In this post, I want to share with you what Charlotte Mason thought about the benefits of the “blessed air” of the great outdoors. But first, a poem from me. Hope you like it!
When We Were Kids
When we were kids, my siblings and I (now old) witnessed —
gardens growing from seeds, flowers blooming and wilting,
branches bending as one balances on them, and breaking,
ants on your skin when their homes atop fruit trees are disturbed,
destroyed, and the waters cackling as they go their merry way
tiptoeing upon pebbles, rocks and boulders on their journey to the sea.
Sadly, it’s like we can only dream for our children to live as we did, and play as we did when we were young, can’t we?
But still, when the opportunity comes to have a special outdoor time, like a day at the park, the zoo or the beach, we try to make it fun, memorable and worth their while!
Given enough creativity and ingenuity, we can make the most of what we’re given instead of looking back at the “golden” age (which is gone, gone, gooooone).
Charlotte Mason’s Quotes (from Ambleside Online)
Charlotte Mason encouraged those who live in the suburbs, whose touches with nature excursions are rare, this way:
Supposing we have got them, what is to be done with these golden hours, so that every one shall be delightful?
They must be spent with some method, or the mother will be taxed and the children bored.
There is a great deal to be accomplished in this large fraction of the children’s day.
They must be kept in a joyous temper all the time, or they will miss some of the strengthening and refreshing held in charge for them by the blessed air.
They must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens; for of the evils of modern education few are worse than this––that the perpetual cackle of his elders leaves the poor child not a moment of time, nor an inch of space, wherein to wonder––and grow.
At the same time, here is the mother’s opportunity to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit, without further help or knowledge of hers.
Then, there is much to be got by perching in a tree or nestling in heather, but muscular development comes of more active ways, and an hour or two should be spent in vigorous play; and last, and truly least, a lesson or two must be got in.
So are parents allowed to take Story Books? Here’s what Ms. Mason had to say:
There should be no story-books, no telling of tales, as little talk as possible, and that to some purpose.
Who thinks to amuse children with tale or talk at a circus or pantomime?
Which reminds me of a childhood story…
*** Once Upon a Froggy Day ***
During those years, kids were out in the open a lot. I remember an instance when my mother had to spank us for going beyond the limits of the freedom she gave us. We were allowed to roam and wander but up to a certain time only, that is, before the sun sets. We disobeyed. It’s a good thing life was simpler and much safer then…
It was a froggy kind of afternoon. With a glass jar for cookies held on the rim by my sister Vernadeth, we set forth with only one goal — to gather as many frog roes as we can and take them home.
We wanted to watch the roes become tadpoles, until they become frogs. Yes, that’s science right there.
My mother, a good mom of nine children was a busy lady who often required a hand from each of her children, but on that particular afternoon, we the older ones were tossed outside like balls.
For her sanity, she does this often, and for our good, too, for little children need to roll and bounce off their energy outside.
We were happy to oblige. Before you can count to three we were rolling, happily!
Oh she would have fainted had she known what her rambunctious children were up to! We climbed trees overhanging cliffs to get a fruit. We climbed steep mountainsides where the wild raspberries loved to display their red attractions!
So that particular day, we were so engrossed in looking for frog roes that we forgot the time. Of course when you’re near fresh creeks, you either waded or, swam, too.
What is a child to do when the water beckons? Wade waist deep, of course! We played in the water with the clothes we had on. Afterwards, we decided to follow the source of the creek until we reached so far there were no more houses in sight. That was a very long walk our clothes dried up by the time we got home.
It was dark when we knocked on the door. It was past sunset. We were in trouble.
Now that I’m a mom I know that Mama was relieved to see us alive. But she decided not to show it. Her joy did not stop her from using the rod of discipline upon our backs. It was the painful conclusion to a day of play!
Passing on the Legacy of Outdoor Play
Ah, what joy for a child to play in the open air and frolic. What fun for parents to watch their children enjoy the sun, the wind, and greeneries!
Textbooks are great, but whoa, I would love a 360 degree experience of the outdoors any time!
A taste of nature is helpful to children’s physical and psychological well-being in many ways. And when we allow them to experience God’s creation up close, we are in fact ushering in their lives the experiences of the physical realm that eventually caused that poet to go back to the Source of life and beauty in nature, in the supernatural realm — :
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
I resolve to give my child “homeschooling” time outdoors when I can. But I won’t bring books. And I’ll be alert for those teachable moments… but I will keep them short. Who thinks to amuse children with tale or talk at a circus or pantomime?
Verses to Read:
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.
Going to a Farm? Here’s a nature study to tackle before or after visiting a farm.
Going to the Beach? You can build your own unit study by the resources posted at sheknows.com.
Enjoy the outdoors!