Month: May 2008

Nature Study: Developing the Habit of Observation by Deborah and HollyAnne Dobbins

Welcome to our first Blog! This is an exciting opportunity to apply thoughts from the writings of Charlotte Mason to our technology today. In this article we will focus on the aspect of observation in nature study. My daughter, HollyAnne, and I teach nature study classes to the first and second grade classes at Perimeter School. After devotion, we begin each class with a nature walk if the specimen is on campus, then a time of observation and sharing. A first grade teacher commented that she has noticed her class observes nature more and more carefully. Recently one of our Enrichment Day dads made this comment, “I can’t draw anything, but by studying nature I found I could paint flowers that actually look real!” HollyAnne says that the most important minute of the hour is observation. My assignment is to find what Charlotte Mason says about observation in her writings. I began by reading in Home Education, Volume 1 from the chapter titled “Out-of-Door life for the Children.” Charlotte Mason says that she trains the …

“The Higher the Fewer” by Laurie Bestvater

“People are naturally divided into those who read and think and those who do not read or think…” CM Vol.6 p.31 The day I graduated high school from a small south eastern Ontario village, my drama teacher took me aside and very seriously told me, “Remember, the higher the fewer.”  Puzzled though I was, he would give no further explanation. He was a little “weird” as teachers go (he once won a school-wide bet with another teacher over who could resist washing his person for the longest period of time…I’ll leave you to extrapolate!) so I wasn’t terribly worried not to understand his advice but I do have to admit that it has stayed with me all these years. Beginning with the university graduation address which assured the class of ____ that we were in the top 1% of the world intellectually, over time this saying began to take on a personal meaning somewhat akin to: the higher your education, the fewer people you will find as peers. While I can not condone the elitism …

A continuing conversation on the use of manipulatives by Carroll Smith

The last time that I addressed this topic, I discussed a brief history of the use of manipulatives, particularly by educators who view the world as only matterial. (I use the word matterial to convey the view that all reality is understood to be only matter.) For those educators the use of manipulatives is necessary because the physical world or matter is all that there is. Education that has arisen from this matterialism would have us think that to live free, independent, healthy lives we must allow our children to explore the world through the inquiry of their own minds and bodies because as they “sort out” the world, they begin to see how the world fits together, how to find their place in the world, thereby gaining control over their destiny and the world around them. Because this is the best means for learning in a matterial universe, educators are less than they should be if they do not provide a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to learning and without these engaging and exciting approaches to …

Internationalism by Tara Schorr

Dr. John Thorley spoke at ChildlightUSA’s first conference at Gardner-Webb about the weakness in the area of internationalism in the education of our children.  At the coffee shop later that night, everybody was discussing the desire for more instruction in this area, so I am going to begin with my passion and vision for this and I hope that it will inspire discussion about this topic. One of my favorite statements of Charlotte Mason’s was that “education is the handmaid of religion” and I believe it rings most true in imparting an appreciation for internationalism to our children.  Consider the beauty of all of God’s creation and how He called it all good, but said that man, whom He created in His own image, was very good.  There is nothing more awe-inspiring than the human being, formed and knit in the womb by the very hand of God.  People are at the center of God’s heart and focus, so we too should give due place in our thoughts and attention to what is so important …

Wildflower Rambles by Jeannette Tulis

My love for wildflowers started as an adult when I was teaching my young children.  One of my friends had studied botany and knew all the Latin names! I was inspired by her to go on a wildflower hike with a local club and realized that each flower had a name and a story.  I learned just a few that year, but in successive years I welcomed my old friends and made a few new ones. Like much in nature, wildflowers have lessons to teach us.  They come up at their predetermined time, the same time each year.  The wildflower calendar is predictable.  At certain times of the year, you know you can find certain flowers in the woods and meadows.  As we spot these familiar friends, we are reminded of God’s unchanging faithfulness to His children. The variety and detail of the wildflowers never ceases to amaze me.  More than 10,000 kinds of wildflowers exist in North America.  When you look at the flowers through a jeweler’s loupe (and I do suggest you do …