November 14, 2013

Get Outside!

One of the biggest reasons we homeschool, at least in my mind, is so that the kids can be outside as much as possible. Articles and studies abound on why it's important for kids to have unstructured time outdoors. I just know that I spent lots of time outside when I was a kid and it had such a strong impact on my imagination, on my comfort in the outdoors, on my awareness of my natural surroundings.

We lived in a weird little neighborhood when I was little. Not too many houses, but plans for houses that didn't get built. Which meant that I had space to roam. My kids don't have the same space to roam and indeed my decision to not let Guthrie cross the road yet is the bane of her existence. However, they both have the freedom of the yards on either side of us and that, balanced with a lot of time in the woods camping and hiking, is ok for now.

We spent the month of October working on a science unit as our main lesson block in school. That meant headed out to Smith's Island every Monday morning (we only missed one) to hike the loop and just explore. 

There was a lot to see on the island itself, but watching the lock and dam work was pretty fun too. And the old men fishing.


During the rest of the weeks I taught about the 'Four Kingdoms' - Earth, Mineral, Plant, Animal - spending time talking about the shapes the earth takes (islands, volcano, river, etc), minerals and how their formed, the 3 types of rock, etc, etc.

It was a fun month and I totally underestimated the interest in mineral week. A couple of weeks before we had attended a homeschool field trip to Fryxell Geology Museum which was pretty cool, so maybe that helped.

Starting the week off with a hike was pretty great. It definitely changed our rhythm, but it was only for a few weeks so who cares! And watching the environment change week to week as we settled into Autumn was pretty amazing, though I think John and I were more impressed by that!

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