Take School Outside!
Spring has sprung! The world outside is filled with flowers, the grass is a little greener, and the sky is a little brighter.
How on earth can you stay inside and do school?
It’s time to take school outside!
I was in elementary school in the late sixties, early seventies. Some of my teachers were hippies! At the time, it was super-cool to take our books and go outside.
I loved it! Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine always cheers me up!
Later when I was away at college, as soon as the sunshine chased away the winter chill, I would lug my books outside to study on a blanket under the bright blue skies. Spring and summer weather beckon to students’ hearts saying, “Come outside and study!”
Fresh air and sunshine are good for people of all ages, strengthening their immune systems and getting some new air into the lungs instead of the recycled air inside a building.
Doing School Outside
When my children were younger, we would often pack up our school books and head to a park like Gemini Springs Park or Blue Springs Park nearby. We’ve spread out on a blanket or grab a picnic table. We’d take a nature walk before we headed home. What fun to sight a manatee or walk in the woods before heading home!
Taking school outside can work in the back yard, too. Just sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine for an hour or so to give everyone a change of scenery.
You can create artwork outside. When we learned about South America in geography, we discovered what a big part of their culture murals are. Sidewalk murals are great fun with colored sidewalk chalk.
Last night, my grandchildren were over, and we used sidewalk chalk to paint our own mural on the fence in the backyard. Chalk is washable so it isn’t forever, but it sure is fun! Children love to have a huge space to paint, draw, or color on!
When we were in Germany, we noticed that the large cities are surrounded by smaller villages that are surrounded by country with farms and orchards. So, almost everyone who lives in the suburbs is no more than a fifteen-minute walk into the country. I loved that!
There’s just something about being out in nature. Children love walking through the woods, taking a dirt path, climbing up a hill, crossing a stream one rock at a time, or discovering caves.
Years ago, my kids went on a wet walk with another homeschool family. They went to a swamp! I opted out since I’m not much of a nature girl! But they loved it! They saw all kinds of plants and animals. Everyone had a blast exploring plant and animal life!
Picnic & Reading Aloud
Reading aloud is perfect for school outside. You can sit in a row of Adirondack chairs or lay down on a beach blanket.
Why not read a Christian classic to your kids or let them swing on a hammock and read it on their own?
Or you might want to read picture books outside. My grandchildren love to have picture books reread again and again.
All you need is a bird field guide and a pair of binoculars to begin your bird watching adventure. Spring is the perfect time to see birds nesting and taking care of their baby birds.
Most kids start bird watching because the birds are so pretty, but bird watching stirs up curiosity. Soon, your children will be checking books out of the library on birds or finding sites on the internet to learn more.
Yes, you can do P.E. by exercising to a video inside, but why not take it outside?
Swimming, running, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, football, dodge ball, Red Rover-Red Rover, tennis, and volleyball are all things you can do with your children outside! Whenever I cut loose and play with my children, it is so fun!
If your family is too small to play team sports like volleyball and baseball, invite some other homeschooling families over to join you.
When our church was sharing a building with another church, we had to meet on Saturday nights which left Sunday mornings free. Several families and singles would meet up together for Sunday Sports where people of all ages played soccer and touch football together. It was so fun and super-healthy, too!
Children love scavenger hunts!
A scavenger hunt is a game where Mom prepares a list of items for the kids to gather up and bring to her. A backyard scavenger hunt list could include a leaf, twig, rock, flower, and other things in your own backyard. A scavenger hunt in a car might be just spotting things and checking them off on a piece of paper. A car scavenger hunt might include a FL license plate, Chick-Fil-A restaurant, blue truck, clump of trees, or other things you might see from a car window.
You can find scavenger hunts on our website and other homeschool moms’ blogs that have cute pictures. You just download and print. Scavenger hunts are fun for younger children on walks around the neighborhood, too.
How about homemaking outside? You can teach your children to grill or to cook over an open fire.
Start with safety rules because a grill can give you a quick third-degree burn if you’re not careful. Let kids watch you several times before they try to grill on their own with you right there watching.
Children should be tall enough to reach the meat with the tongs or spatula so that it is comfortable.
Never leave children unattended next to a grill. Don’t think you can run inside for something and be right back—accidents happen in seconds.
Grilling burgers or ribs is a great way to start. Chicken can tend to dry out on the grill, so set them up for success.
Taking school outside can also happen at night!
Pick a moonless night to go outside and spread out a comfy blanket that the whole family can sit on. Lying down to look up at the stars is even better.
If you have a basic telescope, it will make it even more fun. You can look up constellations on the internet so you know what you are looking at. Or use a constellation book.
Taking school outside occasionally adds fun to homeschooling! Remember homeschooling is a lifestyle of learning. Relax and take your learning adventure outside!
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Travel God’s World Geography, Travel to London Unit Study, My Creation Week Lapbook, and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com. Read her blogs at PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Podcast.