Welcome to week 16, Out of Door Geography, Charlotte Mason Home Education Read-Along Series.
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Out of Door Geography, Charlotte Mason Home Education Read-along
This week we are reading pages 72-78 of the Home Education volume, Out of Door Geography.
If you want to see the rest of these posts in one place, you may view them HERE. And don’t forget to download your free worksheets with each reading! If you are interested in a Charlotte Mason “curriculum”, our favorite resource is Ambleside Online.
****If you need to purchase the Charlotte Mason Home Education volume, it is available in a newer version HERE. (Affiliate link)****
I am using the Original Homeschooling Series, Volume One, Home Education- the pink books.
Small Things May Teach Great
Today’s reading opens with Charlotte once again stressing the importance of a mother’s role in the education of her children, but that she knows the mother must be told WHAT to teach as well. Once the mother does get out of doors regularly with her children, what next?
She tells us that being outdoors will present us with countless opportunities to teach geography.
Google tells us that “Pictorial maps (also known as illustrated maps, panoramic maps, perspective maps, bird’s-eye view maps, and geo-pictorial maps) depict a given territory with a more artistic rather than technical style. It is a type of map in contrast to the road map, atlas, or topographic map.”
And so it makes sense that as we are out of doors with our children, we discuss and teach the living map right before our eyes! The following are some other things that can be taught while out of doors:
The Position of the Sun
Teaching how the sun “moves” hour by hour and how to tell the time by the position of the sun will naturally lead to teaching how the earth moves and revolves and other aspects of time.
Clouds, Rain, Snow, and Hail
Understanding the weather and its patterns also lends knowledge to understanding geography and the world in which they live. A mother must be ready to explain faithfully when questions arise.
Charlotte shows that by beginning by measuring each child and grown-up’s pace for 100 yards, we can naturally teach children distance. Once they are comfortable with measuring a distance they can then begin to understand the time it takes to cover it. This, of course, leads to understanding reading maps and figuring out how long it will take to get from point A to B.
After an understanding of distance is established, children can then be introduced to direction. Observing the sun is the first lesson in direction. Where and when it rises and sets, what time of the day is the hottest, coolest? Recording its progress from morning to evening and so forth. She seems to recommend an entire year of observing the sun to establish the foundation of understanding direction.
East and West
This lesson begins again with the rising and the setting of the sun. Teach a child to stand with his right hand to the east where the sun rises and his left hand to the west where the sun sets and he will know where north and south are. Teach them to know where their shadow is at noon so that they may judge east from west and north from south.
Practice in Finding Direction
Find ways to practice finding direction. From the position of the windows in their own home to the buildings in their neighborhoods. From the way the winds blow to the houses, they pass on their outings. Once a child knows how to find direction well, both distance and direction may be combined.
Charlotte gives simple instructions on how to practice using a compass. These compass drills establish what they have already learned.
Next up, the child should learn of boundaries outside of any given space using direction. Children should be able to do a rough sketch (she says in the sand) of any given space and properly label it in north, southeast, and west directions. You can do this with your yard, fields, ponds, rivers, etc…
Eventually, children should be able to draw plans to the scale of a space they have paced. A field or yard or park, using the proper measurement for 10 yards. Once that is successfully completed, they can move on to garden plans, or something similar.
Children should take every opportunity to acquaint themselves with their local geography and be able to perceive and represent distances and all the above in a sketch that accurately represents the area in which they live.
My Takeaway from Out of Doors Geography, Charlotte Mason’s Home Education
Based on everything we read today, I see that there is about a year’s worth of geography lessons covered in these short paragraphs! I will be writing down all of CM’s suggestions and doing as she says in our homeschool.
I am ever impressed by CM’s methods and how naturally learning takes place with them.