Home Education is no joke. Nor is an education based on the philosophies of Charlotte Mason, the path that we have specifically chosen to follow in educating our children.
As I've mentioned before, a Charlotte Mason is a generous, liberal education that thrives on the idea that children's minds must be fed the best, most noble and beautiful ideas in order that they may grow properly and bloom into their full potential.
An education like this is simply not a "Three Rs" type of education (you know, reading, writing and arithmetic). It is so much more than that.
In the early year, alone, our children's areas of study include art, history biography, composer study, literature, poetry, natural science, geography, history biography, handwork, copywork, tales from Shakespeare and foreign language. Oh, and nature study.
Yes, nature study.
Nature study is to my homeschool like dusting is to my housewifery skills- typically neglected but producing large benefits with very little effort when practiced!
It sounds simple enough, right, just pack up the children and head outside for an hour or so. Yes, simple, but not easy for me. Nature study seems to benthe most difficult to plan and implement in our current homeschooling environment for many reasons. And they all have to do with what I am choosing as priorities on any given day.
Building nature study into our homeschooling rhythm requires very little- time set aside to explore a particular natural setting, a pencil and a blank notebook. So why then does it feel like an enormous chore to me!?
I will say that we are outdoors every day for hours and that my children are no strangers to the wonderful natural world in which they live. I also know that when I do carve out the time- drop my to-do lists, the more 'formal' academics that I have planned for my children that day, and stop myself from putting in just-one-more-load-of-laundry and we actually do venture out into the woods- that the experience itself is an enormous treasure.
This is where inspiration is needed and knowing that my mind and will thrive on beautiful ideas I realized that a little visual aid may be useful here.
As a rule of thumb, I always bring my camera out with us on our nature walks, mushroom hunts or bark journeys (or whatever the outing may be) and am always so encouraged when I go back and look at my children in these situations.
Breathtaking. Real. Curious. Searching. Wet. Just a few words that run through my mind when I look through the photos from our nature study trips.
So without further ado, here are my visual aids, my perfect reminders for me to put down the Latin and the laundry this week and venture into the great out-of-doors!