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The best homeschool nature curriculum review

Reviewing the best homeschool nature curriculum for and how to use it for toddlers and preschoolers

mother with two kids sitting at small table reviewing nature curriculum
photo by Jenn Bakos Photography

I have tried many a nature curriculum for toddlers, and preschool/preK. So many of them involve lots of prep work or needed lots of supplies. I don’t consider myself super cute or crafty. My crafts often resemble my toddlers. So curriculums that are super crafty, lots of prep and supplies just don’t work for me. I am busy! I homeschool two vastly different kids, work as a nurse, has lots of food allergies to contend with and the list goes on. I need it to be easy and quick to prepare, yet still rich and fun for all of us. I tried programs, even ones that said open and go, but it was not open and go…

Importance of a nature curriculum

Little wild souls love nature. It is something they can see, feel and relate too. Nature deeply soothes our soul and teaches so many important lessons. It’s so important for kids to have time in nature (see my post on exploring nature with kids for more ideas on that). Many nature curriculums don’t go with the seasons (I am aware that the plural form of curriculum is curricula, but that sounds weird and I can’t do it). So the curriculum would be a lesson on leaves, but I live in New England and it was winter so there were no leaves on the trees! So then I was mixing up the weeks which took more time to figure out and it didn’t feel natural.

The search for the perfect nature curriculum

After much searching I stumbled on Treehouse Nature Study via Treehouse Schoolhouse. I have now been using this curriculum for 9 months with no plans of stopping anytime soon (hoping to use it straight through elementary school with some tweaking).

The full nature curriculum review

Spoiler alert, I love it and am planning to stick with it for a long time (years).


Treehouse Nature Study is a beautiful nature based curriculum that is easily adaptable for all ages (toddlers, preschool right through middle school, and I do mean easily!). It includes art, music, poetry, language, copy work, nature and some science. Pre math skills are easily incorporated for toddlers and preschoolers. It is grouped in 12 week sections by season. You can jump in at anytime and start with the current season. Each week is a different simple nature based theme. The weeks have beautiful graphics that engage even little ones.

pictures of a nature curriculum hanging on a wall with cloths pins
photo by Jenn Bakos Photography

The Pros

  1. Minimal supplies: There are a few basic supplies needed and then the majority of lessons use those same supplies. Every once in a while there will be an extra item needed. Examples of the basic supplies include: non hardening clay, water colors, colored pencils, white paper. Very basic. 
  2. Easy to use: she spells out how to use each section. I found it very open and go for the majority of lessons. The hardest part is remembering to get library books that go with the theme the week before (which you could also do with your kids and not worry about getting them ahead of time). 
  3. Beautiful art: The drawings and graphics in each lesson are simple and beautiful, I hang them up for each week and it makes the room so cute.
  4. Flexible: The weeks don’t build so you can easily skip a theme if you are going away or over the holidays with no pressure that you are going to miss something you will need. You can add it to the end or plan to do it next year if you repeat the curriculum!
  5. Biggest one: the kids love it! I use this with my two littles: 3 and 4yrs old and both are engaged in the lessons. It’s been 9 months and they are excited for school time each day.

The Cons

  1. Its an investment to start: For me it felt expensive to start (but I am glad I did it!). I had done less expensive curriculums, and had a hard time committing to this one. So, I just bought one season to start but we loved it so much I ended up buying all 4 and 3 sets of student sheets (one for each kid and one to hang). So definitely a financial investment. But for me, it was worth it. I plan to use this for years. Pricing: $99 per season for a digital and print copy which includes one set of student sheets. Or $180 for all 4 seasons (currently on sale for $149!). So it is a much better deal to buy all the seasons together.

Ways to save

  1. You don’t have to have a set of student sheets to hang up on the wall. I just added that in recently
  2. If you are really interested you can buy all 4 seasons at once at a discount (I bought the seasons separately because I wanted to try it before committing after trying so many other programs I was worried that even though it sounded perfect I wouldn’t like it. But I was wrong and  did end up buying all the seasons)
  3. Print yourself: you can buy the digital copy and print the student sheets yourself or price out how much it is to have a local print shop do the printing (I will warn you that it for me it did end up being cheaper to buy hard copies from her website vs. use a local print shop.)

