Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In Awe of Dirt

This past Saturday I was privileged to attend a seminar by my friend, Nicole, of Sabbath Mood Homeschool blog.  Nicole is becoming well known in the Charlotte Mason community for her encouragement to study science using Charlotte's methods.  Even though I have been homeschooling for nearly 20 years with Charlotte's philosophy and have a son who is finishing up an engineering degree, I was inspired and encouraged to expand my vision for the sciences for my younger boys.  I have not been as diligent with these two in seriously studying the world around us in an intentional way. 

One of the things that convicted me was this quote by Charlotte...

"Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire it has perhaps no educative value." 

Was our science teaching us to wonder and admire?

Then I remembered this quote by Charlotte...

"Children should be brought up, too, to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle's eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them."

Have we ceased to wonder about those things that happen frequently?  The sun rises each morning.  We see the stars at night.  We breathe and our hearts beat.  Do we consider these as the miracles they are?

I decided to choose for our special study this term a humble topic, something that we take utterly for granted.  As I was browsing Nicole's site for ideas, I came upon this recent post.  That was it!  DIRT!  We'll add to that her rocks and minerals suggestions as well.  The miracle of the ground beneath our feet should fill us with awe of our Creator who has supplied us with many of the componenents necessary to sustain life in the soil.  We are looking forward to our study.

I've begun pulling the books I have on these topics and ordering more.  These include, among others:

How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty

Life in a Bucket Soil by Alvin Silverstein

The Soil that Feeds Us by Eleanor Heady

Rocks and How We Use Them by Tillie Pine

Rocks and Minerals by Illa Podendorf

These, in addition to a field guide and experiement suggestions, will help us marvel at the miracle of dirt.  I hope, as the new school year gets underway, you will choose a topic to teach your children to wonder and admire.


  1. Thank you for sharing. I'm inspired to dig out some of my CM books and re-read. I'm also inspired to head over to her blog and check it out again. I had forgotten about her blog. Thank you!

    1. I'm glad you were inspired, Shannon. Nicole's blog is a treasure trove of inspiration and information. Enjoy nature study in your part of the world.

  2. Thank you for the reminder of how genius CM's methods are. Wonder has truly become a lost art, if you will. Nature study is so simple with wonder at its foundation!

    1. You're right, Kelly. The foundations of science were that of the wonder of the universe. Today it has been reduced to mere facts. It is time to reclaim science for the glory of God.

  3. Yes, we are teaching our children awe of nature, awe of their own wonderfulness, but let's teach them to look beyond the signs to the reality, to initiate awe of God in the heart of a child.

    1. That is indeed the ultimate goal. Just as the heavens declare the glory of God, the soil beneath our feet and other aspects of the physical creation point us to a wonderful Creator who supplies all our needs, both physical and spiritual. We need to guide our children to have eyes to see and hearts to receive.