Monday, July 31, 2017

Reflections - Summer Edition 4....

At Home

Boys on bikes...that's what summer has been about here on Drywood Creek. We haven't had many lazy days as we've been on the run, but the time we do spend at home, the kids are riding, running, romping, and roaming wild and free. It's great! Today, Levi found a turtle...

Riley's garden looks and tastes great! Also, the cat had four kittens since the last Summer Edition Reflections....

Academic planning continues. Saturday, I met with my fellow CM Study Moms for a homeschool planning day. It's great to have sisters schooling in common! We were able to discuss books and schedules over a delightful breakfast and lunch uninterrupted. I'm hoping to post some of our 2017-2018 home education plans by mid August.

I've also been updating sale book lists and will be posting new lists later this week.

Today, a friend and I traveled a bit for a two hour CM Middle and High School Mentoring Session. We looked at PNEU schedules for Form III and up.

Lastly, I'm continuing to work on Journey: An Education for Life, a new Classical Charlotte Mason inspired retreat in WI. Cindy Rollins, author of Mere Motherhood, is our guest speaker. There are still seats left, but early bird registration does end Aug. 12th, so don't delay in saving your seat!

Around the Web

I'm now on Instagram. Check it out here! It's been fun sharing photos and misc. CM quotes.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Reflections on Home Education - Part III (Post 2)....

There are two important points I'd like to discuss further in Part III of Vol. 1, Home Education by Charlotte Mason, the 'Physiology of Habit' and the 'Forming of Habit'. You can find Post 1 dealing with Part III here.

First off, I found Charlotte's notions on habit and physical movement interesting. Certainly it was something I hadn't really thought too much about prior, but makes perfect sense...

