Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nature Study Review

For Nature Study (which also fulfills our state's science requirement) we had adopted Anna Botsford Comstock's goals - cultivate the child's powers of accurate observation and build up within him understanding.

As I go through the year's photos for Max's portfolio, I am reminded of a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier entitled The Barefoot Boy. It seems to sum up beautifully much of what Charlotte Mason and Ms. Comstock discuss as the benefits of nature study and being out-of-doors.

Oh, for boyhood's painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
Knowledge never learned of schools,

Of the wild bee's morning chase,
Of the wild flower's time and place,
Flight of fowl and habitude
Of the tenants of the wood;
How the tortoise bears his shell,
How the woodchuck digs his cell,
And the groundmole sinks his well;

How the robin feeds her young,
How the oriole's nest is hung,
Where the whitest lilies blow,
Where the freshest berries grow,
Where the ground-nut trails its vine,
Where the wood-grape's clusters shine,

Of the black wasp's cunning way,-
Mason of his walls of clay,-
And the architectural plans
Of gray-hornet artisans!-
For, eschewing books and tasks,
Nature answers all he asks,
Hand in hand with her he walks,
Face to face with her he talks,
Part and parcel of her joy,_
Blessings on the barefoot boy!


Jeanne said...

Beautiful photos - lovely poem!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

This is really nice Richele. I love the photo essay with the poetry...so lovely.

Thanks for the comment on my blog today. :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

{ jamie's cottage } said...

Somehow I think I've never read that poem, but it's lovely. Thanks for sharing.

keri said...

Beautiful poem to go with the photos.

michele said...

Ric-have you been to Whittier's home or how did you know this poem? Mic

Richele said...

I came upon this poem in "One Hundred and One Famous Poems" (edited by Roy J. Cook) which I found at a used book sale.

The funny thing is that I was first reminded of the poem when I overheard Max tell his friend, "You must realize that my dad is actually a kid in a man's body" after she had written a sign that said "No adults allowed."

As for the Apples of Hesperides, Mic, they are the apples of immortality that Heracles (Hercules) tricked Atlas into picking for him as one of his labors. I like the D'Aulaires' retelling in their Book of Greek Myths which you might have.

Lori said...

beautiful post :^)