The Panoramic Method – Charlotte Mason Geography
“The panoramic method unrolls the landscape of the world, region by region, before the eyes of the scholar with in every region its own conditions of climate, its productions, its people, their industries and their history. This way of teaching the most delightful of all subjects has the effect of giving to a map of a country or region the brilliancy of colour and the wealth of detail which a panorama might afford, together with a sense of proportion and a knowledge of general principles.” Charlotte Mason Vol 6 p 228
How can you teach Charlotte Mason Geography – The Panoramic Method
In the past three blog posts of our homeschool geography series we have looked at the resources needed for a Charlotte Mason Geography lesson. They were:
Now I want to talk about how Charlotte Mason pulled all of these aspects together into her panoramic method of geography.
The Panoramic Geography Notebook
This is yet another time when we can use a notebooking for our record of learning, but what should go into our child’s geography notebook?
1. Maps should be studied and sketched. A child can add their black line master maps with labels or they can free hand draw their maps.
She would often begin by studying a continent before she broke it down into specific countries or regions. For example she says, when studying Asia a student “begins with a survey of Asia followed by a separate treatment of the great countries and divisions and of the great physical features.”
2. Narrations from some of the living books that are read or from some of the DVDs that you watched.
3. Answers to geography questions.
Here is a sample from my daughter’s panoramic method of geography – Japan study for a term.
The Charlotte Mason Geography Question
This is something that has surprised me about the study of geography using Charlotte Mason’s method. She asked children to answer specific questions about the regions that they were studying. Often we just have Charlotte Mason asking children to narrate from readings but with geography she wants to pull more from them and asks detailed questions about regions. Charlotte Mason wanted her students work to have,
“vivid descriptions, geographical principles, historical associations and industrial details, are afforded which should make, as we say, an impression, should secure that the region traversed becomes an imaginative possession as well as affording data for reasonable judgments.” Vol 6 p228
Charlotte Mason gives examples of the type of questions she would ask in her study,
- Form II (Ages 9 -11) regional questions include the comparison between two regions within their own country. She would also expect them to acquire knowledge about aspect, history and occupations of that area.
- Form III (Age 12) included an expanding awareness of regions just beyond their own. She uses the example of Europe as their close neighbours; for Australians that might involve a study of New Zealand, or the Pacific Islands; for North Americans it might be Canada, or Central America.
- Form 4 (around age 13) the questions become a little more complex as they begin to broaden their study of the world.
However Charlotte Mason’s questions are not in the form of a quiz or test. They are questions that allow the pupil to share “vivid descriptions” about what they know and not catch them out on what they don’t know.
Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason was written by Charlotte Mason herself. This book is recommended for about Year 4 – 6. Year 4 if following my Australian Curriculum guide.
Pleasant talk of Places uses maps, living books and questions to help your child explore the continents. This book is recommended for about Year 4 – 6. Year 5 if following my Australian Curriculum guide.
Help With Geographic Questions – An Informative Atlas
My husband will read an atlas for fun. The kids like to try to catch him out asking for the capitals of obscure countries – I hardly ever know the answer but my husband is 99% accurate. Since I’m not a natural geographer preparing thoughtful geography question is a challenge – so I cheat big time. How?
This is part of my five day series Around the World in 5 Days – homeschool geography.
- Maps and Map Markers
- Good Story telling Geography DVDs
- Living Books Geography – failures and recommendations
- Geography Resources you might like.