I used to think the phrase “the great outdoors” was reserved for use by those who took in nature in the most natural ways – camping, hunting, fishing, and so on. It is the phrase accompanying ads for tents and hiking boots. I picture campfires and mountain trails and all of it meant for only the hardiest, most adventurous types.
And then I became a boy mom.
The Great Outdoors was suddenly not some far away place, but rather our very own backyard. Our backyard is not wooded or mountainous, but it is still great because of what it does for our children when they get out there regularly.
As we eagerly await spring and its warmer weather here in the Midwest, I am thinking of ways for us to spend as much time outside as humanly possible.
These ideas include taking our learning outside!
Whether you homeschool or not, there are many great ways to make education fun in the fresh air.
Top 4 Backyard Homeschool Subjects
1. Physical Education
The most obvious of the subjects to take outdoors is physical education. Letting the kids play freely is one way to go and we choose this quite often as they really need to burn off energy in their own way. I’ve also found this to be a great time to get active WITH the kids. Kick the soccer ball, run laps around the backyard, play catch together – there are endless ways to make physical education a family thing. We had lots of fun going through one sport a week for several weeks in a row!
It’s just as easy to take math outside for elementary kids. Ask a younger child to count the birds in a tree or flowers on a plant. Go for a walk and add up all the squirrels you see. If your child is working on multiplication, gather leaves or pinecones and group them in equal groups for a hands-on demonstration. The possibilities are endless!
One of my favorite subjects to take into our backyard is art. There is so much inspiration to be found in God’s creation and it’s really easy to clean up messy art projects outside! You can take your art adventures to other beautiful natural areas in your community, but I always love helping our kids see the beauty right in front of them. My favorite medium to use outside is watercolors!
In the new Duck Commander Devotions for Kids by Korie Robertson and her mom, Chrys Howard, there is a great lesson on imitating Jesus and trying to be more like Him. The devotion is wonderful, but I love the activity that goes with it even more! The activity has you draw a picture of something in nature, like a tree, and then have your child try to copy it just the way you drew it. Then add this verse to each picture:
Remember your leaders. They taught God’s message to you. Remember how they lived and died, and copy their faith. – Hebrews 13:7
Duck Commander Devotions for Kids is full of more great lessons that combine faith and outdoor activities. We are big fans!
4. Language Arts
Last, but not least, we love to take language arts outdoors. It can be as simple as moving reading time to the backyard. We all find it very peaceful and refreshing to read in the fresh air! I also find nature to be a great way to inspire creative writing. Give your child a nature-related writing prompt and let them either write it themselves or tell you their ideas so you can write them down. I love to read what they come up with in this setting.
As you can see, these are just a few of the ways to take learning outdoors and create your own backyard homeschool – the possibilities are endless!
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Now I’m REALLY excited for spring weather to show up! How will you be taking learning outside this year?