Protect the curriculum investment

Lyndsay from Treehouse Schoolhouse recommends buying menu covers and putting the student sheets in them so they are all protected in plastic. That way as you paint and adventure with the sheets they won’t get dirty and you can use the same student sheets in future years vs. having to buy new sheets each year. This has worked out so well for us! We’ve gone on mushroom hunts in the rain, painted, used modeling clay over the pictures, taken them to the beach and on other adventures and all the sheets have survived so far (which feels like a small miracle).

quote on homeschool nature curriculum, brown background with white outline of mountains and flowers

How to adjust this nature curriculum for younger ages

The most important thing to remember at this age is that the goal of homeschooling pre k kids is to spark an interest in learning and the world around them. The goal is NOT to retain all information, have formal lessons or force school time. The curriculum author even says she does not start formal lessons with her children until age 6. So, use the main goal as your guide. What will help them become interested in learning?

No perfection needed

This age is not about perfection. Some areas of the curriculum ask the kids to copy a part or all of a piece of art. At younger ages this will most likely be a bunch of scribbles. That is age appropriate. As they get older they may try to match the colors they scribble to the picture, then maybe add in shapes, then as their fine motor skills develop they will be able to copy more and more. Seeing the progress is so fun. Praise their work, take the pressure off them. Kids learn best with less pressure at this age (and maybe all ages!).

a mom and two kids using their hands to act out a hand rhyme as part of a nature curriculum
photo by Jenn Bakos Photography

Simple is best with a curriculum for preschoolers

Keep it simple and interest based. If they find one piece particularly interesting just focus on that. We did woodland animals and both kids ended up being very interested in beavers so we stuck with that. We made forts and talked about different parts of beaver homes, searched for beaver dams, and read beaver books.

Go with the flow

Some days school takes an hour and some days school takes 10 minutes. I try to listen to my kids’ signals. Some days are just harder and I don’t force extra school. I will scrap an art project or lesson and just move on as needed. I also plan coordinating adventures some afternoons (going to an apple orchard during apple week), so some days we just skip right to that. Basically anything goes at this age. Because remember the goal: spark an interest in learning. Forcing school at this age will create resistance to learning, not spark any interest.

mom and two kids with arms in the air acting out a hand rhyme from a nature curriculum

You don’t have to do it all

In general our flow for this curriculum is: folk song, and hand rhyme every day. Think about all the important learning that goes into just these two pieces: direction following, hand-eye coordination, memory building. All these are important skills that will make academic learning so much easier. Then some days we talk about the poem and do art related to that and the other days we talk about the painting and do art related to that. So we alternate poem days and art days. Doing both ends up being too much for us. Then we talk about the application and do that project/adventure. Sometimes we break for lunch and then finish the project or adventure after.

Skip the copy work in the nature curriculum

No copy work, at 3 and 4, we are learning our letters and letter sounds (in a very relaxed way). My kids do not do copy work yet. That is something we will add in later when they are ready (closer to 6). In the curriculum she recommends not starting formal lessons until 6yrs old as well. We work on fine motor skills through art and play for now.

Add a daily rhythm to support this nature curriculum

This helps us stick to a routine even though the timing of things differ (again we go slow in the mornings and enjoy time together). Adding this to our rhythm has add so much fun and purpose to the day. It sparks conversations, adds adventure. Otherwise, by the afternoon things can get boring pretty fast! How many block towers can we really build?? Check out my posts on why a rhythm is important (here) and what we do for our toddler routine (here). 

Are you going to try this nature curriculum?? What theme are you most excited about?? Comment below and let me know!

Post Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice.  Consult you health care provider for your individual nutritional and medical needs.  The opinions are strictly those of the author and are not necessarily those of any professional group or other individual

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