Growing Tissues form themselves to Modes of Action.
Even those modes of muscular action which we regard as natural to us, as walking and standing erect, are in reality the results of a laborious education; quite as much so as many modes of action which we consciously acquire, as writing or dancing; but the acquired modes become perfectly easy and natural. Why? Because it is the law of the constantly growing tissues that they should form themselves according to the modes of action required of them. In a case where the brain is repeatedly sending down to the muscles under nervous control as they are, the message to have a certain action done, that action becomes automatic in the lower centre, and the faintest suggestion from outside comes to produce it without the intervention of the brain. Thus, the joints and muscles of the child's hand very soon accommodate themselves to the mode of action required of them in holding and guiding the pen. Observe, it is not that the child learns with his mind how to use his pen, in spite of his muscles; but that the newly growing muscles themselves take form according to the action required of them. (p. 112)
And here we have the reason why children should learn dancing, riding, swimming, calisthenics, every form of activity which requires a training of the muscles, at an early age: the fact being, that muscles and joints have not merely to conform themselves to new uses, but to grow to a modified pattern; and this growth and adaptation take place with the greatest facility in early youth. (p. 113)  
Charlotte makes an awesome case for early childhood play and physical activity. Most young children love physical movement. Here we see the importance of it for both gross and fine motor development. She also tells us this is when muscles are pliable and ready to be formed. Along these same lines, Charlotte writes on how moral and mental habits make their mark on physical tissues as well. They actually hard wire the brain.
Yet when we consider that the brain, the physical brain, is the exceedingly delicate organ by means of which we think and feel and desire, love and hate and worship, it is not surprising that the organ should be modified by the work it has to do; to put the matter picturesquely, it is as if every familiar train of thought made a rut in the nervous substance of the brain into which the thoughts run lightly of their own accord, and out of which they can only be got by an effort of will. 
Thus, the mistress of the house knows that when her thoughts are free to take their own course, they run to cares of the house or the larder, to to-morrow's dinner or the winter's clothing; that is, thought runs into the rut which has been, so to speak, worn for it by constant repetition. The mother's thoughts run on her children, the painter's on pictures, the poet's on poems; those of the anxious head of the house on money cares, it may be, until in times of unusual pressure the thoughts beat, beat, beat in that well-worn rut of ways and means, and decline to run in any other channel, till the poor man loses his reason, simply because he cannot get his thoughts out of that one channel made in the substance of his brain. And, indeed, "that way of madness lies" for every one of us, in the persistent preying of any one train of thought upon the brain tissue. Pride, resentment, jealousy, an invention that a man has laboured over, an opinion he has conceived, any line of thought which he has not longer the power to divert, will endanger a man's sanity. (p. 114-115)
How many times have I stewed over something that became a pattern of bad thinking, a rut, which in turn caused me great stress and turmoil, nearly driving me mad. Charlotte called me out here on my sinful way of thinking. Negative or obsessive thoughts do actually affect the brain long term just as I suspect positive thoughts could. A thought takes the known path or path of least resistance and because new brain tissue is being constantly regenerated, we have the power to redirect thoughts through habit training. One thinks or becomes what they repeatedly think and do. This supports the importance of speaking grammatically correct to our young children rather than using baby talk so they learn to speak grammatically correct with proper pronunciation. It also behooves our children to listen to the best music and read the best books so they acquire a taste for them at an early age.  Charlotte states this acquisition of good habits begins with the parents as they model them for their children.
...the actual conformation of the child's brain depends upon the habits which the parents permit or encourage; and that the habits of the child produce the character of the man, because certain mental habitudes once set up, their nature is to go on for ever unless they should be displaced by other habits. Here is an end to the easy philosophy of, 'It doesn't matter,' 'Oh, he'll grow out of it,' 'He'll know better by-and-by,' 'He's so young, what can we expect?' and so on. Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend. 
Outside Influence. - And here comes in the consideration of outside influence. Nine times out of ten we begin to do a thing because we see some one else do it; we go on doing it, and - there is the habit! If it is so easy for ourselves to take up a new habit, it is tenfold as easy for the children ; and this is the real difficultly in the matter of the education of habit. It is necessary that the mother be always on the alert to nip in the bud the bad habit her children may be in the act of picking up from servants or from other children. (p. 118)
The Forming of a Habit - 'Shut the Door After You'
The effort of decision, we have seen, is the greatest effort of life; not the doing of the thing, but the making up of one's mind as to which thing to do first. It is commonly this sort of mental indolence, born of indecision, which leads to dawdling habits. (p. 119)
Amen!! In habit training, parents need to give clear expectations and few choices so as to spare the child the effort of decision. If the best choice has already been made for the child and is the only alternative, the child's thought takes that path of least resistance and a good habit is formed without room for an error in thinking.

Now I'm sure some will argue that we must let our children make mistakes in order for them to learn from them. However, keep in mind Charlotte was writing to parents of children under the age of nine, who most certainly should not have free range to make decisions like an adult, which may be part of the problem of our current society. There will be time for the child to practice independent decision making skills once the positive paths or habits have been laid. I don't allow my 5-year old the authority over decision that I give my 12 and 13-year old. Because the older children have had habit training in the early years, they are now capable of thinking and acting in a positive manner. This is not to say that they don't make mistakes or aren't still learning, but there is a difference in maturity that allows for a bit more freedom, for lack of a better word.

Even as an adult, I appreciate a decision that has been made for me ahead of time. This is why I take pains during our break in the summer months to create a plan or schedule for the following school year. It is not dated so as to bind me into feeling guilty if life happens and my plan doesn't. Instead, on days when I don't feel like doing school or life does happens, I can check my plan and do whatever comes next. There is no effort of decision because it's all laid out. The decision has already been made. It allows me to be consistent and maintain regularity. This makes it much easier for me to stick to my guns when a whining child is bucking the plan because isn't this the truth....
The habit of regularity is as attractive to older children as to the infant. The days when the usual programme falls through are, we know, the days when the children are apt to be naughty. (p. 132)
Children crave consistency and stability. It makes them feel safe.

