secular homeschool space
Homeschool Planning, Nature Study

Classroom in a Backpack: How We Homeschool in the Great Outdoors

Nature is our classroom, our teacher, and our favorite playmate all rolled into one.

Welcome to the post where I show you our homeschooling space. We don’t really have one. 

I suppose I could show you our kitchen table, our living room floor, and our plastic Target crates filled with books and art supplies. But those aren’t really where most of our homeschooling happens.

I don’t have beautiful, framed vintage posters of botanical illustrations (though I admire and love such displays!) I don’t have a wall-sized chalkboard. I don’t have a beautifully organized IKEA shelving system or a globe. I don’t have a breath-taking classroom flooded with morning sunshine. And even if I did, it wouldn’t be where most of our homeschooling happens.

I’ve never been an indoor girl. I can’t stand to be confined inside for more than a few hours at a time. Even as an acting major in my college days, I made a point to dash away from the dark and cavernous lair of the theatre whenever we got a break–busting through the side door to the brightness of the day and scrambling up a nearby tree to soak up the sunshine and the birdsong for as long as I could. My daughters inherited this same affliction.

secular homeschooling space

So we’ve traded the classroom for meadows, forests, canyons, parks, creeks, and ponds. We’ve swapped desks and chairs for sun-soaked rocks, picnic tables, and a blanket strewn beneath a shady tree. We do our math to the chatter of finches and the swooping buzz of hummingbirds overhead. Writing is done to the tune of creek babble. Reading lessons are interspersed with the chasing of beetles and the skipping of stones. Sometimes science is gathered hastily in a bundle in a mad dash for shelter under a covered bridge when an afternoon shower drifts in.

Our classroom is in a backpack. We take it wherever we want to go–the library, the city park, the zoo. The great outdoors come with so many convenient features: built-in playgrounds, al fresco lunchrooms, myriad art supplies and nature study subjects already gathered and waiting–no planning or shopping required.

secular homeschooling space

We study geology amongst the monoliths at Red Rocks, and pond life at the local bird sanctuary. We make our ten-frames out of sticks and fill them with shells and pebbles as we practice adding and subtracting and skip counting. We read signs, have conversations with people of every age and from all walks of life, and have long discussions about audio books we’ve listened to as we wind up and down the mountain roads behind our home.

secular homeschooling space

Our homeschool space is everywhere, anytime.

You may not have a homeschool classroom, either. Or maybe you do, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Or maybe you have a homeschooling space, but you aren’t in love with it. Here’s the thing: a homeschool classroom does not a homeschool make. What makes a homeschool is the learning that happens in it, and that can look so very different for every family and in every season of their lives. For our family, this is the learning space for us in this season of our lives.

But you don’t need the trendy IKEA cart to have a successful homeschool. And you don’t need shelves with vintage books in rainbow order. And you don’t need a hundred-year old apothecary table filled with seventeen species of butterflies. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to everyone else’s stories on social media, and that can sometimes be really deflating. But I promise, you can have a successful homeschool no matter what your space looks like, as long as you are honoring the rhythms and values of your unique family right now.

This is our homeschooling space, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

secular homeschooling space

I want to see your homeschooling spaces too! Please share your Instagram handle in the comments so I can follow! <3

blossom and root homeschool curriculum sale

See a variety of wonderful homeschooling spaces, and the families that bring them to life, on the iHomeschool Network’s Back-to-School Blog Hop! (Click here to see more spaces!)

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This FREE issue, inspired by the book The Three Sunflowers by Janet Lucy, includes two weeks of activities including nature study, STEAM, art project, recipe, and exploring language and poetry. Suitable for ages 3 - 8. Grab yours today!

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