Scouting: Building Skills and Character

Building Skills and Character 

Scouting: A Brief History⁣

Scouting Lessons were an intentional part of Charlotte Mason’s Programme for Natural History. In fact, she put a lot of work into developing a Scouting Program that was brilliant in design. Through being a member of the Scouting Program, the children earned Tassels for skill mastery, which were essentially the only extrinsic “rewards” included in a Charlotte Mason education. ⁣
The principles of Mason’s Program, and its valuable lessons, can be replicated at home through intentional Scouting Lessons. These lessons differ from Nature Walks or free outdoor hours in that specific skills are explored, learned, and mastered and the accompanying knowledge is useful and focused upon the skills. ⁣
I’ll expand more on Mason’s Scouting Program below, but first I want to share a brief history of the Scouting movement, and what Mason had to do with it. ⁣

Scouting and Mason⁣
In 1905, Robert Baden-Powell published “Aids to Scouting”. Baden-Powell was the son of famous mathematician Baden Powell, and was an intelligence officer in the British military. ⁣
Mason began using this guide published for soldiers, adapting it for children and beginning the creation of her Scouting Program. ⁣
Because of Mason’s use of Aids to Scouting, Baden-Powell was enlightened that the principles of scout training could be useful for children, so in 1907 he held a “Scout Camp”. ⁣
The following year he published “Scouting for Boys”, then held a larger Scout Rally.⁣
In 1910, Baden-Powell retired from the British military and officially founded the Boy Scouts. Girls attended, calling themselves “Girl Scouts” and Agnes Baden-Powell subsequently founded the Girl Guides. ⁣
Baden-Powell remained active in Scouting until his retirement, and inspired Ernest Thomas Seton and D.C. Beard to found the American Boy Scouts. ⁣
Mason’s eye for what would benefit children led not only to a successful Scouting Program of her own, but also to Scouting as an official movement and organization. ⁣
Mason's Scouting Program

Mason’s direct influence upon the founding of the Scouting movement is a fascinating, and often surprising, connection between Mason and the history of the world. ⁣
In my experience, even more surprising than this history is Mason’s own Scouting Program, in which her PUS students were free to enroll. ⁣
Here’s a brief rundown of Mason’s Scouting Program (if you want to know more, I detail her Scouting Program in my Scouting Workshop) : ⁣
*Students earned 21 Tassels plus 1 “White Tip Tassel”, which was a great honor for completing the Scouting Program. ⁣
*Tassels were earned for learning, building, mastering, and proving mastery in various skills, through Skill Tests. ⁣
*Tassels were graded as either Plain, Bi-Colored, or Tri-Colored, depending upon whether 5 Skill Tests, 6 Skill Tests, or 7 Skill Tests were completed. ⁣
*Students were required to earn Tassels for skills in order, in areas such as: ⁣
General Efficiency, Nature Lore, Signaling, Needlecraft, Surveying, First Aid and More. ⁣
*Students took years to build both skills and character, and Mason’s design for the program ensured the student’s personal investment.
The program can be implemented at home (or in small local groups), by choosing specific topics, choosing readings from scouting and survival guides, recording knowledge in a Scouting Journal, exploring skills and knowledge through Field Work, and (optionally) proving mastery through Skill Tests. ⁣
All ages can work on Scouting lessons together, and because of the flexibility of Scouting, students of all skill levels and interests can benefit from the lessons and do well. ⁣
Scouting is an important part of Natural History that is very different from “Nature Study”. Scouting is much more Skill Based, technical, and formal than Nature Study and in scouting students don’t simply explore and observe the world around them, but they conquer and master it. ⁣
Scouting Lessons can be created by any mom (I explain how in my workshop), but I’ve also created curriculum where all of the work is done for you.
Check out Delighting in Scouting for complete, flexible Scouting curriculum that works perfectly for families or small groups. ⁣

Scouting Resources 

Delighting in Scouting Curriculum 
Boy Scouts Handbook 1911 (used in Delighting in Scouting curriculum) 
Usborne Guide: Camping and Walking (out of print-buy used!) (used in Delighting in Scouting) 
Elite Forces Wilderness Survival Guide (used in Delighting in Scouting) 
Play the Forest School Way (used optionally in Delighting in Scouting- for additional activities)
The American Boys Handy Book by D.C. Beard (Beard was one of the founders of American scouting)
Shelters, Shacks and Shanties by D.C. Beard 
The Dangerous Book for Boys (for reference and activity ideas) 
Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury (and other books in series) 
How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier 
Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long 
The Practical Survival Guide for Kids by Weise Weasel 
Bear Grylls Survival Skills Handbooks (these books have a great variety of topics!) 
The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs by Tristan Gooley 
Foraging With Kids (used in Delighting in Creation: Foraging)
The Scout's Guide to Wild Edibles
Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants
Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Herbs
Peterson Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America
A Kid's Herb Book (used in Delighting in Creation: Medicinal Plants
The Stars and Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey 
Kids to the Rescue: First Aid Techniques for Kids by Maribeth Boelts 
Children's Weather Encyclopedia

Literature to Inspire Scouting
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 
My Side of the Mountain Trilogy by Jean Craighead George 
Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donna Fendler 
Endurance by Alfred Lansing 
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss 

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