A few thoughts from Charlotte Mason on "Education is a Life" (CM Blog Carnival):
"For the mind is capable of dealing with only one kind of food; it lives, grows and is nourished upon ideas only; mere information is to it as a meal of sawdust to the body."
"Look at any publisher's list of school books and you shall find that the books recommended are carefully dessicated, drained of the least suspicion of an idea, reduced to the driest statements of fact."
"Probably [the child] will reject nine-tenths of the ideas we offer, as he makes use of only a small proportion of his bodily food, rejecting the rest. He is an eclectic; he may choose this or that; our business is to supply him with due abundance and variety and his to take what he needs."
I remember a science text-book we owned growing up. I read through and found it interesting that there was so much information about "stuff" in there; but instead of the ideas being fixed in my mind, I always thought to myself that it was great that we had this book so I could look up anything I needed to know if the time ever came to need to know something. I especially remember the star maps in the back of the book. I thought it was so neat that I could use them. But I never used them. I was glad to have the information at my finger-tips, but never once have I gone back to that science book and the ideas have slipped away.
A couple years ago we traveled from our city to Husband's small home town. Elizabeth, our 9 year old, was enthralled with the beauty of the sky and couldn't believe there were so many stars out there! An idea caught hold in her mind.
This year for school we used Apologia's Astronomy for our science. What a thrill this book was to Elizabeth! She read through it quickly (though we've moved at a slower pace for school). Since this living idea caught hold, she has researched space on the internet, watched for the recent Super Moon and got up at 3 am to see the Lunar Eclipse; we've gone to a park where our local Astronomical Society meets once a month with their huge telescopes and have stargazed; The Universe series is a regularly requested program (we learn a lot about discernment and respect by watching these since they have some beliefs that are not in line with our own). She has written stories, drawn pictures, made rockets and space clubs, dreamt up new astrological inventions; our screen saver is now "space"; we have books on space and constellations..... Whew! An idea caught hold.
I would never have thought to try to interest my daughter in this subject. I don't know that she'll ever become an astronomer, but I know she's learning an immense amount, and most importantly she is glorifying our God with her amazement at His creation. I know He revels in her wonder. I'm seeing the sky in a whole new light now too, and learning more than I learned from that old science text-book years ago.
Space Club "Expert Astronomy" It reads: "Launching Pad, Stay Out, E. A. members only" (Now she's changed the name of her club to AEA: Almost Expert Astronomy. I think she doesn't want to sound presumptive.)