I’ve been reading lots of Charlotte Mason lately– ever since Amazon raised the price on the Kindle Georgette Heyer books I’ve been consuming like candy corn.
Right now Miss Mason’s going on and on about Nature and getting kids into Nature and how our early exploration of Nature is vital to all sorts of later functioning, like Faith and Science. Here are some quotes:
“It is infinitely well worth of the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather to cherish in them, a love of investigation.”
“Consider, too, what an unequalled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for any study or calling under the sun– the powers of attention, the discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing in his growth, what will they not fit him for?”
“There is no sort of knowledge to be got in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in.”
“The little girl: she it is who is most tempted to indulge in ugly tempers (as child and woman) because time hangs heavy on her hands… is it to the girls, little and big, a most true kindness to lift them out of themselves and out of the round of petty personal interests and emulations which too often hem in their lives; and then , with whom but the girls must it rest to mould the generations yet to be born?” (All from Charlotte Mason: Home Education, Vol. 1, sections V, VII and VIII)
But I struggle with Nature Study. Seriously, I am supposed to make my children spend hours daily outside? I’ve got laundry to do, people. Our yard is the size of a two-car garage, and the only wildlife there I can see is the neighbor’s cat.
I liked the phrase she used: “to infuse into them, or rather to cherish in them” a love for Nature. Maybe I can go back to shooting for an hour outside every day. I notice that when we get our one hour outside (especially in the winter) in the morning, then we are more likely to want to go back out later.
I want to bring more Nature into our home (and thus, our school). I saw this great idea on Still Parenting recently: sandwiching a specimen from nature between two pieces of clear contact paper, for looking at later. Duh, but it had never occurred to me. Whenever I think, “Bring Nature inside,” I end up with a pile of crushed, dry leaves underfoot or a dead cricket in a glass jar. So her idea– preserving the Nature so we can look at it– cherish it, investigate it— later was a lightbulb moment for me. It only took me 6 weeks to get my hands on clear contact paper.
How do you encourage your children to Cherish Nature?