Here are my thoughts and reasons for some of the changes made to Charlotte’s Geographical Reader:
Charlotte had arranged her lessons so that a poem was, itself, a lesson. Typically, the poetry lessons would alternate with a textual lesson. Occasionally there were several poetry lessons in a row. When I followed these lessons with my children, reading one poem for a lesson was often far too brief. I also found it somewhat unorganized to my thinking to have a block of poetry lessons several days in a row.
For the revision I combined poems and textual reading into one lesson to create lessons with more consistent length and rhythm – a poem followed by a textual reading. For lessons that I custom wrote the text, I found additional poetry to accompany those lessons. A few lessons begin with scripture passages. Occasionally I couldn’t find a complimentary poem, so those few lessons don’t lead off with poetry. I justified using extra poetry, because Charlotte gave me license in the 1881 Preface of her geography book:
“Easy verses, illustrative of the various subjects, are introduced, in order that the children may connect pleasant poetic fancies with the phenomena upon which “Geography” so much depends.“
The pictures in the original were black and white, small, and blurry. For 1881 this was the best available. However, the text begged modern updating with color and crisp images. Because she chose to use pictures and illustrations, I felt justified to use them. Given that Charlotte says to use the best, I knew she would approve setting before the children beautiful, vibrant scenes and diagrams which we now have more readily available to us. New colorful landscape photos were substituted for the black and white pictures Charlotte used. Photos of landforms were added to help the student visualize the geographic features discussed in the text. Classic artwork brings its timeless beauty. Custom digital drawings illustrate the text, either taking cue from Charlotte’s drawings or additions that I thought would be helpful for visualization. Some of Charlotte’s original drawings remain, but they have been digitally redrawn to remove their fuzzy, small appearance.
Charlotte’s Plan of a School Room was digitally remade to be crisp and clear. It was edited to create a space the student could picture with their mind’s eye while keeping to Charlotte’s original layout of the room. Spacing was adjusted from the original, to create a plan with a young student in mind. The new plan has measurements to the inch. This gives the student the ease of working with inch segments rather than divisions of an inch, setting them up for a successful, positive experience.
The Chichester, England Map was made clear with the digital shading of buildings. Outlines that did not line up were adjusted, such as the outline of the city wall. Buildings were added and named to bring interest to the map by way of familiar places to the student. The intent for these changes was for the student to picture these spaces using the relations they already have with these objects and spaces. This in turn gives the student a realization of large spaces being depicted onto the small space of a page. This plan was also slightly remade, keeping ease of measuring in mind for the young student.