Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Philosophy of Education Vol. 6 Ch. 10 Sect. 3
Charlotte Mason Felt that books dealing with science, just like those of history, should be living books of “literary character”. She recommended for 6 year olds, a book called “Life and Her Children”. From this the children would learn all about “earlier and lower” forms of life. The next school year they did more outdoor work using a book called “The Changing Year”. They would begin keeping Nature Note books and draw the differences of their surroundings through the changing seasons. The next year, or “Form III”, during one term, she would have the children make a sketch of a ditch, hedgerow, or the sea shore and put all the names of plants you would expect to find there and all the details about each plant. They would also make notes and drawings of what they studied through the year i.e.: What do you know about the parts of a flower? How would you find the “pole star”? etc. This takes several good book selections and the children should learn information from these sources and not just depend on their own “unassisted observations”. This continues, more in depth, as each year of school progresses. Science should be brought to the “common thought and experience” and not made a “utilitarian subject”.
In Charlotte’s day the schools approached Geography in what she called “utilitarian way” by focusing mostly on how the earth’s surface was profitable for the habitation of man.
Map work takes an important part in teaching Geography. Before any reading in any subject was done, the students located on a map the places, bodies of water, or mountain ranges etc. and discuss their location in relationship to other places they know of.
Children in the second year of school begin studying their own country, county by county or state by state, learning the differences between each. The next year the children begin to study the region of the world in which they live. (Example: in England they would study Europe). They would learn the diversities of people and the country’s history as well as land forms, rivers etc in that country. Study continues in each year moving through the different regions of the earth. Teachers should continue using “vivid descriptions, geographical principles, historical associations and industrial details” to bring the region to life. The older students also use current events from the newspaper to learn about those regions and countries reported on.