A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson

Nature Study
Nature Study

Part 1 

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson

First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. Also, I include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be SO inspiring and helpful.

Next, please keep reading to see the break down of implementing lessons, the schedule, and resources I’m using that fit our family. Finally, I share the wealth of quality Charlotte Mason resources I have found helpful, from those mothers who have gone before me.

PREPARING THE FEAST

“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.” (Mason, vol. 3)

There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast. Sometimes, it feels a bit daunting for a new homeschooling mama.

Therefore, I’m attempting to learn, digest, and absorb how I’m going to be teaching each subject. I have decided to compose a blog post on each subject for Form 1B (roughly First Grade). This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.

“The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.” (Mason, vol. 1)

A Charlotte Mason Nature Study  

WHAT

“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in its own degree, and its inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” (Mason, vol. 1)

When I think about Charlotte Mason, I think about Nature Study, because it was such a big part of her educational philosophy.

WHAT WE ARE USING 

MIX MEDIA JOURNAL

Since Charlotte Mason advocated keeping a Nature Journal, we are using this simple one to record our outdoor findings. This is a mix media journal, so it will accommodate our notes, drawings, and watercolors. It is also compact enough to pack in a backpack when we go to a natural park, or the playground, or simply outside in the yard.

This Nature Journal looks amazing too, and I have seen many people purchase it!

WATERCOLORS

Although Charlotte Mason said children are worthy the best, we are using these great, inexpensive watercolors. These do a nice job, and since we already have them, we use them until they are used up. Then, we will probably purchase a nicer quality set, per Ms. Mason’s suggestions, and purchase these: Stockmar Watercolors. Also, I have this beautiful Cherry Wood Paint Holder, which we love to use when we are drawing.

Nature Drawing
Nature Drawing

HANDBOOK OF NATURE STUDY

 

In Home Education, Charlotte Mason says, “The mother cannot devote herself too much to this kind of reading, (Nature Study) not only that she may read tid-bits to her children about matters they have come across, but that she may be able to answer their queries and direct their observation.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Although the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock is intimidatingly large, it holds a wealth of knowledge on Nature Study. This is meant as a resource for Mama to read, in order to prepare for Nature Study Lessons.

WHEN

Charlotte Mason describes the Nature Study Lesson as occurring daily. The goal should be to spend two to three hours outside in tolerably fine weather. Therefore, we plan to spend two hours outdoors per day in the afternoons, after finishing morning lessons.

A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson

WHY

Charlotte Mason volumes say it best, so here are three AMAZING quotes pertaining to Nature Study.

“That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under direction) in the open air.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Nature Study lays the groundwork for Science.

“…the children will adore her (Mama) for knowing what they want to know, and who knows but she may give its bent for life to some young mind destined to do great things for the world.” (Mason, vol. 1)

The ladies at A Delectable Education note that Nature Study is the foundation for all school work: Reading, Math, Writing, Art, Geography, Language Development, and finally, Science. Therefore, Nature Study is not to be missed.

“…there is no sort of knowledge to be got in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in. Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life.”(Mason, vol. 1)

HOW

“In the first place, the child gets his rudimentary notions of geography as he gets his first notions of natural science, in those long hours out of doors of which we have already seen the importance.” (Mason, vol. 1)

After morning lessons, Charlotte Mason advocated ample time spent out of doors on a daily basis. Thus, Nature Study would occur daily, in the afternoons.

NATURE STUDY LESSON

  • First, go outside! This can take place in your own yard!
  • Next, the child observes nature. 
  • A very young child tells about the time they spend outdoors and his observations. This is narration. Or, the child can simply record observations in his Nature Journal.
  • Then, the child notes the month or date. Mama can write this in for the child if needed.
  • Sometimes, the child can include a drawing if they want to support their notes.
  • Keep a flower list and a bird list in columns in the Nature Journal.
  • Also, keep a list of anything interesting to the child (ex. mushrooms, trees, leaves, plants).

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT NATURE STUDY

 

  1. First, keep formal lessons short.
  2. Allow the child plenty of time to observe nature on their own.
  3. Also, Mama goes with the kiddos when possible! It is as nourishing for Mama as it is for the children.

NATURE JOURNAL

“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child. ” (Mason, vol. 1)

Often, we see beautiful drawings and illustrations used for Nature Journals. In reality though, the drawings are used to support the field notes and observations. Its amazing if the child can create beautiful drawings, however, it is not necessary.

Therefore, the purpose of a Nature Journal is to support observations in nature.

In the beginning, the mother writes notes for the child, until the child is able to record his own notes in his Nature Journal. The child is encouraged to take notes, and draw in his journal anytime, because this is such a valuable part of their education.

Eventually, it is suggested to keep lists of flowers and birds, and of anything interesting to the child. Also, a child could also additionally include poetry in their Nature Journal.

Also, this Parent’s Union article suggests the schedule would have been: find and describe six wild fruits, watch and describe, if possible, ten birds and five other animals.

tree study
tree study

SOME HANDY RESOURCES TO SUPPORT NATURE STUDY

 

 

FAVORITE RESOURCES

Finally, I have come across some outstanding resources in learning about a Charlotte Mason education. I’m so happy to share them with you! Some of these are sources I return to daily because I’m preparing to teach my children. Additionally, I list specific resources for a Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON NATURE STUDY LESSON RESOURCES

OUR PICKS

Additionally, if you are interested in additional Charlotte Mason information,

check out these previous blog posts in the series:

Thank you so much for checking in! Please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.

Homeschool Preschool Supplies List

All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason. The Living Press published my favorite version of her books. I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books! They are truly treasured words I believe I will be reading and re-reading for many years to come.

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