Connection to Earth and Sky: CM Education

I started this series of Friday articles on Charlotte Mason’s Vol. 3 School Education because I thought it would be *nice* to read and to share with you my thoughts on what she wrote. I know many of you are very busy home schooling moms who don’t have much time to read Charlotte Mason yourselves so my sharing with you what I learned would be a way to “spread the word”. Well, let’s just say I am getting more than I bargained for. I thought I would read each chapter, just a few pages each week, and then take a few minutes to write up a comment for the blog. Sounds good, huh?

This commitment to reading a chapter a week has been such a positive, up-building experience for me, I have gained much more than I have given. Charlotte Mason speaks to my heart and my mind in her writings. She lays it all out and makes you realize that this thing that we call “education” is really very simple. Man has made “education” complicated and it doesn’t need to be that way.

Chapter 8, titled Certain Relationships That are Proper for Children, has blown me away. I don’t think I can stuff into one blog entry all the treasures of this chapter. I am going to take it a bit slower than normal and just cover the first page of the chapter this week. Yes, the first page! You should see my copy of this chapter, with it’s underlining, stars, arrows, and highlighting.

Here are my thoughts on the first page, page 79-80.
First a quote:
“Geology, mineralogy, physical geography, botany, nature, biology, astronomy–the entire realm of science is like a beautiful fenced green field and we need to bring the child to the gate and leave it open for him. He doesn’t need a thorough collection of facts. He needs what Huxley calls ‘common information’ so that he’ll feel some connection with things on the earth and in the heavens.”

This would have been my dream world as a child. To have my parents just open a gate for me to explore the world in a meaningful way, would have been the greatest delight for me. Offering experiences in this way would be a way of reaching our children with real, relevant things; things that inhabit their own worlds where ever they live and at whatever time in history they are. I am going to work harder at opening the gates wide and letting my boys experience what is in their world to delight them. I am also going to work harder at helping them make connections between what we are learning and their own lives. Science done in the Charlotte Mason way brings deeper meaning and relationships and “He’ll feel as interested as if he owned it all…”

Harmony Art Mom

Draw Real Animals-Book Review


Here are some images from our projects done from Drawing Real Animals by Lee Hammond. I highly recommend this book for children (or adults) that want to learn the step-by-step approach to drawing real animals. It has helped us tremendously in our nature journals this year.

drawing real animals 3drawing real animals 2

Drawing real animals 1draw real animals polar bear
drawing real animals whaleDrawing real animals polar bear B
animal noses draw real animals dog draw real animalsbird draw real animals
Excellent drawing book!

Harmony Art Mom

Learning to See: CM and Appreciation for Beauty

I read chapter 7 of volume 3 which discusses “An Adequate Educational Theory”. Once again, a very dull title to an important idea regarding what we should think about when we are “educating” our children. This chapter is so full of thoughtful ideas and statements that it is impossible for me to summarize it all. I highly recommend your taking 20 minutes or so to read the chapter yourself and see what you think.

Chapter 7 Volume 2 School Education

I want to comment on something in this chapter that relates to art and how we as parents need to be offering opportunities for our children to see and experience things in a new way. Here’s a quote from page 77 that I would like to share with you:

“Appreciation for beauty usually comes after recognition. Notice how, from the time he’s little, this young child tries to capture a flower’s beautiful color and graceful form with his own paintbrush. A wise mother is careful to make her child aware and appreciative of stylized art. She has him look at a wild cherry tree from a distance, or a willow tree with its soft *****willows. Then she shows him how the picture on a Japanese screen has captured the very look of the thing without being an exact representation. When he compares a single *****willow or cherry blossom with the ones in the picture, he can see that the pictures aren’t attempts at exact duplication. From an early age, he learns the difference between painting what we actually see, and painting what we know is there even if we don’t see it. He learns that it’s more satisfying to try to paint what is actually seen.”

This learning to see things as they are and not as we think they should be is an important step in art education. It means that we can take time to look deeply at an object and see it as it is and not as our mind thinks it is. The best example of this is when your children try to draw things like human faces and human hands. These are things that they have seen hundreds of times but have they truly “seen” them. This is why young children draw hands with five fingers all sticking out. They understand that a hand needs five fingers on it but that is not what we usually see when we look at someone’s hands. We see parts of hands, parts of fingers, and hardly ever the palm facing out. This is where we see the struggle of the child trying to draw what he thinks a hand should look like as opposed to what he really see. The same thing happens when children draw ears and noses and mouths. They end up drawing the symbol for what they think are these facial features instead of what they really appear to be on the human face. Interesting stuff.

drawing of mom B My son drew this when he was about 5 years old. Yes, it is supposed to be me.
apple seeds B
Notice that my son drew the apple seeds that he knows are on the inside of the apple even though we are looking at the outside of the apple. Interesting.

We need to be able to say, “I see.” This is done by teaching our children to recognize what they are seeing and pointing out how other artists have solved these problems of drawing or painting what is actually seen.

Harmony Art Mom

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