Month: July 2010

Science Lessons from the Parents’ Review by Carroll Smith

After reading the two previous blogs by Beth Pinckney, “Preparing for a Year of Teaching Biology” and Jennifer Gagnon, “Ten Stages of Learning Science,” I thought it would be helpful to post a description from a Natural History lesson from the Parents’ Review dated August 1915 and written by K.M. Claxton.  Please notice that this is a Natural History lesson not a Nature Study lesson.  These are different subjects. While Natural History is probably more teacher directed, Nature Study is designed for students to develop their powers of observation and to gain early science knowledge.  In the first lesson I have commented on the instructional practises.  I hope they are meaningful and helpful. I believe these lessons were done during the summer conference for teachers and which, obviously were attended by children as well. The lesson description is in bold print and my comments are in italics. The children first told me what insects they were taking this term, –i.e., Insect Sippers and Gnawers which change their bodies within their coats–and then, after naming the …

Ten Stages of Learning Science by Jennifer L. Gagnon

There is a natural progression of how children to get to know the universe around them.   Science can be integrated innocently as ‘education is a life’.  I have outlined ten stages that should be supported by living books that are appropriate to the age and stage of the child. Science teaching should lead to ‘that attitude of reverence for science, reverence for God and openness of mind, which befits us for whom a life is a probation and a continual education.”(Mason, vol. 3, p 159-160) We do not give a five year old child a dissection kit and ask him to look at the inner workings of a fetal pig.  Nor do we ask him to balance a chemical equation. We want our children to be curious about their universe and to begin a life time of caring and loving the beautiful and wonderful world God gave them.  Let them start with the big picture with which they have a personal relationship.  Have children see animals in their natural habitat and then introduce them to …

Preparing for a Year of Teaching Biology by Beth Pinckney

Many of you who regularly read the ChildlightUSA blog are no doubt devoting some of your summer to planning for the upcoming school year –  reading catalogs, ordering books, making lists and lesson plans, wondering about how to structure (or unstructure!) your time in the months ahead.  It’s a daunting task.  All of us, teachers in public, private, and home schools, agonize at times about how we will implement the ideas we have begun to internalize: how to find the best living books, how to live out the ideals of masterly inactivity, how to foster proper habits, how to make education an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. I, too, am at work planning for next year, specifically for my co-op teaching.  In the year ahead, I’ll be working with a group of middle school students, exploring topics in biology and natural history.  As I develop a plan for the specifics of what we will do together, I reflect on some of Miss Mason’s writings (in italics below) and ask myself questions like these that follow …

Images of Christ in Dunning’s Letters to Charlotte Mason By Lori Lawing

(Adapted from a Fireside Chat given at the ChildLightUSA Conference, June, 2009) “Put that down!”   “Quiet, please!”  “Where is my map of the Mediterranean?  Who took it?”   “Could you please sit still?”  “I said be quiet!” Oh, the pleasures and pressures of teaching!  Do you ever feel taxed, inadequate, discouraged, stretched beyond measure?  What do you do with your impatience, your frustration?  Have you ever just blown it in front of your students or children?   Do you sometimes even question your own Christianity when the fruit of the Spirit are so lacking in your attempts to teach?  Joy?  Patience?  Kindness?  Gentleness?  Self-control?  Ha! We are not alone in these sentiments.  Apparently Charlotte Mason struggled too. I was deeply touched by the letters I read in John Thorley’s article, “Charlotte Mason’s Early Correspondence.”  (See the Charlotte Mason Educational Review Summer/Fall 2008.)  Dr. Thorley introduces us to Charlotte Mason’s tutor, Mr. Robert Dunning.  In the article Dr. Thorley includes two letters from Mr. Dunning to young Charlotte.  In these letters we learn of Charlotte’s own trials as …