‘I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love – then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.’
– Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1956
In a similar vein, Charlotte Mason wrote in her book, Home Education, that it’s possible to undervalue a child’s ability to get knowledge using his senses. Her context was the Kindergarten as a place of education and her concern was that it was an artificially limited environment.
While a kindergarten can provide some exact ideas such as the difference between a rhomboid and a pentagon, or a primary and secondary colour, this is at the expense of much of the real knowledge of the outside world.
Although this sort of training provided by the Kindergarten/Preschool may be valuable, it shouldn’t take the place of the wider training of the senses. This is something we can provide as we walk along the way, through our everyday lives.
Every Tuesday I go and pick up my granddaughter and take her to the park for an hour or so then bring her home to our place for the day. It had been raining when I picked her up the other week so we came straight home, but later in the day the weather cleared so Moozle and I took her on a nature walk with us for the first time. I thought she embodied the idea that Rachel Carson expressed above:
‘…it is not half so important to know as to feel.’
We spent a bit of time listening to the creek as it ran over some rocks, which she found quite fascinating; touching wet leaves, and walking along the track obscured at times by overhanging branches weighed down by the recent rain.
A rare sighting! We’d been hearing unusual bird sounds and then we found out what was making them. If you don’t already know, lyrebirds are incredible mimics and imitate other birds as well as trains, chainsaws, and all sorts of other noises. This is the second time we’ve seen one on our property but we didn’t get a great view of it the first time. This time I actually got quite close to it so I could get a decent photo with my phone. It’s a very attractive, elegant bird.
Hubby, Moozle & I had a road trip over the June long weekend up to Toowoomba in Queensland to see my husband’s parents. This photo was looking from the top of The Great Dividing Range, also known as The Eastern Highland or The Eastern Cordillera, Australia’s most extensive mountain range and the third longest land-based range in the world. It stretches more than 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles) from north east Queensland, down the length of the eastern coastline through New South Wales and into Victoria.
Nature Studies in Australia by William Gillies & Robert Hall is a book I’ve scheduled in Year 9. Moozle generally reads a chapter per week and either narrates after reading or writes a notebook entry. We have a few books by Gillies and they’re all very good. This one is a little like an Anna Comstock Handbook of Nature Study for Australians but written more to the student as opposed to the parent.
‘Browning would sit quite still in a wood for an hour, and the birds would hop about his feet. Tennyson would spend an afternoon in watching how the lark rose into the air and dropped to the ground. Dr. Fabre would sit on a sandy slope for a whole day to watch the ways of the solitary wasps. Nature will not give up her secrets to the man in a hurry.’
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
‘These are a few of my favourite things…’ watercolour and ink. Moozle did this for me & it does capture some of my most favourite things. She knows me well.
On Tuesdays we also have the pleasure of the company of this little fellow, my grandson, for a few hours. My daughter-in-law brings him over around midday and today he listened in as I read aloud to Moozle. I think he was trying to work out how to get the book off me and he ended up with it in his hot little hands. As one of his uncles remarked, ‘A gentleman and a scholar.’
It was so good to be a part of this and to meet such a wide variety of mothers, the common denominator being a love for their children and a desire to teach them well. A very enjoyable and fun day! I think Michelle is planning another one for next year so look out for it.
21 thoughts on “Home Ed Highlights From the Month of June”
Great post. Your observations about children needing more then just technical knowledge is spot on. It is so important and enriching for a child to discover nature first hand. Your grandson is very cute.
It's so important to have children interact with nature. I fondly remember our nature walks when homeschooling … I need to to more of them and, in fact, just pulled out a sketch book today!Lovely photos but the one of the Eastern Highlands is particularly amazing!!And your grandson is holding a book which is on my 20 Books of Summer list. Thanks for the reminder!! 🙂
I am reacting with profound gratitude for the quote about needing to feel more than needing to know. Suddenly a light is on in my mind about my 8 yo adopted daughter and why she simply cannot understand so much of what I'm trying to teach her about human beings and our relationships with one another–she cannot feel because she was denied feeling in those early years. Now . . . the question is how to remedy that . . .Thank you for this post.I wish you continued joy with your growing family!!
