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Mondays with Miss Mason–G for Geography

October 4, 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.

Forgive my delay–we still are fighting off illness around here. Ready to kick it to the curb.

Now for G for Geography with the lovely Miss Mason. . .

Geography was a subject dear to Mason’s heart it would seem as she wrote a few volumes on the topic including :

Geographical Readers for Elementary Schools

Series created for use in her Ambleside schools available from Ambleside Online

In Home Education, she describes how a mother/teacher can share geography through neighborhood and nature walks. Keep the maps for later and explore the natural landforms in your own backyard.

But the mother, who knows better, will find a hundred opportunities to teach geography by the way: a duck-pond is a lake or an inland sea; any brooklet will serve to illustrate the great rivers of the world; a hillock grows into a mountain––an Alpine system; a hazel-copse suggests the mighty forests of the Amazon; a reedy swamp, the rice-fields of China; a meadow, the boundless prairies of the West; the pretty purple flowers of the common mallow is a text whereon to hang the cotton fields of the Southern States: indeed, the whole field of pictorial geography––maps may wait until by-and-by––may be covered in this way. From Home Education

She also points out easy ways to teach directions, weather, the position of the sun and other basic physical geography concepts.

However, Mason doesn’t limit her concept of geography to just landforms. She also notes its great value in sparking imagination.

But the peculiar value of geography lies in its fitness to nourish the mind with ideas, and to furnish the imagination with pictures. Herein lies the educational value of geography. From Home Education

She really takes to task the traditional method of memorizing population and distance facts and figures divorced from understanding of the people and places. She says  “a child  would be better employed in watching the progress of a fly across the window-pane.”

Most of us have gone through a good deal of drudgery in the way of ‘geography’ lessons, but how much do we remember?

Instead of dry facts she recommends making geography one of the most interesting lessons of the school day with engaging stories told by people who are interested in what they are describing.

She recommends beginning with out-of-doors lessons described above and then moving on to the study of one particular region–usually the child’s home.

But let him be at home in any single region; let him see, with the mind’s eye, the people at their work and at their play, the flowers and fruits in their seasons, the beasts, each in its habitat; and let him see all sympathetically, that is, let him follow the adventures of a traveller; and he knows more, is better furnished with ideas, than if he had learnt all the names on all the maps. From Home Education

Here are a few of the specific geography books she recommends–I’m sure there are more up-to-date examples, but sometimes it is nice to read the historical perspective as well.


You might enjoy these other Google books as well.

Also, here is how we are doing geography this year–through folk tales!

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