Welcome to week 12, Living Creatures, Charlotte Mason Home Education Read-Along Series.
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This week we are reading pages 56-62 of the Home Education volume, Living Creatures.
If you would like to see the rest of these posts all in one place you may view them HERE. And don’t forget to download your free worksheets to go with each reading! If you are interested in a Charlotte mason “curriculum”, our favorite resource is Ambleside Online.
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I am using the Original Homeschooling Series, Volume One, Home Education- the pink books. 🙂
A Field of Interest and Delight
Charlotte tells us of children who have never had real-life interaction with “living creatures” and how much of a delight in their life they are missing. Children should be engaged, delighted by and interested in the details of teh natural world around them.
Children should be encouraged to watch
As teachers within our homeschool, “Children should be encouraged to watch patiently and quietly, until THEY learn something of the habits and the history of …” whatever they are watching in nature. I think this is definitely something that I have to work on with my own kids. The temptation to just talk them through it all is hard to resist, but I must allow them room to develop their powers of observation.
I love the suggestion to build an ant farm for observation, of course nowadays you can buy an entire kit if you want to, but I do think it might be a mor evaluable lesson to have the children do it themselves.
I also love that Charlotte encourages the mother to record observations in the nature diary for the child if necessary. It shows that she did not want anything to hinder a child from experiencing actual learning.
The force of public opinion in the home
It is important, Ms. Mason cautions, that we do not show negativty toward the natural world because our opinions will influence our children. I’ll be honest, this one is hard for me because I am NOT a fan of snakes or lizards. At ALL. And it is a challenge for me not to, ahem, run screaming from a room if I even see one.
What town children can do to observe living creatures
Charlotte says that town children, too, have opportunity to observe living creatures around them. Little sparrows and their habits make for good study so, even if you find yourself in a city away from the country, look for occasions to stop and ponder the ways of the living creatures that are around you.
Last summer, we fell into studying all kinds of moths and butterflies that were in abundance around our new neighborhood. Many we had not seen before! We found eggs and chrysalis’, we found caterpillars galore! Beetles and slugs were plentiful too. And by finding them, we also happened upon several wildflowers that we did not recognize. Every day was a new adventure to see what we could find and observe and most of the time, we didn’t have to leave our yard or neighborhood to discover them. What fun!
Nature knowledge the most important for young children
One of the most important interactions a young child can have is with the natural world around them, so let them!
Mental training of a child naturalist
Before reading this section, I hadn’t really considered what valuable mental trainign occurs when we teach children “to watch”. Observation, discrimination, classification, patience and more are all valuable mental abilities that will serve the child well in their life!
Nature work especially valuable for girls
Sooo… it seemed like Charlotte is saying that little girls are more apt to have ugly tempers here, lol. Not sure if this is just a sign of her times, but I really think that both girls and boys benefit from being in nature and learning to delight in it.
My Takeaway of Living Creatures
I think as Spring arrives and we find ourselves outside more, I am going to take CM’s words and focus more on enocuraging my children “to watch”. I am going to give it my best to calm down about the living creatures I am not so fond of, lol. And I am going to simply spend more time outdoors with them enjoying all that it has to offer.