If by chance, a bad habit has already been formed, no amount of time, punishment, or reward will change it. Instead, Charlotte says we must replace the bad habit with a new one in order to form a new pattern of thinking in the brain. Then the mother must guard that habit ceaselessly to be sure the child doesn't relapse into the old pattern of thinking. She says, "To form a good habit is the work of a few weeks; to guard it is a work of incessant, but by no means anxious care." Tact, watchfulness and persistence are qualities Charlotte advocates mothers cultivate in themselves to ensure good habits are not only formed in their children, but maintained.

Charlotte also goes on to explain how pleasurable it is when a child has formed a good habit...
Habit a Delight in itself. - Except for this one drawback the forming of habits in the children is no laborious task, for the reward goes hand in hand with the labour; so much so, that it is like the laying out of a penny with the certainty of the immediate return of a pound. For a habit is a delight in itself; poor human nature is conscious of the ease that it is to repeat the doing of anything without effort; and, therefore, the formation of a habit, the gradually lessening sense of effort in a given act, is pleasurable. (p. 121)
Charlotte then gives an example of steps we can follow to instill and ensure that good habits stick. She refers to some 'infant' habits that every child needs and on which everyday life depends. These being, cleanliness, order, neatness, regularity, and punctuality. All of which can be taught in the day to day through regular housekeeping, baths and hygiene, routine bedtimes, etc.

In the end, habit training will make for smooth and easy days. Charlotte says it allows us to leave our children alone and not pester them to do this and that.
In conclusion, let me say that the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions - a running fire of Do and Don't; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way, and grow to fruitful purpose. The gardener, it is true, 'digs about and dungs,' prunes and trains, his peach tree; but that occupies a small fraction of the tree's life: all the rest of the time the sweet airs and sunshine, the rains and dews, play about it and breathe upon it, get into its substance, and the result is - peaches. But let the gardener neglect his part, and the peaches will be no better than sloes. (p. 134)
There is so much wisdom in Part III, but I will stop there! I'm looking forward to carrying on with Part IV.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reflections on Home Education - Part III (Post 1)....

Let's continue our discussion of Vol. 1, Home Education, by Charlotte Mason contemplating Part III. You can find thoughts on Part II here.

'Habit is Ten Natures'
...habit, in the hands of the mother, is as his wheel to the potter, his knife to the carver - the instrument by means of which she turns out the design she has already conceived in her brain. (p.97)
Up to this point, Charlotte has outlined key ideas that she felt must be included in order to properly educate young children. Those being:

1. Nourishing Healthy Brains with exercise, rest, and nutrition

2. Children spending hours daily in the out-of-doors

3. Forming habits, which is the focus of Part III and this post...
The formation of habits is education, and Education is the formation of habits. (p. 97)
Charlotte proclaims that habit is the instrument by which parents work, such as the wheel to the potter and knife to the carver as quoted above. She boldly asserts that she has come, "to look upon habit as the means whereby the parent may make almost anything he chooses of his child." Let's break this down.

The title of Part III is 'HABIT IS TEN NATURES'. Not too far in, Charlotte explains what she means or how she qualifies 'nature' and 'habit'. This was a question that kept coming up in our meeting. The question lay more on the side of habit. Does habit equate to character trait?

Recently, I found a two part post by Brandy Vencel at Afterthoughts Blog, where she flushed out 'habit is ten natures'. I wish I would have thought to search and read these before our meeting. For those of you interested, here is Brandy's Part I and Part II. She gives much food for thought. I have not yet read Ms. Mason's Vol. V, Formation of Character, but expect it would also be extremely helpful in understanding this concept.

