I have so many photos from our vacation last week, that there is absolutely no way that I can post them all in one day. I will have to post some every day, but I will try to keep them in order. So check back regularly. One thing that I have noticed this trip, probably more than I have noticed any other time in my boys is their fondness of nature. Charlotte Mason said that one of the most important learning experiences for a child is learning the art of observation in nature, and your surroundings. Over the past year, I have noticed that their fondness for nature was growing, and the fire for learning about nature was maturing in them. On this particular trip however, I noticed for the first time, unguided observation of nature, in my children. Let me explain more clearly, in case I am not making sense. For the past year, we have been doing weekly nature studies, learning to observe nature as it unfolds around us. We have studied many things. Different plants, trees, flowers, animals, birds, seasons, etc. The kids have sketched and painted in their nature notebooks. They have learned the scientific names for these different things we have studied. They have gone on numerous field trips and nature walks, learning from park rangers, and through the use of nature guides. But until this trip, I hadn't felt that they had grasped exactly what Charlotte Mason meant when she stated how important personal observation of nature was to children.
Then I saw it, when I wasn't even watching for it. My 5 year old crouching down to observe something. I was talking to my grandma, but watching him at the same time. He was about 5 feet from me, and my heart skipped a beat as he ever so gently lifted a rock on my grandma's patio, and crouched down even closer to watch what was going on under that rock. He observed in silence, studying every so carefully, like I had never seen him do before. For moments on end he continued to observe, quietly taking it all in. It was at that moment that I knew what Charlotte Mason meant.
She stated all so eloquently that parents should not fill their children's minds with what they know about nature. That children should have the freedom to explore and observe, and ask if they feel inclined to. But only if they feel inclined. Watching Thumbody at that moment made every minute I spent on nature study this year worthwhile. I hadn't taught him this, no matter how much I would have loved the credit. This was instinctive, and unguided; all his doing. I'm so proud of my little guy, and my big boys too. They are all very attentive to nature. Pointing out certain birds by name, or noticing small animals that might be overlooked. Or even insects, like Thumbody found. It's just the beginning, of a world of learning more about God's creation. What could be finer?
Fishing off of Nonnie and Papa's dock.