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Mondays with Miss Mason–On Field Flowers

May 2, 2011

Note: this post is part of an ongoing series. For more information on Charlotte Mason and Mondays with Miss Mason, please read the first post.

Weeds. That is what I used to think of them–all those little roadside flowers and outcrops in my yard.

I’ve started paying more attention to them, however. How the fields turn pink and then yellow as the henbit and dandelions bloom in their time.

Charlotte was a big fan of knowing the names of “field flowers” as she called them. She said that every wild flower that grows in their neighborhood a child should know quite well.

Milkwort, eyebright, rest-harrow, lady’s-bedstraw, willow-herb, every wild flower that grows in their neighbourhood, they should know quite well; should be able to describe the leaf––its shape, size, growing from the root or from the stem; the manner of flowering––a head of flowers, a single flower, a spike, etc. And, having made the acquaintance of a wild flower, so that they can never forget it or mistake it, they should examine the spot where they find it, so that they will know for the future in what sort of ground to look for such and such a flower. ‘We should find wild thyme here!’ ‘Oh, this is the very spot for marsh marigolds; we must come here in the spring.’ If the mother is no great botanist, she will find Miss Ann Pratt’s Wild Flowers very useful, with its coloured plates, like enough to identify the flowers, by common English names, and pleasant facts and fancies that the children delight in. Tomake collections of wild flowers for the several months, press them, and mount them neatly on squares of cartridge paper, with the English name, habitat, and date of finding each, affords much happy occupation and, at the same time, much useful training: better still is it to accustom children to make careful brush drawings for the flowers that interest them, of the whole plant where possible.

From Home Education

The book she mentions here–Ann Pratt’s Wild Flowers is available via Google Books for free. While it covers English flowers, there are some common ones that grow here too. Also, it is a great example of hand-drawn wild flowers that may inspire your little ones to press on with learning to draw their own.

To find information about your local native species, visit a Native Plant society page for your state.

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