Besides homeschooling her two sons, Jennifer has two main passions - science and nature.
Growing up in the middle of 300 acres of wilderness, she spent most days immersed in the world of forests, fields, and creeks. It was during those carefree days of exploring that Jennifer fell in love with not only nature, but also the science behind it.
This naturally (no pun intended!) led her to pursue a degree in environmental science from Northern Kentucky University, where she could dive further into her favorite subjects of biology, ecology, and geology.
After graduating in 2004, Jennifer realized she wanted to share her passion for nature and science with others. With the goal of opening children’s eyes to the wonders of the world around them, she became an environmental educator. For the next few years she designed and led educational programs where children of all ages could have hands-on nature experiences. She also taught high school level aquatic biology and river ecology onboard a floating Ohio River classroom.
When she became a mother, Jennifer’s focus turned from educating other children to educating her own. Wanting to pass on her love of science and nature to her sons, she decided to make both a large part of their homeschooling journey. However, she found it frustrating that most curriculums treated nature study and science as two distinct subjects when to her they were clearly inseparable. And so, Science Through Nature was born.
Today Jennifer, her husband Tim, and their two sons live on a few acres in Kentucky. When she isn’t busy writing a new adventure at Hawk Valley Nature Preserve (the fictional preserve in Science Through Nature), Jennifer can be found exploring nature with her children, hiking with their homeschooling nature club, working in her vegetable garden, tending to her chickens, or curling up with a good book and her dog Rascal.
Leah grew up in a classical homeschooling family that prioritized hands on experiences with animals and nature.
During most of her childhood, she was fortunate enough to live with miles of forest outside her back door. Some of her fondest memories involve wandering along the creek with her brother and cousins, lost in play.
Later, Leah developed an interest in business. This led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in Information Systems, followed by a Masters in Business. She spent the next decade and a half working in healthcare management and entrepreneurship.
After leaving the corporate world, Leah returned to her roots - homeschooling and the outdoors. The homeschool world had blossomed since her days of being homeschooled and she was excited at the options available.
Using her love of nature, science, and living books as a cornerstone, she developed an interactive, literature rich homeschool program for her own children. She also decided to share her love of science with others by organizing a science program for her local co-op and STEAM workshops for children in her community.
Today, Leah lives with her husband and two precocious children in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. When she isn’t busy editing quests, researching resources, or working on the business side of Science Through Nature, she can be found hiking at one of the many natural areas near her home, meeting up with forest school friends, or planning her next family camping trip.
She also loves playing the violin with her daughter, finding a quiet moment to work on a watercolor, and can be found weekly diving into a Euro Board Game with her gaming group.
Preparing the soil.
"If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.
The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil."
- Rachel Carson
What method is this?
The best bits of all.
It's important for children to physically experience their world like Marie Montessori advised, connect with the natural world and internalize big ideas like Charlotte Mason emphasized, and learn important scientific concepts like Classical methods aim to do.
Love the earth. Then advocate.
The early programs of Science Through Nature do not place focus on environmentalism.
First and foremost, children must desire to save something before they take the necessary steps to do so.
That desire comes from experiencing the wonder of the natural world - from realizing that it is worth cherishing and protecting.
Let them first love nature and, as they grow and develop the ability to understand the myriad of issues facing the environment, they will inherently strive to protect it.