Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nature Studies

Though Charlotte Mason loved order, she gave her students plenty of time for free play. She put a lot of importance on getting children into the out-of-doors. She wrote:
He must live hours daily in the open air . . . must look and touch and listen; must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast, bird, or insect; the manner of growth and fructification of every plant. He must be accustomed to ask why – Why does the wind blow? Why does the river flow? Why is a leaf-bud sticky? And do not hurry to answer his question for him; let him think his difficulties out so far as his small experience will carry him.

When the weather is pleasant, you’ll likely find one or more of my children reading books in the backyard. When they’re not reading, you’ll find them playing or exploring, even when the weather is quite unpleasant. This is important to a child’s complete education, perhaps as much as their book work.

To explore is to learn to observe and make hypotheses about the world God created for them. It helps create a sense of wonder, a sense of awe. Free play, not organized play but spontaneous play, promotes creativity, discovery, and inter-personal relationships.

Hey, you can't get more thrifty than, "Kids! Go outside and play!" And make sure you're out there with them! Emotions are contagious. If you love exploring and discovering, then they will too. If you stay inside, that's where the kids will want to be too.

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