There are a number of things that I have changed since we first started on our home-education adventure (4 years ago), some things have changed naturally as the kids grow older and can manage more activities in their days and others are things which I have actively made an effort to change. One of the things that I have changed is making sure we fit our nature walks in. And I do not mean going walking when the kids are bored and have nothing to do I mean making them a priority. Sometimes this means I will re-arrange our week so that we can fit some “nature time” in . So you might be wondering why is it so important to us ? The Simple answer is after being out in nature everyone is just happier. The kids are in a better mood and tend to play together, they are more patient with each other, more open to learning and they also get very talkative and all the untold stories start pouring out.
But apart from that (although to be honest that for me is reason enough) I have come to realise more and more how much learning happens while the kids are out in nature. Both kids have gotten better at identifying the different birds that we find and also have started noticing the difference between the birds (which birds have webbed feet, or bigger beaks, which birds stay in the trees and which ones come down to find food on the ground).
They have also become interested in the different types of trees and plants – to be honest this is also a big learning area for me so we are learning about this together. They like noticing and commenting on how the different trees change with the seasons. And along with the types of trees they have figured out for themselves that often the area under large trees is just soil as other plants can battle to live there. They have witnessed how different plants like to live in shade and others want to be out in a field of sunshine.
They have observed the weather and are starting to notice the different clouds and how different clouds are linked to different weather. They enjoy going out in the colder months and seeing the webs with all the dew drops on them. And have noticed how the different animals (including insects) behave differently as the seasons change.
And that is not even taking into account the physical benefits – all that walking up and down hills, climbing, jumping, marching, rolling down hills, balancing on logs and running oh the running. There is something about being out in the open and the kids just want to run, just for the fun of it, to feel the breeze on their faces.
So if we are not at home there is a good chance we are out at one of our favourite spots, watching the animals (did I mention we are near a deer park as well), enjoying the seasons, walking and chatting and yes learning together.