When I taught at an Ambleside School, I loved taking my students to the Audubon Society. This is a resource that before my Charlotte Mason days, I had no idea existed! Last weekend Nate and I took our two little ones to our local Audubon Society to see bird banding. During the month of May, they gently catch birds in soft nets, and put a band on their legs to track migration patterns. They check their weight, the amount of fat, and occasionally how many tail feathers they have.
Sometimes I hesitate to bring Miss H to events like this because she is young. I wonder how much she will actually understand and benefit from it. But when we arrived at the bird banding station, she walked up to the table full of older children and said, “I want someone to teach me.” She watched intently as the ornithologist gently handled the birds, and listened as she discussed their characteristics. She kept her attention focused on them for 45 minutes, and when it was time to go, she protested.
Moments like these make me realize that I still expect things to be simplified for my children. Why wouldn’t she enjoy looking at and learning about these beautiful birds? But in my head, I think she needs something simpler, “dumbed down.” Maybe Miss H won’t remember that Swainson’s Thrush can fly to Canada in 2 weeks, but I hope that she remembers the feeling of excitement when the bird flew off of the little boy’s outstretched hands. This is one of the many reasons I’m grateful for this educational philosophy in our lives. I wonder how many moments and opportunities like this we would have missed if I had continued to believe she needed something simpler.
The Audubon Society offers many educational programs for children and families. You can follow this link to see if there’s an Audubon Society near you.