Miss Mason on Nature
Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way.
from Home Education, Vol 1, II, Out-Of-Door Life For The Children, p.57
Miss Mason was always encouraging people to be outdoors, breathing fresh air and experiencing nature first hand. Although she loved living books, she said there was no substitute for direct observation of plants and creatures. Although we may picture Miss Mason as a reserved Victorian old-maid, this quote makes me suspect that she never lost the childlike wonder of creation. I imagine that not only did she encourage children to watch insects but she herself would kneel down to observe ants carrying food four times their size or a stop her busy work to gaze at a spider wrapping a fly in its sticky web.
I am a huge fan of technology, but its constantly changing images ruins us for the slower paced beauty we see in nature. When we unplug and focus our attention on small creatures, there is a sense of peace that overwhelms the spirit. Charlotte Mason claimed that observation of nature leads to a knowledge of nature science. But I suspect that she also realized that time spent in quiet reflection is healing. You can read the scientific evidence of such a claim in Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods. Did you know that the color green is linked to greater creativity? Charlotte Mason didn’t have the benefit of such scientific research, but I believe she had a first hand sense of the power of nature in our lives.
Take the time to smell the roses and watch the bees. It counts as science, refreshes the mind, and heals the spirit.
Home Education is in the public domain and can be accessed in its entirety at Archive.org.
More Quotes in this Series
- Understanding the Why of Math
- Loving God’s Word
- Why No Textbooks? Charlotte Mason on the Teaching of History
This quotes series is part of the iHomeschool Network Quotation Link-up.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
I am loving this series, Jimmie!
I love Richard Louv’s book!!
Eddie - The Usual Mayhem says
This one is near and dear to my heart. There is no worry or bad mood that can’t be greatly improved by spending time outdoors. The “quiet” aspect, however, depends greatly on whether my five year old has come with us.
Amber Dover says
so true….very calming.
One of my first homeschool memories with my son is sitting out on our walkway watching bugs. I believe it was a snail, so we were out there for quite some time. 🙂