This post was originally published as the introduction to an issue of TheHomeSchoolMom newsletter. Sign up here and get access to subscriber exclusive downloads.
You might have noticed many homeschooling families spend a lot of time outdoors, regardless of the season of the year. If you need to jumpstart your homeschooling, consider the potential benefits of going outside more:
- Learning about plants and creatures
- Getting exercise
- Not caring about crumbs and spills
- Using big spaces for learning: writing with chalk on sidewalks; making mountains in the sandbox
- Changing the pace—enjoying a brain break
For some kids, learning outside is more engaging than learning inside, but we adults may have to wrap our minds around the ways they can learn outside.
How about going on an alphabet walk amidst rocks and trees?
How about taking a nature walk and bringing in pine cones, rocks, and feathers for a nature table?
How about balancing technology use with time in nature?
How about helping kids learn to care for the environment?
Do kids need to read a science book and do worksheets to learn botany basics, or can you help them understand seed germination, plants’ need for water and soil, and the growth of plants by planting a vegetable garden or herbs in a pot?
Learning outside helps children use their hands and their senses to understand the world.
There is also an emotional connection that can come to the fore outside. Yes, I loved when my kids all went out to play together, giving me some quiet time indoors.
But I also loved our “walk and talks,” where we wandered and wondered together, mixing silly and serious subjects without an agenda. I loved our haphazard camping trips, struggling to put up that old tent (all we could afford) and snuggling around a campfire.
Building memories is part of building minds.