ideas for homeschoolers; Seminars, workshops, nature hikes...
(this page updated 9-16-07!)
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On this page: Field Guides, Nature books and more!
Welcome to MacBeth's Opinion!
This website began as a place to put articles, ideas and resources I wanted to share with other homeschoolers all in one tidy place. Several years later, it's a bigger website than I ever thought it would be, and it is anything but tidy. Still, I harbor the hope that navigation is not too hard, and folks can find a bit of information about Charlotte Mason, Nature Study, Literature, homeschooling, and how it all fits together.
Most of the pages on this website contain at least a bit of advice, some full length articles, and quite a few booklists. Please browse a bit.
The question I get from mothers interested in Charlotte Mason's method is, "What's the point of all that outdoor activity?" Charlotte Mason believed that education was an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. An outdoor education provides the child with these three instruments of education, and provides the foundation for education in all subjects. Consider these six points Miss Mason puts forth in her discussion of the instruments of education (pg 177 of Home Education):
a) That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers in the open air.
b) That the claims of the schoolroom (including the homeschool room) should not be allowed to encroach on the child’s right to long hours of daily exercise and investigation.
c) That the child should be taken daily, if possible to scenes—moor or meadow, park, common, or shore—where he may find new things to examine and so add to his store of real knowledge.
d) That vigorous healthful play is, in its turn, as important as lessons, as regards both bodily health and brainpower.
e) That the child, though under supervision, should be left to himself—both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas he receives, and also that he may be more open to natural influences.
f) That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress, that his lessons should be joyous, and that the occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly deprecated.
These are precepts we must keep in mind for all aspects of homeschool. What better place to find so much atmosphere than outside? So, please, go outside, and see what you can find. Your children will love you for it...and they'll be learning, too!
Chemist Hideki Shirakawa of Japan, 2000 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, said, in an interview in the Asahi Evening News, that long hours of nature study were critical in his formation as a scientist. And providing this time outside for our young people is so easy. Here is a booklist to help you out!
Peterson's Field Guides are my favorite. They always have clear drawings and hints for easy identification.
A Field Guide to the Birds
A Field Guide to the Birds of Texas
A Field Guide to Warblers
A Field Guide to Advanced Birding
A Field Guide to the Birds' Nests
Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore
A Field Guide to Atlantic Coast Fish
A Field Guide to Coral Reefs
A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes
A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies
A Field Guide to Insects
Field and Forest:
A Field Guide to Mammals
A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians
A Field Guide to Venomous Animals
A Field Guide to Animal Tracks
A Field Guide to Eastern Trees
A Field Guide to Western Trees
A Field Guide to Mushrooms
A Field Guide to Wildflowers
A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers
A Field Guide to Ferns and their Relatives
Earth and Space:
A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals
A Field Guide to Geology
A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets
Handbook of Nature Study
Here's a book that everyone studying nature should own. Comstock's book is a goldmine of information about nature. It is easily adaptable for any grade level.
How about some great natural history narrations? Some of the greatest (and less known, too) naturalists were great writers and illustrators. Here are some of their works:
Art Forms in Nature
The Outermost House
The Passionate Observer
Children of Summer
My Family and Other Animals (high school, or edit as you read aloud)
Great Lakes Nature
Need to know where to go? Try these handy guides to the best hiking with children in your area:
Best Hikes With Children in the Catskills and Hudson River Valley
Best Hikes With Children in New Jersey
Best Hikes With Children in Pennsylvania
Best Hikes With Children in CT, MA and RI
Best Hikes With Children in VT, NH and ME
Best Hikes With Children in Colorado
Best Hikes With Children in Arizona
Best Hikes With Children in New Mexico
Best Hikes With Children in Utah
Best Hikes With Children Michigan
Best Hikes With Children Around Sacramento
Best Hike with Children San Francisco Bay
Best Hikes With Children in Western Washington
Best Hikes With Children in Western Washington and the Cascades
Best Hikes with Children in Western Oregon
Know a great guide to the hikes in your area? Email me!
Want to rough it? Just curious about the possibilities? Try Adventuring with Children! The author relates her experiences while taking her twin boys around the world. Inspiring!
Want more camping suggestions? Need equipment? Click here!
You can Be Expert with Map and Compass with this book. Orienteering is fun and educational...and it has real-world applications! And a compass makes a great stocking stuffer, party favor or gift for any time of year.
Minn of the Mississippi
Tree in the Trail
From the Mississippi to the sea, and across the great
lakes, Holling's books will take you on a continental adventure. With maps,
wonderful text, and some of the best illustrations of any children's books,
these are a must-have for any homeschool collection.
Paddle-to-the-Sea is now available on
Books for learning more about
The Charlotte Mason Method:
Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschool Series
A Charlotte Mason Companion
Charlotte Mason wrote six volumes on educating children. I highly
recommend that you read the original.
Real Learning is a beautiful melding of Catholic family life and
Charlotte Mason's methods.
Thanks for visiting!
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Comments and suggestions?