What I gather is that heredity plays a factor in our character. We are all predisposed to certain genetic tendencies, which make up our human nature. However, Charlotte warns that a child must not be left to this human nature because they will most likely take the easy way out due to a feeble or immature will.
This is precisely what half the parents in the world, and three-fourths of the teachers are content to do; and what is the consequence? That the world is making advances, but the progress is, for the most part, amongst the few whose parents have taken their education seriously in hand; while the rest, who have been allowed to stay where they were, be no more, or no better than Nature made them, act as a heavy drag: for, indeed, the fact is, that they do not stay where they were; it is unchangeably true that the child who is not being constantly raised to a higher and a higher platform will sink to a lower and a lower. Wherefore, it is as much the parent's duty to educate his child into moral strength and purpose and intellectual activity as it is to feed him and clothe him; and that in spite of his nature, if it must be so....
The will of the child is pitifully feeble, weaker in the children of the weak, stronger in the children of the strong, but hardly ever to be counted upon as a power in education. (p. 102-103)
Instead, the educator should give the child control over his own nature, "to enable him to hold himself in hand as much in regard to the traits we call good, as to those we call evil."  In my mind, this is cultivating self-governance. Charlotte goes on to say that as strong as nature is, it is not invincible and should not be permitted to run rampant. So how does one help a child overcome his nature? By habit training! Charlotte suggests that as strong as nature is, "habit is not only as strong, but tenfold as strong."

I often say, "I am a creature of habit." I make decisions based on what I know to be true and due to a patterned thinking. Having habits in place helps ease the effort of decision. I don't have to think about it because it becomes automatic. For example, I cannot go to sleep in unkempt sheets. Therefore, I make my bed every morning so when I'm exhausted, I can fall into bed and sleep restfully without thinking about it. Making my bed daily is a habit.

Charlotte says all things are possible with habit training...

...there is nothing which a mother cannot bring her child up to,... (p. 105)
...anything may be accomplished by training, that is, the cultivation of persistent habits. (p. 106)
Good habits can override nature. Charlotte's Principle 2 states all children are born with the possibilities for good and evil. If we acknowledge that a child's character is not determined by heredity, then the first task of education should be a moral one. We must guide children in their tendencies away from evil and toward the good. Charlotte likens these possibilities or tendencies to branches on a road and she says it is the parent's job to send the child down the right track... put the child on the right track for fulfillment of the possibilities inherent in him, is the vocation of the parent. (p. 109)
Charlotte advocated for parents being intentional about habit training. She writes about particular habits throughout her six volume set. If you need help or encouragement on how to form good habits over and above her writings, a useful resource is Laying Down the Rails by Simply Charlotte Mason. Their parent reference guide outlines everything Charlotte said about each habit and gives practical hands on ideas on how to implement them.

Tomorrow I will continue with thoughts on the rest of Part III, including the Physiology of Habit and the Effort of Decision.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Summer Edition 3

At Home

I think it's been weeks since I've posted an update of happenings here on Drywood Creek. Let's just say, it's been plain busy! Riley has been playing softball. Ruben has been shooting trap. They've both been working multiple jobs, which requires me to transport them to and fro.

Our little man had a birthday and sister made him a cake with a tractor, of course...

Speaking of sister, the garden is looking great thanks to RileyAnn. Although it was 90-degrees and humid today, she was pulling weeds like crazy! We've harvested lettuce, radishes, banana peppers and a couple yellow cherry tomatoes so far. Sadly, the tomatoes Levi and I started from seed didn't transplant well as none of them survived. However, I had some red potatoes going to seed so I cooked enough for a meal and we planted the rest in the lost tomato row. Lo and behold, they are growing! Oddly, with the unseasonably wet spring, it took the carrots six weeks to sprout and the cucumbers never did show. Everything else is coming along well...

Oh, and the kids are patiently waiting for Blackberry, the pregnant cat, to birth kittens...

Regarding school planning, most of the resources have arrived and are waiting for me to schedule them. Last week, we tore the school room apart. We built a new shelf in the hope of adding space, but time ran out and I don't have things put back together yet. I need to get organized before I can truly sit down and schedule our school plan. In the current state, it's like trying to sort chaos among chaos. Hopefully, if things are in their place, I can sort chaos among order, which seems a little more manageable, if you know what I mean.

Around the Web

I really haven't spent much time on the computer lately. It was actually not even turned on for two days straight, which never happens! This is partly due to a recent revelation. I saw my kids growing up in a flash and it dawned on me that these days with them are more important than screen time so I have been intentionally trying to spend them as such.  It's about mid summer here on Drywood Creek and I don't want to miss a thing!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2016-2017 Beautiful Feet Ancient History Wrap-Up...

