Number 10 on A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six is:
to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
What did Charlotte Mason mean when she said a first grader should be able to describe a view?
On page 48 of Volume 1, Mason writes that a child should be taught to take "mental photographs" of Nature.
children to look well at some patch of landscape, and then to shut
their eyes and call up the picture before them,
if any bit of it is
blurred, they had better look again.
When they have a perfect image
before their eyes, let them say what they see.
Thus: 'I see a pond; it
is shallow on this side, but deep on the other; trees come to the
waters edge on that side, and you can see their green leaves and
branches so plainly in the water that you would think there was a wood
underneath. Almost touching the trees in the water is a bit of blue sky
with a soft white cloud; and when you look up you see that same little
cloud, but with a great deal of sky instead of a patch, because there
are no trees up there. There are lovely little water-lilies round the
far edge of the pond, and two or three of the big round leaves are
turned up like sails. Near where I am standing three cows have come to
drink, and one has got far into the water, nearly up to her neck,' etc.
Mason wrote that this exercise should only be done now and then. She also wrote that, when training a child to see the scene fully, the parent should prompt the child to notice the "salient points of the scene" and ask guiding questions. (I agree with doing this for picture talk as well.)
Why spend time developing this habit? From pages 49-50:
[The child] carries about with
her just such a picture gallery; for whenever she sees anything lovely
or interesting, she looks at it until she has the picture in her mind's
eye; and then she carries it away with her, her own for ever, a picture on view just when she