There is one thing the mother will allow herself to do as interpreter between Nature and the child, but that not oftener than once a week or once a month, and with look and gesture of delight rather than with flow of improving words – she will point out to the child some touch of especial loveliness in colouring or grouping in the landscape or in the heavens. One other thing she will do, but very rarely, and with tender filial reverence (most likely she will say her prayers, and speak out of her prayer, for to touch on this ground with hard words is to wound the soul of the child): she will point to some lovely flower or gracious tree, not only as a beautiful work, but a beautiful thought of God, in which we may believe He finds continual pleasure, and which He is pleased to see his human children rejoice in.
Audubon, the American ornithologist, is another instance of the effect of this kind of early training. “When I had hardly learned to
walk,” he says, “and to articulate those first words always so endearing to parents, the productions of Nature that lay spread all around were constantly pointed out to me…My father generally accompanied my steps, procured birds and flowers for me, and pointed out the elegant movements of the former, the beauty and softness of the plumage, the manifestations of their pleasure, or their sense of danger, and the always perfect forms and splendid attire of the latter. He would speak of the departure and return of the birds with the season, describe their haunts, and, more wonderful than all, their change of livery, thus exciting me to study them, and to raise my mind towards their great Creator.”
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, pages 79-80, 59
Living Books & Resources for Nature Study
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden, gorgeous example of a nature notebook, video also available (may need editing) Spring & Summer in NC Fore0sts and Fall & Winter in NC Forests by Rosa Kurtz Mullet, Rod & Staff publishers, ideal!
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, good reference & some poetry Pets in a Jar by Seymour Simon, tells how to collect & care for small creatures & bugs, interesting info!
Young Explorer Series by Jeannie K. Fulbright, Apologia, K-6. Uses CM’s narration, nature observation, notebooks, and
experiments along with a beautifully illustrated, interesting text.
The Burgess Bird Book for Children and other animal stories by Thornton W. Burgess, humorous, character-building
Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty, don’t miss! http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/gatty/parables/parables.htm
A Living Book About Nature series republished by Queen HomeschoolSupplies, http://www.queenhomeschool.com
The Fairy-Land of Science by Arabella Buckley & other titles republished by Yesterday’s Classics, http://www.yesterdaysclassics.com
Bird Life in Wington and other titles by Rev. J. Calvin Reid, hilarious, Christian character
Jungle Babies by Edyth Kaigh-Eustace, 1930, try interlibrary loan for engaging narrative of African animals beautifully illustrated
Christian Liberty Nature Readers, engaging narrative, reading levels 2 or 3 – 6 or 7?
True Book of . . . science series by Children’s Press, 1950’s – 60’s, high-interest, low-reading-level with large print
A Science I Can Read Book, series of early readers by Harper & Row
. . . do the Strangest Things series, Random House Step-Up Books, about 3rd grade reading level with large print
Let’s-Read-&-Find-Out Science Series, Scholastic, HarperTrophy. Good for K – 3.
Linnea’s Windowsill Garden and Linnea’s Almanac by Christina Bjork & Lena Anderson
Step-by-Step 50 Gardening Projects for Kids by Clare Bradley, just one of many titles available on gardening for children
The Illuminated Language of Flowers by Jean Marsh, illustrated by Kate Greenaway, poetry & meaning of flowers’ names
A Girl of the Limberlost and other titles by Christian naturalist Gene Stratton Porter. Good author for teens. Wonderful film too!
Birds of the Carolinas Field Guide & Audio CD by Stan Tekiela
Field Guides like Audubon Society and Golden Nature Guides
Biographies and documentaries about children’s artists Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor are inspiring!
Moody Science Classics series, DVD’s, from a Biblical worldview & on a wide variety of nature topics, fascinating for all ages, excellent!
Creation Astronomy by Felice Gerwitz & Jill Whitlock. Excellent K-12 study guide with a section on the gospel message in
the stars. Many ancient cultures had the same 12 major constellations. When we look at the Hebrew meaning of the
Greek names for these constellations, it is a beautiful picture of God’s path of salvation – an exciting must read!
Wonders of Creation series by Master Books, excellent content with references to Scripture, photos, & illustrations
Nonfiction titles by Olive L. Earle on a wide variety of nature topics published from 1950’s – 1970’s
Picture books by Gail Gibbons; books by Holling C. Holling; books by or about John James Audubon (bird artist)
Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole, goofy but informative
Online articles at: AmblesideOnline.com, http://www.CindyRushton.com, http://www.christianity.com/cmason
Compiled by Beth Sewing, January 2006, July 2006 , October 2009