Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Relation of Nature-Study to Science

This was the chapter in Anna’s book that gave me the most ah-ha.  The vocabulary for what we had seen and experienced.  I would think that in all of her “teaching” vocabulary – Anna was an Unschooler. :)

“Nature study is not elementary science as so taught, because the point of attack is tnot the same; . . .”

“In nature study the work begins with any plant or creature which chances to interest the pupil.”

She goes on to talk about the natural order of the seasons and what will come along in differing times to peak interest in the child, and now that will give comprehension to life – both on the planet, and individually.

She does state that nature study is perfectly good science, but is not meant to overwhelm a child’s mind – what they can comprehend. We learn this in parenting – answer the child’s question, careful not to give them more information – and when their curiosity grows, they will ask more questions, and your job is to dish it out piece by piece.  If this works in the passion and curiosity of the human body – why not in other studies as well.  In the book “Last Child In the Woods”, one of his biggest sorrows is that we give so much information on video and speeches that the children enter the woods convinced of their expertise.  Curiosity is lost. Discovery is gone.

I learned the definition of “pedagogic”.  She says - “If nature study is made a drill, its pedagogic value is lost”.  Hm. Am I giving Pedagogic Value to our learning? Do I want to?  In the greek this word means both Child Led and To Lead the Child, a style of instruction. I could and probably will write volumes on that idea alone. . . . .

I love that she says, “ . . when properly taught the child is unconscious of mental effort or that he is suffering the act of teaching.” Are your children “suffering your acts of teaching”? Again, volumes. :)

It is hard, without typing all of the text, to share what she gives – I encourage you to spend the 11 dollars plus shipping and make this book a part of your library – if you are reading as a parent, a teacher, or as an adult like myself, this may be the first book you pull off the shelf upon coming in from a long forest walk. :)

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