Episode 41: Interview with John Muir Laws

This Charlotte Mason podcast episode is an interview with John Muir Laws (Jack), inspiring naturalist and scientist. Join Nicole to hear how expertise and aptitude are not key to making strides in discovering the world of nature and science, but that, as Mason asserts, curiosity and willingness to explore are. If you as mother and teacher, or your child as student, are intimidated by the field of science, this interview will set you free to thoroughly partake of this part of the educational feast, and if you are intrigued with the field of science, make you aware of how much more you can enjoy it.

Listen Now:

"Marks, prizes, places, rewards, punishments, praise, blame, or other inducements are not necessary to secure attention, which is voluntary, immediate and surprisingly perfect." (Vol. 6, p. 7)

"Let them get at the books themselves, and do not let them be flooded with a warm diluent at the lips of their teacher. The teacher's business is to indicate, stimulate, direct and constrain to the acquirement of knowledge, but by no means to be the fountain-head and source of all knowledge in his or her own person. The less parents and teachers talk-in and expound their rations of knowledge and thought to the children they are educating, the better for the children." (Vol. 3, p. 162)

John Muir Laws' Website

A Curiosity Framework


  1. This is so great!! I just loved listening to John Muir Laws! I completely agree with all of what was said, and it was so encouraging to hear him. He put into words what I knew to be true, and helped me to fully realize that continuing in Mason's philosophy will help my boys to truly enjoy science as I always have.
    I have always loved science, but not in school. Thankfully I had a Dad that loved science and instilled these same ideas with us, so I continued the love of figuring things out and finding out answers despite having to do textbooks with terrible teachers (that even fell asleep in class!).
    Thank you so much for doing this interview! And I can't wait for the next part.

  2. Tabitha, I'm so glad you enjoyed it and that you were encouraged!! Jack is just wonderful and we are thrilled to have had him on the podcast.

  3. If children were gathered around something in nature reporting their observations aloud using Jack's recommended prompts, like "I notice..., I wonder..., It reminds me of...," would that constitute a Science Object Lesson?

    1. Erika,

      Good question. No, it is not an "object lesson," but certainly could give the teacher a clue as to a good future object lesson. Object lessons were predetermined, not spontaneous as you are describing, when a teacher would decide on something to be closely observed, study it, and give a brief oral lesson to show and tell.


  4. I'm curious. Drawing and sketching is used a lot in nature study and in history and just in narrating. Do you ever teach or have someone else teach drawing technique? Or do you assume that the more you sketch the better you will get and better to just learn by observing? I like the idea of drawing often and think it should be considered one of the many fundamental tools that children gain while in school but it is intimidating for a non-artist personality to expect children to make much progress in their drawing or painting without someone else coming in and showing them how to do it. My daughter is still young so I don't have any experience watching a child developing their drawing skills over a long period of time.

  5. John Muir Laws has a monthly workshop in many different locations. Check Jack's site, natural journal club. They are wonderful.