additional “on-your-own” brain training opportunities for them after class.

Again, the ideas below innately promote these skills, so there’s no need to feel overwhelmed.

How To Use No Sweat Nature Study in High School

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty things you can practically do to use the No Sweat Nature Study program in high school. Many of these ideas will easily count as lab activities. Additionally, they support independent, research-based learning and practice in higher-order thinking skills.

Take Purposeful Nature Walks

The first and most obvious way to turn a class into more in-depth, personalized learning is to take a nature walk after each class. The task is to find and examine real-life examples of the things we’ve studied.

Expect “One More Thing”

To stretch a regular nature walk or an at-home study into more research or lab-based experiences, consider assigning tasks that hit any of the following high-order thinking skills:

  • Take a nature walk after each class to find and examine real-life examples of what we’ve studied.
  • Compare and contrast various specimens.
  • Interpret the observations. (For example, look for signs of garden pests. Use a field guide to help discern which garden pests are the problem.)
  • Develop plans of action. (For example, research and implement a plan of action to rid the garden pest and revive a plant.)
  • Complete demonstrations. (For example, after studying xylem and phloem in a No Sweat Nature Study class, use celery, food coloring, water, and a magnifying glass to demonstrate the processes and identify the anatomy.)
  • Do field studies. (For example, after learning about macroinvertebrates in a No Sweat Nature Study class, visit a creek to find, identify, and chart macroinvertebrates. Then, determine the creek’s health based on the data.)
  • Complete experiments (For example, purchase an inexpensive water testing kit and run experiments to assess the creek’s health further.)
  • Collect and organize data about various specimens.
  • Ask questions, research answers, test theories, and defend answers.
  • Design models.
  • Dissect specimens.

Luckily, the supplementary resources for each class include hands-on and research-based project ideas that can be easily modified for high school-level learning.

In this picture, notice the depth of learning from older students while nature journaling during class time.

One More Thought

Another longtime member sent me this (rephrased) not too long ago.

I’ve been wondering whether we can continue using No Sweat Nature Study at the high school level. My parents and I have been watching the classes alongside my daughter every time she takes a class recently. We have determined that the classes are definitely worthwhile to use all the way through high school. I honestly think you should advertise them as useful for kindergarten through high school because they are so versatile, especially considering the supplementary resources for further investigations.

Jennie

So, there you have it. If you’re already a member, you can easily determine whether the program will work in high school for your family. Folks who haven’t tried a class yet but want to see a sample class can easily do that here. Please note that there is an ever-growing library of more than 150 video classes with supplementary resources inside the membership waiting for your family!

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