RileyAnn finished the Beautiful Feet Ancient History Intermediate guide for the 2016-2017 school year. It was her assigned Year 7 history and she thoroughly enjoyed the study. Below are some thoughts on the various resources and literature books she used.


Streams of Civilization by Mary Stanton and Albert Hyma
The Student Bible Atlas by Tim Dowley
Streams of Civilization Test Booklet
Ancient History Timeline by Rea Berg              

I wasn't sure about scheduling Streams of Civilization, but we decided to go with it. Overall, Riley found it dry, but a necessary component as it provided good background information for the general study. She said the Bible Atlas was an extremely helpful resource and that she most likely would have been lost without it. We didn't use the test book or the timeline. Instead, Riley kept a Book of Centuries.


Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne-
Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green
Pyramid by David Macaulay
The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Ancient Greece by Christine Hatt
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire
The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum
Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster (also used in AO Year 6)
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare (also used in AO Year 6)
City by David Macaulay
The White Isle by Caroline Dale Snedecker

Riley particularly enjoyed the assigned literature. Some of her favorites were Tales of Ancient Egypt, D'Aulaire's Greek Myths, The Children's Homer, Augustus Caesar's World, and The Bronze Bow, which was her number one not to be missed pick. There weren't any literature books that she didn't like.

Additional Recommended Literature

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky
Black Ships Before Troy: the Story of the Iliad by Rosemary Sutcliff (also used in AO Year 6)
The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff (also used in AO Year 6)

We read Archimedes... last year and The Librarian Who Measured... several years ago so I did not reassign those. However, I did include the two Sutcliff books in Riley's study, which she appreciated. She felt they were meaty enough to hold her interest, yet easy enough to understand the plot. I'm glad we chose a retelling of these famous epics for her first experience with them. I do intend to assign the actual Iliad and Odyssey in high school. 

Books I Added 

In addition, to the Beautiful Feet Ancient History study, I added the following extra books and resources to Riley's history list...

The Boys' and Girls' Herodotus by John S. White
Genesis: Finding Your Roots by Ruth Beechick (also used in AO Year 6)
Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick
The Story of the Greeks by H.A. Guerber (Christine Miller) (also used in AO Year 6)
The Story of the Romans by H.A. Guerber (Christine Miller) (also used in AO Year 6)

Unfortunately, she didn't care for Herodotus as she found it dry and confusing due to the different names used by the same people. Also, she didn't like Genesis... because it was dull. She said she would rather read the actual Bible than an interpretation. Riley delighted in the Guerber books and felt they made a great spine, filling in details that Streams of Civilization and the literature didn't cover. She also particularly liked the story form of Adam and His Kin.

I still feel each of the added books was helpful in one way or another. I don't regret having her read Herodotus as I felt it was important exposure that she may find necessary or come to appreciate down the road. I also used the Genesis book with Ruben and was personally disappointed as it is held in high esteem. Although, I admire Ruth Beechick and her work for the homeschool community, I also found this particular work dull and would prefer to read Genesis straight from the Bible.

Regarding the Beautiful Feet Ancient History study, I know the Berg's are working on rewriting the guides, which seems appropriate given many of the books used in the intermediate guide are also used at the current high school level. There are few changes I would make at the Intermediate level, but more at the High school level. I would suggest using the Guerber books as the spine at the intermediate level and sticking with either Streams of Civilization at the high school level or possibly the Dorothy Mills' ancient histories as a spine. I would also definitely recommend reading either the Sutcliff retellings or some other variation at the Intermediate level and then assigning a higher level Iliad and Odyssey in the high school level, something like the Fagles translation. 

Overall, Riley had a great history year and spoke very highly of the books and resources used. She completed a variety of notebooking pages as she went along. If you'd like to track her progress from the beginning, here are some thoughts before Riley began the study. Here is an eight week review.  Here is a mid year review. The second two posts include sample notebooking pages she kept.

