This continues the study guide on Home Education By Charlotte Mason. A blog series dedicated to provide a study guide companion to a Home Education book study, utilizing certain study guide questions from the appendix. Your welcome to join the Holistic Homeschooling group to learn more about Charlotte Mason’s methods, gain encouragement and support from other homeschooling parents.
Of what creatures may children observe the habits?
“Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something about habits and history of Bee, ant, wasps, spiders, hairy Caterpillar, dragonfly and whatever of larger growth comes in their way.” Charlotte Mason Home Education pg.57.
Prior to this section Ms. Mason also discusses how a child should catch tadpoles just to watch them grow and develop. We started this last summer with butterflies and this summer we grew tadpoles. Raising little creatures is a natural and real life experience which enables the child to truly grasp and understand various life cycles and habitats.
What can town children do in getting a knowledge of ‘living creatures.’
”Town children may get a great deal of pleasure in watching the ways of sparrows-Knowing little birds, and easily tamed by a dole of crumbs, – and their days out will bring them in the way of new acquaintances.”-Home Education Charlotte Mason pg.59
Ms. Mason goes on to describe a man in a garden who feeds the sparrows from his hands. Interacting and utilizing the available nature around town children is how they gain knowledge of living creatures.
What intellectual powers are trained in the child naturalist?
“…the powers of attention, of discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing with his growth, what will they not fit him for?”-Charlotte Mason Home Education pg. 62.
Show that nature-work is especially valuable for girls
“She it is who is most tempted to indulge in ugly tempers because time hangs heavy on her hands; she, whose idler, more desultory habits of mind want the spur and the bridle of an earnest absorbing pursuit; whose feeble health demands to be braced by an out-of-door life full of healthy excitement.” Home Education Charlotte Mason pg. 62.
I’m struggling with “she is most tempted to indulge in ugly tempers” and “feeble health” simply because they are girls? I have seen boys and girls alike give in to “ugly tempers.” Both genders seem to benefit quite a bit from time spent out of doors.
Should young children be taught the elements of natural science?
Young children benefit from all the “common information” while merely observing nature and their mothers interaction with it. It is superior to what a child can learn from a textbook.
“the habits of observation they have aquired, will form a capital groundwork for a scientific education.” Home Education Charlotte Mason pg. 63
Show the value of rough classifications
“The power to classify, discriminate, distinguish between things that differ, is amongst the highest faculties of the human intellect, and no opportunity to cultivate it should be let to slip; but a classification got out of books, that the child does not make for himself and is not able to verify for himself, cultivates no power but that of verbal memory, and a phrase or two.” Home Education Charlotte Mason pg63-64.
Ms. Mason describes how a child should learn rough classification by observing the difference between different petals, leaves, and a slight knowledge of both animal and plant forms. If one has ever had experience in gardening of any kind or interactions with animals, then one knows the knowledge that was obtained during that time runs deeper than any learned from a textbook.
Why should mothers and teachers have some knowledge of nature?
“The mother cannot devote herself too much to this kind of reading, that only that she may read tidbits to her children about matters they have come across, but that she may be able to answer their queries and direct their observation.” Home Education Charlotte Mason pg.64
I intend to start bringing a field guide with me for our time outside. I often come across bugs I just don’t know the names of yet. I am resourceful when it comes to animals and plants but beyond a few basic butterflies, ants, and ladybug I’m not certain. A basic field guide is a must for nature exploration.
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Show from the behavior of a baby, that a child gets knowledge by means of his senses.
“Everybody knows how a baby fumbles over with soft little fingers, and carries to his mouth, and bangs that it may produce what sound there is in it, the spoon or doll which supercilious grownup people give him to ‘keep quiet….There is at first no difference between flat picture and a solid body,- that the ideas of form and solidity are not obtained by sight at all, but are the judgments of experience.”-Home Education Charlotte Mason pg. 65
Starting in infancy, babies learn through their senses. By banging toys on other toys, touching everything to grasp and understand all the varying textures. They tend to mouth everything, which some psychologists have coined infancy as the oral stage of development. Not only are they learning through their sense but by utilizing their senses to learn, they are also developing them.
Characterize Nature’s teaching
“The child has truly a great deal to do before he is in a condition to ‘believe his own eyes’; but nature teaches so gently, so gradually, so persistently, that he is never overdone, but goes on gathering little stores of knowledge about whatever comes before him.” -Home Education Charlotte Mason pg. 66
Wherein lies the danger of over-pressure
“The danger exists; but lies, not in giving the child too much, but in giving him the wrong thing to do, the sort of work for which the present state of his mental development does not fit him.” Home Education Charlotte Mason pg. 67
Ms. Mason then offers an example of a young child expected to lift something that is beyond his ability. Instead, she directs towards the engagement in nature as a source of work for children.
What does Dickens say about the child’s powers of observation?
“I think the memory of most of us can go farther back into such times then most of us suppose; Just as I believe however in the power of observation in numbers of very young children to be quite wonderful for it’s closeness and accuracy, indeed, I think most grown men who are remarkable in this respect may with greater proprietary be said not to have lost the faculty, than to have acquired it; the rather, as I generally observe such men to retain a certain freshness, and gentleness, and capacity of being pleased, which are also an inheritance they have preserved from their childhood.” Dicken quoted in Home Education By Charlotte Mason on pg. 69
This concludes this sections study guide, if you would like to add to the discussion please leave a comment or join us in the holistic homeschooling group.