The Classical Homeschooler
This is what scientific study is all about—wondering about God’s creation and
recording what you learn.
“We perish from want of wonder, not from
want of wonders.”—G. K. Chesterton
Have you ever watched your children squeal in delight when they turn over a large rock and discover that a whole
colony of insects has been living right beneath it? This is what scientific study is all
about—wondering about God’s creation
and recording what you learn. As we grow
older, many of us forget to wonder. We forget to stare at the stars above us at night,
to wonder what they are made of and what
governs their motions. We forget to see
the wildlife all around us, to ask for the
names of all of the birds in the backyard.
I am grateful that we live on a lake that is
home to many different species of frogs.
Every night, their musical croaking in varied voices is a symphony in tribute to the
astonishing diversity of Creation.
How can we train our children to continue to explore the world with wide-eyed wonder at the works of His hands?
First, we know that a little bit of knowledge is usually fodder for more curiosity.
If small children memorize the types of
volcanoes—active, intermittent, dormant, extinct—then they will be more
likely to want to read books about volcanoes. In addition, their ears will perk up
when they hear of stories of ancient volcanoes, such as Pompeii, or of volcanoes
in current news stories.
So far, I have already mentioned two
important activities for small children in
the study of science. The first is that they
should spend time outdoors observing
creation. After seeing a particular type
of bird in the yard, children can look it
up in a field guide and then read a good
book about birds. Secondly, they should
memorize some basic facts about science
so that they will be attentive to science
topics. I have my children memorize
facts in these broad categories: biology,
astronomy, physics, geology, anatomy,
and chemistry. When they are older, stu-
dents can build on their basic knowledge
through deeper reading and through