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12. Nature Study

Spending lots of time outside is one of the hallmarks of a Charlotte Mason education. It's not just good for kids to be outside (although it is good for them), but, by spending lots of time outside, your child will start to notice things like what kinds of plants and birds are typical for your area, how the elements behave, and changes that happen in the weather and sky.

This early relaxed experience with nature is the basis for later science knowledge. Without early first-hand contact with dirt, bugs, water, wind, fog -- many scientific concepts won't make sense, because those concepts have no real experience to relate to. How can a child who has never watched wave upon wave at the beach ever grasp the idea of ocean tides? How can a child who has never looked under rocks around a tree trunk understand how a forest supports an entire ecosystem? Is it possible to believe that metamorphosis is real without seeing a caterpillar change into a butterfly?

Studying an anthill, watching a frog on the edge of a pond, following a bee as it collects pollen -- all of these are wonderful opportunities for your child to observe. As he gazes, he is getting fresh air, practicing his ability to focus his attention, sharpening his observation skills, and learning something about what he's watching. So much win, and all while your house stays clean!

If you'd like some inspiration for nature study, you can listen to a 42-minute podcast from Naomi Goegan on the New Mason Jar at">

"The most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit." [from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 1 pg 61]

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