Review: Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography

geogfront2Followers of Charlotte Mason will be pleased to know that Miss Mason’s original Elementary Geography is now available through Queen Homeschool Publishers. Publisher, Sandi Queen, revised portions of the original text to better reflect American wording, but otherwise stayed to true to Miss Mason’s original book.

Perhaps the best introduction to the book, is Miss Mason’s own introduction:

This little book is confined to very simple “reading lessons upon the Form and Motions of the Earth, the Points of the Compass, the Meaning of a Map: Definitions.” The shape and motions of the earth are fundamental ideas–however difficult to grasp. Geography should be learned chiefly from maps, and the child should begin the study by learning “the meaning of map,” and how to use it. These subjects are well fitted to form an attractive introduction to the study of Geography: some of them should awaken the delightful interest which attaches in a child’s mind to that which is wonderful–incomprehensible. The Map lessons should lead to mechanical efforts, equally delightful. It is only when presented to the child for the first time in the form of stale knowledge and foregone conclusions that the facts taught in these lessons appear dry and repulsive to him. An effort is made in the following pages to treat the subject with the sort of sympathetic interest and freshness which attracts children to a new study. A short summary of the chief points in each reading lesson is given in the form of questions and answers. Easy verses, illustrative of the various subjects, are introduced, in order that the children may connect pleasant poetic fancies with the phenomena upon which “Geography” so much depends. It is hoped that these reading lessons may afford intelligent teaching, even in the hands of a young teacher. The first ideas of Geography–the lessons on “Place”–which should make the child observant of local geography, of the features of his own neighbourhood, its heights and hollows and level lands, its streams and ponds–should be conveyed viva voice. At this stage, a class-book cannot take the place of an intelligent teacher. Children should go through the book twice, and should, after the second reading, be able to answer any of the questions from memory. Charlotte M. Mason

As described, the lessons are short and narrative. Discussion questions are sprinkled throughout the book as are the original black and white illustrations.

Charlotte Mason devotees will not be disappointed by the gentle instruction contained here. My only criticism would be in regards to the photos and illustrations. The publishers decided to keep Miss Mason’s originals and my children were not as impressed with them. This is easily supplemented with a quick Google search or another reference book and should not hinder your decision to purchase.

Retails for $16.95

Karin Katherine is a proud stay-at-home mother of four who feels blessed to be the mother of 5 year old fraternal twin boys and two daughters, ages three and 10 months. You are invited to follow her homeschooling adventures at www.PassportAcademy.com and her adventures as a mother, wife, homemaker, decorator and organizer at www.MommyMattersBlog.com

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