Nature Study Tip

Dear Reader,

Here from Charlotte Mason’s fifth book, Formation of Character, is a tip for any parent attempting nature study:

“We are awaking to the use of nature-knowledge, but how we spoil things by teaching them! We are not content that children should know the things of nature as we know our friends, by their looks and ways, an unconscious comprehensive knowledge which sinks in by dint of much looking, but we set them to fragmentary scraps of scientific research. They intend investigation, and lose the joy of seeing.” (p.250)

So what is the tip? Don’t talk too much and don’t make everything a project. Spending lots of time in nature is good. Encouraging observation is good. But don’t turn it all into a  big thing. Have you ever recognized a friend or family member walking towards you by the way they walk? You probably never set out to learn how Dad or Jimmy walks, and yet one day you found that this was something you just knew about them. This is how our knowledge of nature should be. We should begin to just know “this is an elm tree” or “that is the song of the chickadee.” I think homeschooling parents are particularly tempted to make everything a lesson, especially if our child shows a glimmer of interest, but sometimes we kill that very interest we are trying to foster by pouncing upon it and adding our own words and thoughts.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lydia Hubbell on July 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I think I do talk too much. I don’t think I kill my kids’ interest, I think they just tune me out and go their own way! I don’t want to keep all my thoughts to myself, I just don’t want to take the fun out of exploring for them! Something to think about, for sure. Thanks!


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