Spring and summer often bring the hope and excitement for being outside. For families in general we understand intuitively that being outside is good for our kids and for us. Families that homeschool usually seek to bring the outdoors into their education for their children. In this new series we will explore how best to take advantage of the outdoors in our homeschooling and what posture we as parents should have toward this important goal.
In this post I would like to focus on the actual reasons that being outside is beneficial for your kids. Likely, most of us already have an idea as to why it is good but may lack specific reasons. When we examine the reasons for why something is true (or why we believe it to be true) we often have better clarity and motivation on that specific topic. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the major reasons the outdoors will enhance and are an important part of education.
More than just a different context, but never less.
First, it is important to realize that the outdoors provide more than just a different context for your students to learn. At the same time, it will never be less than that. At the very least you can take them into different scenery which will help them be more creative and more engaged.
Active students and students that are outdoors experience a general academic benefit.
Similar to the last one this will encourage you that even if you don’t feel you are doing something creative or unique with your outdoor learning you are still bringing broad benefits to your child. Studies show that students who are active and outdoors experience a better education.
It offers learning experiences with all senses engaged.
The outdoors offer a fantastic opportunity for you to engage all of their senses all the time. Even though it is not all focused on what they are learning they are simply more engaged outside when they are touching, feeling, and smelling the outdoors.
Problem solving and nimble thinking is promoted.
When a child is outdoors, they are constantly problem-solving or investigating, even when they don’t realize it. Children walking down a path discussing the trees and soil are at the same time avoiding pitfalls, finding stumps to jump from, and looking (or running from) bugs. So much is happening, and this is very healthy for their minds and development. Kids love it too!
Nature and outdoor curiosity are the foundation of sciences, scientific investigation, and cultivates curiosity.
British educator Charlotte Mason believed that promoting nature learning and curiosity was essential for every student as nature investigation is the foundation of the sciences. Do you want your child to excel in STEM? Get them outside early and often! It develops curiosity, joy in experience, and connects them to the idea that they need to investigate and explore the world around them.
ADHD/busy/fidgety students excel in this environment.
Many of our children are either ADHD or are simply busy and active. Often these students experience one of two extremes. Either they need constant stimulation to stay engaged or they are overloaded with stimulation and need calm and space. The outdoors unique serve both students. The outdoors offer loads of stimulation and experience for students craving engagement. While at the same time, it also provides a calm and soothing context for students normally over-stimulated inside. The outdoors are incredibly designed by God to speak to us and help us. Amazing!
Next time we will discuss how our attitude and posture toward outdoor learning is key to making it a success.