Before we begin with our final essential for homeschool enchantment, let’s take a look back at the first four essentials in the series:
In our first post, we explored mud kitchens (or mud “food trucks” in our case.) You can read that post by clicking here.
In our second post, we investigated creativity stations. You can read that post by clicking here.
Our third post was dedicated to book baskets. You can read that post by clicking here.
And the fourth post was all about tinker boxes. You can read that post by clicking here.
Our final essential is really the one that matters the most in our homeschool, the foundation of our entire philosophy, and that is “room to run.” Providing my daughters with ample opportunities for unrestricted play outdoors is one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place.
A few months back, I wrote a post about “the 3 non-negotiables of our homeschool day.” They were:
- Go outside, every single day
- Read together, every single day
- Wonder, ask questions, find answers, and learn together
The truth is, especially in these early grades, if we accomplish number one, it’s been a great day. We are fortunate to live in a valley nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, so we have a pretty stellar playground to work with. But I’ve lived in a lot of places–the suburbs, the city, the jungle–and I can confidently say that a large majority of my life has been spent outdoors. Some places definitely come with unique considerations–extreme weather in the winter or very hot and humid summers–but we learn to work with what we’ve got.
Child need room to run. They need to climb, dig, sprint, crawl, crouch, and balance. Their hands yearn to play with sticks, tinker with flower stems and rocks, and splash in creeks and lakes. Mother Nature is our first and most important teacher. The great outdoors is their natural classroom, the place where they will learn to use their senses, to make discoveries, to explore, to learn to trust their bodies and their instincts, to wonder, to ask, to fall and to get back up again.
As with everything else in our essentials series, it’s easy to implement and the benefits are exponential. And there is zero pressure to meet a certain standard as the parent educator. You work with what you’ve got–resources, time, and location–and give what you can. If you live in the deep south, this may mean early morning or evening nature walks when the heat of the day isn’t as intense. If you live where the winters are long and hard, you get the best outdoor gear you can afford so that you’re not stuck inside for five months straight. If you live in the city, you find the parks with beautiful, old trees to spread a blanket under or plan weekend getaways to nearby wild places.
The other benefit of this particular essential is the effect it can have on you–the parent. Being outdoors can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing. It revives us, refreshes us, and can ease stress and tension.
How many of our 5 essentials do you implement in your homeschool? Do you have any others to add to the list? I would love to read about them in the comments!
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