Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nature Study Thoughts

"Never be within doors when you can rightly be without." Home Education, pg 42

"In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother's first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air." Home Education, pg 43

If there was extraordinary pressure on children in 1886, one can imagine the pressures on children in 2009. This pressure is something that we have tried to avoid with our children. I believe there is a time for children to begin an education and be required to work diligently. The first six years are not that time. We have made an effort to give our children plenty of growing room and we have made the great outdoors their main classroom. I am amazed at the curiosity of my children when they are exploring in the God's beautiful creation. We have let our children's natural curiosity lead the way on drawing, writing, and learning letters. I am amazed at the many things Bo has learned from his own interest. He knows so much already that I taught to students in my kindergarten class.

I want to encourage parents who may be feeling pressured to put their children in preschool to re-think that decision. Our society puts a huge emphasis on learning to read, writing letters, counting and recognizing numbers at earlier and earlier ages. Parents often brag of what their three or four year olds know, or who was the first to learn to write their name. Little value is placed on having a sense of awe and wonder at God's creation. But if God's word says:

The heaven's declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows his handiwork Psalms 19:1

then we should very seriously consider exposing our children to as much of God's created glory as we can. The more a child is involved in (preschool, sports, gymnastics, church activities, etc.) the less time we have as a family to get outdoors and bask in God's glory.

So before a preschooler learns the alphabet, have they watched a caterpillar change into a butterfly?

Before a preschooler learns to write his/her name have they turned over a rock and watched the bugs scatter?

Before a preschooler learns the letter sounds have they planted a seed and tended a small garden plot or container garden to understand that food is grown and tended and does not magically appear on grocery store shelves?

Food for thought...