“The child must not be left to discover everything for himself; his mind must be prepared in some measure for what he is to see and observe. It has been well said that the previous history of the mind determines the impression which the sight of any object is to make. ‘We can only see what we have been trained to see.'” Medd, CM Parents Review

Do you struggle with nature study? I know I did. I loved being outside with my children and going on adventures. I could see us gaining skills of observation and slowing down to attend. But I struggled to move beyond that step. I wanted to train them better to “see” while still allowing their natural curiosity and observation skills to grow. I wanted to ensure I was covering a variety of naturalist topics in our nature study year.
Then I found the lovely curriculum, Exploring Nature With Children. This book was the guide I had been looking for to give me support and direction in this essential part of our Charlotte Mason Education.

“Nature study as a subject is one which should be approached with great reverence, for in dealing with birds, animals, flower and all other forms of natural life, we are perhaps, nearer to the Creator than in any other branch of science; for the natural world is the expression of God’s personality in a form that is within the reach of all of us to comprehend in some measure. And is not the natural world one of the greatest proofs that there is a God?” PNEU article, Dowton

Here’s what I love about Exploring Nature With Children:
1. The topics are organized by month so we can explore what is available in our local area each season.
2. It offers just the right amount of pre-information to give us a focus for our nature hikes without flooding our minds with unnecessary facts.
3. The picture book extensions were great for my Form I students to dig deeper on topics they were interested in.
4. Corresponding pages to The Handbook of Nature Study helped my older students with their self-selected special studies.
5. I loved the poetry correlation. Great to read while they nature journal or as we stop for a mid-hike snack. Can you ever have too much poetry?
6. The extension activities are fantastic with several different options to choose from.

Exploring Nature With Children is scheduled over 2 years (Green and White) in A Gentle Feast. I would recommend it for any year or for anyone who may need some hand-holding with nature study.

Lynn Seddon has graciously offered to give The Gentle Feast Community 20% off until Saturday, June 24th. Just use code GENTLE20 HERE.

Now, consider what a culpable waste of intellectual energy it is to shut up a child, blessed with this inordinate capacity for seeing and knowing, within the four walls of a house, or the dreary streets of a town. Or suppose that he is let run loose in the country where there is plenty to see, it is nearly as bad to let this great faculty of the child’s dissipate itself in random observations for want of method and direction. {Vol. 1, p. 68}

 

Happy Trails,
Julie H Ross

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