“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.” -Edward Abbey
I’ve been homeschooling for 5 years now-long enough to look back on our journey and realize that homeschooling changes with the seasons.
This time of the year, homeschoolers are getting out and exploring their neighborhoods, cities, and states and counting it as a school day. With homeschooling, you can make up your own rules. And if the weather is inviting you outside, who can blame you for making nature your classroom?
I thought I’d share a few ways to take your learning outside. Here are 5 things you can start doing to take your school days out of the classroom.
1.Start Learning About Rocks
One of the science skills for fourth grade is to find evidence and patterns of the Earth’s formation.
After reading about the different kinds of rocks in our Usborne Encyclopedia of Geography, my fourth grader was ready to start applying what she had learned. One important element in teaching is to let your child lead the activities.
What this means is transferring the power of learning into the hands of your child. This is exactly what happened with my fourth grader. Excited about all of the facts she was learning, she wanted to go collect rocks so she could sort and classify them. Going on a rock hunt was the perfect (unplanned) activity on this spring-like day.
2. Worm Learning
If you haven’t read Diary of a Worm, now is a great time to do it! With the spring rains coming, you’re sure to find worms all around your neighborhood. We did this unit a couple of years ago, and I still have kids talking about it!
Diary of a Worm Unit
This a a fantastic unit to use with composing and decomposing. So get ready to get dirty! These are the things we did during this unit:
- read Diary of a Worm and completed literature unit
- created worm habitats
- dug for worms
- played outside games about worms
- made worm crafts and snacks
If this sounds like a fun unit for you, check out this post: Our Week With The Worms
3. Conducting the Proper Scavenger Hunt
I can remember the first days of spring when I was a kid in school. We would have many fun events held outside. Kick ball tournaments, May Day activities. It was a fun time to be in school.
As a result, I loved school! I couldn’t wait for spring track meets and end of the year celebrations. I’m sure all of these kinds of activities inspired me to be a teacher!
*This was back in the day before No Child Left Behind and any other structure like it sucked the joy out of school life. You can find out more about my thoughts on that kind of life here.
So, what can you do to foster that love of school?
Get creative with scavenger hunts!
Learn about spring by going on a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Make up a sheet with things you might see in you neighborhood during the spring. Daffodils, bunnies, robins, bird nests, ect.. You could even tie this into vocabulary words like we have done here.
Need scavenger hunt ideas? Check out these resources.
4. Make Outside Learning Part of Poetry
You don’t have to be sitting at a desk with a workbook to be learning.
Of coarse, sometimes sitting down with a workbook is a good place to start, but don’t stop there.
First of all, anytime you teach a lesson make sure you have some kind of hands-on activity to follow it up. Getting your kids outside for poetry is a sure fire way to lock in the elements. It will have them touching, smelling, and seeing how they can become poets while being surrounded by nature!
Here are a few things you can do with poetry.
5. Learn About Trees
When you think you can’t possibly do any more nature learning, think again! You’ve already tied in science and writing. But what about math? You can also tie in math with your outside learning! It’s really easy to start seeing all kinds of ways to blend your school days into nature when you start getting out of the house.
Of coarse, when studying about trees you can surly get out and look for leaves to discover what kind of trees are living around your yard. But did you know you could also practice measuring trees? I’m sure your kids could come up with some other great math games just by using what is in nature!
Related posts: Where Would We Be Without Trees?
6. Family Field Trips
Okay. Time to tie in some history. Many areas have historical places all laid out in nature. Pick up a local hiking or state park guide. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about the area you live in by visiting your closest park.
Related Post: Use Life As Your Curriculum
7. Physical Education
With all the talk about kids and the technology age, it’s more important than ever to make sure our kids are getting physical. It’s great to take them to your local homeschool P.E. class, but getting them outside to complete their exercises for the day can be just as effective.
There are many, many ways to count outside time as your P.E. class.
- go on a walk
- play on the playground
- go on a nature hike
- ride your bike
- climb a tree
- play games
- play soccer
- play baseball
- play basketball
- swim in a lake
I’ve written this post to help remind me to get outside as well. It’s easy for me to send my kids out to play while I finish up work or do house hold chores. But I have to remember to get out and do some of the activities with them. It’s not only good for your kids to get outside, but we all need to be out part of the day.
Do you do anything on this list? Have more to add? If so, comment on this post. I’d love to see what else we can all come up with to do this spring!