Want an Education that Will Grow Your Child's whole brain? Nature-based education for your family.
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For years, even within the homeschooling community, the best way to help kids learn was to create an environment similar to school. Everything in the classroom seemed designed for efficiency, from blackboards and desks to textbooks. But now more than ever, educators everywhere are realizing that learning doesn't just happen in classrooms—it happens in every inch of our children's lives. That's why I wanted to share a few tips on how to provide a nature-based education for your kids at home!
Deschool your kids and yourself
What is deschooling? It's simply a way of life that removes the need for traditional schooling. Instead of sending your children off every day for several hours, getting them ready and out the door (and then picking them up again at the end of the day), you can learn how to provide a rich education at home. My favorite book on this topic is called The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith. It explains everything you need in order to begin learning how to provide an education that compliments what they're already interested in and helps them grow into their highest potential as people—not just as consumers or test-taking robots!
Why does it? Studies show that children who are deschooled tend towards more creativity and independence as adults than those who went through traditional school systems growing up. They also tend towards higher self-esteem because they were allowed to explore new interests without being shamed or put down by teachers or peers who might not understand what they're doing differently from other kids (or even parents)."
Find the right environment.
Finding the right environment for nature play can be overwhelming, but is much simpler than you may think. It’s important to find a place that is safe and accessible, but it’s also important that you have privacy or at least somewhere where you can play with your kids without too many distractions. The good news is that these places are all around, you just have to know what to look for.
Look for nature preserves and parks with walking trails. I love the app Alltrails for finding new parks with great nature trails to explore.
Find community- You've already taken step one; you're reading this blog. This means you're seeking out like-minded parents and educators. And I'd love to have you a part of my community. Ways to connect with me are at the bottom of this blog!
Thanks to increasing awareness and access, there's a good chance a local nature playgroup is nearby. Connect with other families who are interested in nature. Find a nature play group or get involved in your local nature center. You can also connect with other nature play parents on social media, join a Facebook group focused on nature play, and attend meetups to see other people doing this kind of thing.
Adapt daily to ensure your child's success
If you want to teach your child about nature, it is important that you adapt your own learning style. In other words, don't force them to learn what you want them to know; let them take the lead and explore their own interests so they can find out what they are good at.
If your child likes puzzles, start with a puzzle book about leaves and trees. If your child wants to draw pictures of animals, give him or her some crayons and paper and head outside. You may be surprised by what he or she comes up with!
Overall, I want to urge you to follow your child's lead. Because their intrinsic motivation is the most important factor for a positive learning environment.
Flexible scheduling leads to a child's success.
The most important thing you can do is to schedule your child's day around their interests. Schedule time for play, learning, rest, and family time. If you are unsure what your kid’s interests are, ask them! If they're not sure, then it's time to schedule lots of unstructured time and maybe a few library trips. Once you know what they want to do, try to make that happen.
If there is something, they want to learn more about or see if there is a way you can make it happen with them! Don’t worry about doing everything all the time; just do the best you can according to their schedule.
And remember: It’s okay if nothing gets done every once in a while because sometimes we just need some “me time."
Learning happens in fits and starts. Don't get discouraged.
You might be thinking:
"That's great advice, but when am I supposed to fit in teaching these skills if my child is constantly whining and crying because they want their iPad?"
Well, let me tell you something: Learning happens in fits and starts. It doesn't happen all at once. And it especially doesn't happen when you're trying to force it through the medium of an app or a TV show. So don't worry about the outcome; don't worry about the process, and definitely don't worry about when this learning will end up taking place!
Take action on each of these steps, it will help you and your children flourish.
Now is the time to take action on each of these steps; it will help you and your children flourish.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes
Don't be afraid to ask for help when they need it
Don't be afraid to try something new with them
Don't be afraid to change your mind if things aren’t working out as planned (and trust me, they won’t!)
Finally, don’t let go of the past - but also don’t let it hold you back from creating a bright future!
The past is a part of who we are and how we got to where we are today. But it’s also important to remember that every day, you have the opportunity to make new memories with your children - ones that will become some of their most cherished memories as well!
The overall takeaway is that we need to get back to the basics of learning, which means reconnecting with nature and our bodies and minds. Learning happens in fits and starts, not all at once. And most importantly of all, we need to be flexible about this process so that it can flourish in each child's unique way.
I hope you've found this article helpful! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. And if you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it with your friends and make sure you're following us on all social media @playfulacre
And don't forget to get outside!