As I mentioned last week, I have been looking into including some of the Charlotte Mason approach into our homeschool. Last week, I started reading Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschool Series, which is hosted on the Ambleside Online website. The thing that most attracts me to the Charlotte Mason approach is the emphasis on nature study and spending lots of time outdoors. I find that, as I get older, I feel a greater compulsion to spend more and more time outdoors. I don’t know if this is a natural part of aging or just an evolution of my personality, but it has helped a lot that Dora greatly enjoys the outdoors. I would probably go insane if she did not.
Of course, the Charlotte Mason approach is not the only educational approach to emphasize nature study. Living Montessori Now has an excellent post on Montessori nature trays and tables, where she also provides plenty of links to Waldorf nature and seasonal tables.
For our seasonal nature “table”, I commandeered our language arts mental insets shelf, which was not being used at all, since Dora currently refuses to work with metal insets. The shelf actually has made a perfect seasonal nature shelf for us. The top shelf houses some of our seasonally-themed books, as well as a basket full of preserved autumn leaves. The second shelf contains seasonal wooden Waldorf toys that Dora incorporates into various imaginary games that she is playing. The third shelf contains some of Dora’s nature finds. Finally, the bottom shelf contains a seasonal jigsaw puzzle, a magnifying glass, a pair of tweezers, and for right now, a bowl of acorns (a mixture of real and wooden acorns).
What about you, do you have a nature table? If so, do you consider it to be mostly influenced by Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Waldorf, or none of these educators? I’d love it if you included a link to your nature table in the comments below, as I’m still looking for more inspiration.
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