We’ve all heard this and that about how children need to get out in nature. Charlotte Mason advocated for nature study ruthlessly—demanding we gather our kids and a book and go sit outside somewhere natural, even if we have to take a twenty minute train ride every day to get there. She was passionate about letting children experience God’s beautiful creation, so Mason’s brilliant, high achieving students did the nature thing. They excelled academically, though they spent the greater portion of their lives outdoors.
Recent research shows us that Mason had the right idea. As it turns out, her students excelled academically in a large part BECAUSE they spent so much time in nature. Numerous studies show that regular intervals into the natural world improve a person’s mental and emotional quotient. Before and after studies showed improvement in all areas of chid development.
A study done in California utilized several schools that had similar achievement scores. They took a few schools and removed their playground equipment, turning the school grounds into a natural garden. All the students were given more time outside. Standardized test scores went up significantly higher in the schools that had a natural environment. They found that students with ADD displayed fewer symptoms and also that there was less aggression among the students.
So if you really want to make your kids smarter—do the nature thing.
One of the best ways to make your time outdoors educational is through nature journaling or notebooking. Whether your children are studying botany or zoology, illustrating and recording what they’ve learned in nature is valuable on so many levels. Learn to identify, experience, and appreciate God’s beautiful creation.
To learn more about and see a sample of the notebooking journals I created for Young Explorer Science Series go here.
Read more about Charlotte Mason’s methodologies.
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