Beautiful baby! Lovely post! (as always)
I meant to say beautiful babIES!
Thanks Brian. Yes, he is 🙂
Hi Cleo, we’re really enjoying that book. I appreciate the fact that he shows the positives and negatives of scientific thought and discoveries. That theories have had their day, been disproven or shown to be not quite right etc. He doesn’t put scientists up on a pedestal but brings in many different views and contrary opinions. He’s also quite funny at times.
Hi Anne, that’s another aspect & I hadn’t thought of it but it makes a lot of sense. Much wisdom needed there!! All the best as you teach into her little life. ❤️
Ten Arrows, so good to hear from you & thank you. 🙂
So many things to comment on. I hope I don't forget anything. I think I'll go backwards.One, congratulations on being a speaker. Hope it goes (went) well.Secondly: I am so impressed with your children's artistic abilities. Just marvelous.Thirdly: Is it not the most magical experience to go on walks with young children? I have the best memories walking with my son through the woods, catching butterflies and dragonflies, collecting stones etc…as an adult we still walk, but now we discuss the epic fantasy movies he intends to make.Finally, your photos are gorgeous.No, not finally. One more thing. Christians, at least in my country, lament that the church is losing their youth. Well, it's not the church's job to raise our children to become believers. It's ours. And I have noticed that children that are home schooled are less likely to walk away from their parents faith.
Thanks for the comprehensive comment, Sharon. Just on your last observation – I read this article that a friend posted on FB.‘…Muslims…Hindus and Sikhs, and even, off a very low base, Orthodox Haredi Jews. All of these religious groups are more successful than Christians in maintaining their religious affiliation across generations.’ I wonder if we gave become so obsessed with being relevant & fitting in that the faith isn’t taken as seriously. This is the article:https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/britons-find-something-to-believe-in/news-story/38c7cbb9f129e19cf1e8f98e5c89e106
Sharon, I meant to say I love the fact that you take walks with your son & talk about the movies he wants to make. 👍
Hi Carol.I tried the link, but it is a subscribers only page. Is there another link.A further thought about the youth leaving compared to the other religions and I say this without having read the article:I think the other religions mentioned have a strong culture of tribal and family loyalty. Children value, indeed, fear their parents' opinions. I think this drives them to succeed and also to remain tied to the traditions of their community.In the west, we have cultivated a culture of \”independence\” where our children are more concerned with what their peers think than their parents. It is seen as normal for children to rebel against their parents. A lot of this started in the sixties. You can look at the rock bands and how they were marketed. I am studying this phenomena as you know. In addition to the Sex Pistols, I'm reading about the Rolling Stones.
I tried linking back to it but it wasn’t available, unfortunately. Every now & again something will work for me – I don’t have a subscription to this newspaper. I think the difference for us is that there is a personal aspect to faith & that while it can be modelled & presented sincerely, our children don’t pick it up automatically. If that makes sense. I agree with you, though & look forward to reading your thoughts on the musical influences.
What special times with your grand-daughter. And to see a lyrebird! Your Nature Studies in Australia is ringing a bell for me, I don't have it but the style reminds me of another but I can't recall which, frustrating 🙂
And meant to conclude with, well done on your talk! I'm certain it would have been wonderful to hear, so thrilled for you 🙂 xx
Hi Erin, William Gillies reminds me of some of the more classic nature writers – very literary, not a bunch of facts.
I always feel refreshed by your blog posts!
Thank you! But i don’t know why this post was sent again. I must have accidentally clicked on it??
Hi Carol,For some reason I got this blog again in my e mail. I want to comment. One your grandbaby is the cutest little thing. How do you not hug and squeeze her all day long.Secondly, I want to offer my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your mother. I am so sorry, although I know that we are all facing this prospect. I was not expecting my mother to last to this year, but she seems to have rallied. My son is in China and his city has shut down because of the coronavirus. I appreciate prayers for him.And you are in my prayers, you and your family. God bless and comfort you.
Yes, I don’t know why it got sent again. Thanks so much for your kind comments, Sharon, I appreciate them so much. It’s something you’re never truly prepared for, I think.Will definitely be praying for Derek! X