Also, I scrapped Ruben's history plan part way through the year and switched him to Beautiful Feet's Ancient History study of Rome. You can see which books I chose and what I added here. I much preferred Beautiful Feet Ancient History to Heart of Dakota's Creation to Christ for a variety of reasons. You can read about our Greek study changes here and our Rome study changes here. Beautiful Feet was a winner and RileyAnn will continue with their Intermediate Medieval Study in the fall. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rethinking Science: Aiming Toward Scientific Literacy...

I've been doing a great amount of research on science in regard to how it was studied by Charlotte Mason's students and other educators of the past in an effort to determine how to proceed forward as we near the high school level in our homeschool. Educators of modern science tend to focus exclusively on texts throwing in a few experiments. There is little field work and virtually no living books are used. The teaching of modern science is compartmentalized or divided out into the different branches of science.

In the past, educators used a more, what I would call, holistic approach to teaching science. There was copious amounts of field work or nature study. Journals were kept of each student's findings. Books written by naturalists, scientists' biographies, natural histories, and other scientific literature were used, rather than texts. In Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education, Charlotte Mason said,
Books dealing with science as with history, say, should be of a literary character, and we should probably be more scientific as a people if we scrapped all the text-books which swell publishers' lists and nearly all the chalk expended so freely on our blackboards. (p. 218)
In addition, science educators of the past didn't separate or label the branches of science as is modern practice here in the U.S. For example, following the track of my local high school, a student is required to take three credits of science to graduate. Based on course offerings, a student's middle and high school science studies could look something like this:

7th grade - General Science
8th grade - Physical Science
9th grade - Physical Science A & B
10th grade - Biology A & B (required)
11th grade - Chemistry A & B
12th grade - Environmental Biology or AP Science Courses (optional)

As you can see, each year, the student studies a different branch of science. Once a particular branch is studied, it is most likely not revisited. The sciences are segregated by topic. Also, once entering high school, it's possible, that a student's science study involves classroom time only, never once stepping foot in the out-of-doors for any type of field study.

On the contrary, in Charlotte's schools, students studied the various branches of science concurrently, often having several streams of science going at one time. According to Nicole Williams of Sabbath Mood Homeschool,

  • CM was doing at least 4 different sciences at the same time - nature study, nature lore, which turned to biology in Form III, and science, which was more than one science topic at the same time
  • Over the course of high school, students generally read 17 books, breaking down to 3-4 per year (7 on biology/botany; 5 on earth sciences; and 5 on physics/chemistry/history of inventions)
  • Streams of science were not broke down by grade/age like modern (physical science in 9th grade, biology in 10th grade, etc.), but rather students studied multiple sciences each year - more comprehensive

Charlotte said,
The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of science are taken term by term. (Vol. 6, p. 220)
Charlotte continued the study of botany and biology throughout. She further stated,
The only sound method of teaching science is to afford a due combination of field and laboratory work, with such literary comments and amplifications as the subject affords. (Vol. 6, p. 223)
Based upon Charlotte's words, we should be using science books of literary character, studying a variety of branches/streams of science term by term, and making sure to include lab and field work.

In addition, I've recently been reading a reprinted/updated edition of Science Matters, Achieving Scientific Literacy by Robert M. Hazen and James Trefil. In which, they make several good points. One being an explanation of scientific literacy and why it's so important.
For us, scientific literacy constitutes the knowledge you need to understand public issues. It is a mix of facts, vocabulary, concepts, history, and philosophy. It is not the specialized stuff of the experts, but the more general, less precise knowledge used in political discourse. If you can understand the news of the day as it relates to science, if you can take articles with headlines about stem cell research and the greenhouse effect and put them in a meaningful context - in short, if you can treat news about science in the same way that you treat everything else that comes over your horizon, then as far we we are concerned you are scientifically literate. (Introduction, p. xii)
Next, they admit their statement will be argued by some scholars. But most likely, it will be due to the following misunderstanding,
...that doing science is clearly distinct from using science; scientific literacy concerns only the latter. (Introduction, p. xii)
This is where I believe Hazen and Trefil are on to something that relates to Ms. Mason. Some of our students will go on to discover new scientific breakthroughs. However, many will not. Either way, we should avoid a utilitarian education in an attempt to persuade or steer our students toward a particular profession. Rather we should provide a broad and generous curriculum filled with living ideas that allow our students to use science in the day to day. Our aim should be scientific literacy.

