Education is the Science of RelationsCharlotte Mason
I was almost twelve years old the first time I read Anne of Green Gables. I was a relatively new reader at the time, not that I could not read.. I had not yet developed a desire to read. On that first read, I skimmed through all the descriptive passages and focused on the passages with dialogue. It was difficult for me to imagine the White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters because I was not practiced in noticing nature or connecting with nature as Anne did. Also, I could not envision the Cherry Tree outside of her window in different seasons or imagine myself enjoying the camaraderie Anne had with trees, or what it would look and feel like to walk through the apple orchard or The Haunted Wood. I wanted to get to what I thought was the important part of the story… the talking!
Most thankfully, since that first meeting with Anne, I have developed a robust relationship with nature. I may not be able to recall all the names of flowers, trees, or plants when asked on demand, but when I read about them or hear about them my memory is recharged and I can see them in my mind’s eye. I know from experience what it feels like to sit on a carpet of moss, I have seen the pollen filled baskets on the bees knees, I can see a bird by only hearing their song, I know the velvety feel of the underside of a magnolia tree leaf. Now when I read Anne of Green Gables, I slow down and savor the descriptive passages and they are now my most favorite.
Because of my friendship with Ms Judy, which is stronger because of our mutual passion for observing nature and deep appreciation for the detailed beauty in God’s Creation, and because of her dedication to gardening, I have become aquatinted with so many beautiful flowers and plants! When I am reading a book and come across a Friendship Garden friend, I smile with pleasure as I picture them in my mind.
Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof.First sentence from An Island Garden
I was reading this one book, in particular, and the very first sentence was enough nudge for me to share the author with Ms Judy. I knew they were kindred spirits, connected by their love of gardening and their passion for flowers. That book, An Island Garden, by Celia Thaxter is now one of her favorites. I also gave her a copy of Parables of Nature, by Margaret Getty, which she treasures most highly because of the beauty within. The stories draw the sensitive reader to Truth through stories of nature. The following quote aptly described Ms. Judy….
He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this world with a passion for flowers in his soul.An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter
I am currently re-reading, via Audible, The Keeper of the Bees, by Gene Stratton Porter. There are so many references to nature that spark my mind’s eye into creating the scene of which I am reading. I can not over recommend revisiting of wonderful books. That is a topic for another day.
Every one of them has got a good sharp sting that is can use if it doesn’t like your scent or if it things you are going to hurt it or do something you shouldn’t around the hive. Every one of them is covered with hair that is long for a bee and it is soft and fine and when the workers go down into Mr. Male Iris to get nectar for their two stomachs and to fill their pollen baskets, the hair all over them fills with the pollen, too, and it is the law, because of God, that when any bee starts out to gather nectar and pollen it never mixes one flower with another. If it starts on iris, it keeps right on going to iris. You can see it now, can’t you?…. One time I asked the Bee Master if I couldn’t see God and if I couldn’t touch Him, how I was going to know that he was here. And he said, ‘Because of the hair on a bee.’ So that’s one of the ways you can know.The Little Scout, educating Jamie in The Keeper of the Bees, by Gene Stratton Porter,
When I am reading, natural settings in the stories have become much more alive to me because of my continual growing relationship with nature. I can more easily be caught up in a story when I can imagine for myself the natural surroundings of the characters based on my own experience, knowledge, and relationship with those surroundings being described. Miss Mason knew hew stuff when she talked about the Science of Relations, and this relationship with nature making some stories more real and understood is only a small part- the Science of Relations runs much deeper. This topic has been discussed thoroughly in the Charlotte Mason World, a quick Google search unearthed a few such discussions from women who I respect and admire for their work equipping families to implement the Charlotte Mason Philosophy in their homes.
Elevating Motherhood podcast, episode 056, guest speaker Leah Boden. In this interview, Leah briefly and simply introduces the concept of The Science of Relations and shares many Charlotte Mason nutshells. This is a good listen for anyone interested in Charlotte Mason.
This post by Sonya Shafer, of Simply Charlotte Mason (a favorite resource during our schooling days) gives a wonderful, uncomplicated, overview of the Science of Relations concept.
If you want to dig a bit deeper, this post by Karen Glass opens up more ideas to ponder concerning the Science of Relations.