Charlotte Mason Reflections: Out-of-Door Life

Thursday, April 27, 2017

At Flint we've been taking advantage of the gorgeous Texas spring weather and taking our classes outside as much possible lately. Because, you know, any day now it's going to be approximately one thousand degrees out and we'll all be hiding inside with the AC until late September. 

And ALSO because it's a key aspect of Charlotte Mason philosophy to take the children outdoors as much as you can. In Home Education she wrote:

"For we are an overwrought generation, running to nerves as a cabbage runs to seed; and every hour spent in the open is a clear gain, tending to the increase of brain power and bodily vigour, and to the lengthening of life itself. They who know what it is to have fevered skin and throbbing brain deliciously soothed by the cool touch of the air are inclined to make a new rule of life, "Never be within doors when you can rightly be without."...

For the rest of us, and the most of us, who live in towns or the suburb of towns, that is included in the larger question- How much time daily in the open air should the children have? and how is it possible to secure this for them? In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother's first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air. And this, not for the gain in bodily health alone- body and soul, heart and mind, are nourished with food convenient for them when the children are let alone, let to live without friction and without stimulus amongst happy influences which incline them to be good."

She wrote that in 1906, y'all, but so much of it sounds like it was written about children today. I imagine that we are at least a teensy bit more overwrought nowdays, yet we are so much more likely to keep our kids indoors practically 24-7. We have reasons, too, lots of really great ones! Apparently they had reasons a hundred years ago, because CM goes on later in the chapter to write that she is not speaking about what is convenient but what is ideal, and she knows that once a mother is convinced that something is beneficial to her child she will move mountains to get it for them. Which, yes. Kill shot! The woman knew how to make a point and she definitely knew her audience.

Also, she knew what she was talking about, since SO MUCH research is coming out about the importance of being outdoors for our mental and physical health. She didn't have scientific research to back her up then, just her dead-on observations and reflections. 

So. If you're looking for us these days the best bet will be to check the playground, or the garden, or the gazebo, or a park, or a strawberry farm, or...

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