Education is An Atmosphere


In Charlottes own words:

When we say that “education is an atmosphere,” we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child-environment’ especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child’s level.

You can see the summary of Charlotte Mason’s twenty principles of education here at Ambleside Online.

January Nature Table


I cleared up our advent nature table once Epiphany was over, and the kings had made their arrival (you can see a photo of the December table here.)

We keep our nature treasures in a special box and Rose was keen to add lots of items, so we have a real miss-mash going on!


Flies that she has bought for fishing, crab shells we found on the beach a few years ago, a gnawed cone from a recent walk


She found this glorious chunk of lichen recently, which made a handsome addition to our January table.


And our rainbow fairy. If you read my last Calendar of Firsts post, you will know we had a few last week.

What is on your nature table this month?

Edit: I get asked a lot about the book on our nature table. It is by Elsa Beskow & is called Around The Year. Be aware that there is a mini edition available when buying; ours is the full A4 size.



A Calendar Of Firsts: 18th~24th Jan

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My Calendar of Firsts this week:

  • Tufted ducks on the pond
  • Geese and pigeons in the park
  • Playful sparrows
  • A beautiful, full moon.

My ‘colours’ for the week, along the top left hand page, are blue grey, but have quite a lot of sunny yellow in this entry. Hurrah!

I also included a small print out of a photo of Rose when she was a tiny dolly, that featured a Charlotte Mason quote I posted on the FaceBook group this week.

How is your calendar coming along?

Winter Pond ~ Exploring Nature With Children

This week’s post comes to you from my sick bed. I am really unwell this week with a horrid virus; the usual symptoms of headache, blocked sinuses, earache, etc. Ugh. As you may remember, my dad was very poorly and had to spend Christmas week in hospital, which was so very worrying. Now my poor mother in law is very poorly too, and I think it has just been too much for my immune system.

So unfortunately I had to cancel our usual Monday nature walk to see our local pond in winter, which was this week’s theme from Exploring Nature With Children.

Instead I set Rose about studying the tiny wee ‘pond’ we have in our garden. It is beyond tiny, but hosts the mating ritual of many frogs and toads each spring. By coincidence Rose found this little fella on the lawn on Sunday night


The girls had forgotten to put away our guinea pigs, Nibbler and Prince Albert for the night and Rose remembered them at around six o’clock. As you can imagine, it was pitch black outside and she went running out with a torch. Fortunately, she spotted this little fellow on the grass before he was trampled, and was able to return him to the safety of the pond edge. It is very early for us to be spotting the amphibians of our garden, but the weather has been exceptionally mild (and wet and windy!)

Rose took this photo of our pond the next day, and took some water samples, which she inspected with our microscope that links up to the computer.



Here is her nature journal entry for this week


Elianna decided to use the opportunity to work on a project she is just beginning. She is researching fashion from 1900 to the current time, focusing on a famous person who represents the fashion of each decade. We enjoyed a trip out to the Manchester Gallery of Costume last week, to kick-start the project.

Well, that’s all for now. Do let me know what you are up to!


Winter Trees ~ Exploring Nature With Children


Sorry for the late post this week!

This week is Winter Tree week in Exploring Nature With Children. We began the week as always with a walk to our local park.


Everyone was hungry as usual!


I love this snap of one of the Moorhens! Their acid-green legs always make me smile.


Tufted ducks! I haven’t spotted them before, so either I have not been very observant, or they are visiting us from Northern Europe.


Rose managed to find the last bit of snow!


We studied this local Cherry tree for our winter tree topic this week.


Cherry trees line the main road near to my house; they are breathtakingly beautiful when they are decked out in their spring-time finery.

Our nature journals this week





A Calendar Of Firsts: 11th~17th Jan

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My Calendar of Firsts this week:

  • Lots of rainbows!
  • Daisies and a squirrel in the park
  • Playful sparrows
  • A robin and a great tit spotted whilst on a shopping trip
  • A beautiful pink sky on a frosty morning
  • SNOW!

My ‘colours’ for the week, along the top left hand page, are rainbow-inspired, with hints of splashy rain!

How is your calendar coming along?

A Calendar Of Firsts: 4th~10th Jan

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My Calendar of Firsts this week:

  • Our first garden Goldfinch
  • Magpies and crows in the park.
  • One of Rosie’s favourite pigeons, Swiff, that has been tied up (we found the remains of a string, tied around his foot.) and coloured by someone 🙁
  • The movement of wind across the grass
  • The New moon

I added a photo of Rose with the pigeons and a printout of a Charlotte Mason quote from my FaceBook page.

My ‘colours’ for the week, along the top left hand page, are splashy grey with a hint of blue! Hurray!

I have created a page especially for keeping track of all the calendar of firsts. You can find it in the tabs at the top of the screen. You can also look in the categories in the right hand side-bar. Hopefully this will make looking for posts much simpler.

How is your calendar coming along?

Books For Nature Lovers

22I recently had a request from a lovely reader to share my favourite nature books. I thought this a smashing idea, so here are five of my most-read books.

Keeping A Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth

My all-time favourite book. This is the book that really got me on my way with nature study. There is so much information packed into this book, you can keep dipping in, year after year. Having this book is the closest you can get to a day spent in the field with Leslie, coming along side you and encouraging you in your studies.

A Trail Through The Leaves by Hannah Hinchman

Another great journaling book, without quite the same nature focus as Leslie’s book. Henchman takes a broader look at daily journaling, which for her, as a naturalist, is the natural world around her. This book will bring out the naturalist in all of us.

Nature Anatomy. The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World by Julia Rothman

A beautiful, American book. As an English reader, I still really enjoy flipping through this book, enjoying Rothman’s whimsical illustrations. An engaging read, you will come away wanting to learn more.

The Amateur Naturalist by Gerald Durrell

A classic on English natural history. This is also a very practical book, It includes information on identifying tracks, preserving a wildlife area, collecting shells, taking lichen scratchings, making a cast of a footprint and caring for wounded birds. Really engaging, Durrell’s passion shines through.

The Art of Field Sketching by Claire Walker Leslie

You really cannot go wrong with books by Leslie. A passionate artist and naturalist, this particular book is great for getting started with field sketching. Packed with techniques, examples, and exercises, this book will help you to develop your skills.