We are educated by our intimacies.
While visiting my married aughter, I asked, “Where’s your Nature Notebook . . .
the one with the Lupines in it?” She kept
the Notebook during her later years of
“In this closet,” she said. I opened the
bedroom closet ever so slowly to keep
the door from squeaking and waking
her baby. He was sleeping soundly in his
cradle two feet away.
“Mom, he doesn’t wake up that easily.”
Ignoring this, I whispered, “Oh, here
it is. Goodie. I’d like to show my readers
some pages. I promise I’ll take care of it.”
In her writings, the 19th century Brit-
ish educator Miss Charlotte Mason em-
phasizes bringing children up on a wide
curriculum of good books and with ex-
periences of various kinds. On the sub-
ject of science, she recommends getting
children out-of-doors. This is a valuable
part of learning that is often left out of
the typical school day. Miss Mason says:
“The boy learns up his text, lis-
tens to lectures, makes diagrams,
watches demonstrations. Behold!
He has learned science and is able
to produce facts and figures for a
time anyway . . . but of tender in-
timacy with Nature herself, he has
acquired none.” 1
The homeschool has the biggest advantage of bringing up children with
firsthand experiences. There is freedom,
for example, to foster an appreciation
for God’s creation.
In her teens, my daughter Sophia was
invited to a new friend’s house. This girl
lived on a small dairy farm. Flowers,
culinary herbs, and vegetables grew just
outside the doors of the white Victorian
farmhouse. But it was to the outskirts
of the cow pasture that the girls walked.
Here, Sophia’s new friend wished to
show her the dragonflies and redwinged blackbirds down by the creek,
the yellow yarrow, white Queen Anne’s
lace, blue chicory, and milkweed in the
meadow. Sophia was impressed that her
friend knew their names but especially
how certain wild herbs were used as
medicine in early America. Some plants
were so small (like Saint-John’s Wort)
she wondered how she found them. “My
mother taught me,” her friend answered.
(This observant girl is a physician’s
166 Annual Print Book 2015 • Natur www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com
by Karen Andreola
We notice the subtle details
of nature when we draw it.