If we look back to the work of Aristotle, DaVinci, Newton, Galileo, and the like, they weren't in a class room reading a text. Actually, they weren't even called scientists, but rather philosophers, astronomers, and mathematicians. These men were out in nature making observations, keeping journals of things they saw. They were studying the sky and testing theories, writing down their findings in notebooks. Charlotte Mason was also a huge proponent of nature note books and science journals. She said,
Certainly these note books do a good deal to bring science within the range of common thought and experiences; we are anxious not to make science a utilitarian subject. (Vol. 6, p. 223)
As students are out and about in the field, studying nature and revering God's creation, they will begin making connections between what they've read in their literary books, learned through their lab work, and observed in the natural world. This is what Charlotte referred to as the Science of Relations, through which, the student will make connections between what they are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and reading. They will learn a little bit about all the different branches of science.

In A Philosophy of Education, on page 222, Charlotte references the words of Sir Richard Gregory in his Presidential Address in support of, "affording children a wide syllabus introducing them at any rate to those branches of science of which every normal person should have some knowledge." Charlotte is advocating for scientific literacy as opposed to utilitarian teaching. She continues after the quote by saying,
The only sound method of teaching science is to afford a due combination of field and laboratory work, with such literary comments and amplifications as the subject affords....As a matter of fact the teaching of science in our schools has lost much of its educative value through a fatal and quite unnecessary divorce between science and the 'humanities.' (p. 223)
Not only shouldn't we separate the different branches of science from themselves, but we should not separate them from the 'humanities', the study of literature, philosophy, art, etc. Interestingly, Hazen and Trefil advocate for the same type of integrated bits of knowledge.
To function as a citizen, you need to know a little bit about a lot of different sciences - a little biology, a little geology, a little physics, and so on. But universities (and, by extension, primary and secondary schools) are set up to teach one science at a time. Thus, a fundamental mismatch exists between the kinds of knowledge educational institutions are equipped to impart and the kind of knowledge the citizen needs. (p. xviii - Introduction)
Based on my research and fruit from past practice with my children, I will continue to study science throughout high school using books of literary character, scientists' biographies, natural histories, nature study, and field work. I will draw from Charlotte's writings, Ambleside Online, Sabbath Mood Homeschool, and a variety of other sources for ideas. Scientific literacy should be our goal in science teaching.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

ANNOUNCING...Journey: An Education for Life...

I'm sorry I've been absent this week, but I think it's for a good cause. You see, I've been working diligently on a new home education conference and I'm so excited to announce it's finally here!!!

Join us for a day of homeschool encouragement and Christian Classical Charlotte Mason inspired camaraderie. Encounter ideas on how to cultivate rhythm in your day and spark a love of learning. Find renewed energy to start the year strong and continue throughout your homeschool journey.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

8:30 a.m.   Registration Opens
9:00 a.m.   Keynote – Melissa Greene
10:30 a.m. Reflections on a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education – Gretchen Houchin
12:00 p.m. Lunch (provided)
1:00 p.m.   Teaching Through Literature and Living Books – Melissa Greene
2:30 p.m.   Charlotte Mason in Real Life: Courage for the Long Haul – Cindy Rollins
4:00 p.m.   Q & A Panel Discussion – Cindy Rollins, Gretchen Houchin, and Melissa Greene

Not all those who wander are lost. – J. R. R. Tolkien

That's right! Cindy Rollins, author of Mere Motherhood and A Handbook for Morning Time is coming to WI. You can get all the details and register here. Hurry, early bird registration ends Aug 12, 2017 and space is limited! Please spread the word!