When it’s nice out we love to get outside whenever possible. Sometimes that can be difficult during homeschool when we have lessons to work on. But there are a few ways to pack up your homeschool and get outside.
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Research has shown that kids learn best in their early years through play and that older school age kids learn best with frequent breaks. However, homeschooling is what you make of it. You can spend your days inside at a desk, you can allow your kids to roam or you can plan outdoor activities.
Trying to get outside during your homeschool day can be difficult to figure out if you’re not used to taking the time to be outside. Luckily, there are several ways to get outside during your homeschool day that are easy to plan and easy to do.
Since each homeschooling family is so different from the next, different outdoor teaching methods will work for some but not all. That is perfectly okay since the beauty of homeschool is that each one is managed in a way that works best for each individual family.
The outdoor homeschooling ideas below are just that; ideas that may work for your family. Use what you love and skip what you don’t.
Science often includes things found in nature and those lessons are the perfect time to get outdoors. Assign a project for your kids to complete that involves anything found in nature.
For smaller kids, this could include something as simple as gathering leaves to identify the type of tree or finding a specific flower. For older students, you could do a project testing water at different locations in your area. The sky really is the limit with what science lessons you can teach outside.
We use an Outdoor Explorer Kit to keep the kids really engaged and learning. It helps them feel like real explorers and scientist as we learn about bugs and nature.
Related → Egg Carton Nature Project for Kids
A great way to get your homeschool students off the couch is to hold a homeschool scavenger hunt. Make up a list of things around your neighborhood or a local park for your kids to find. Once they find each item, have them write or tell you one fact about each item. Not only will they have fun learning about each item but they’ll be getting physical exercise at the same time.
You can also use these Scavenger Hunt Cards or find a free printable online if you’re having trouble making a list or in a pinch for time.
Math is everywhere in our world; especially outdoors. This makes it perfect to head outside for a math lesson. Since math has so many practical uses, the outdoors is a great place to see it in action.
For smaller kids, counting lessons are super easy to do. Count leaves, bugs, cars, trees, rocks and more. You can even turn those lessons into simple addition lessons. For older kids, geometry can be taught in real life using house and building angles. Even taking a simple walk outside can turn into a math lesson on time and distance.
Play a Game
Physical education is important for all students, but especially homeschool kids who aren’t spending their days walking to change classes or in a gym class.
It is for this reason that getting outside to play a game should be an integral part of your homeschool day. Getting proper exercise not only helps them run off excess energy but also helps to keep them healthy and in good shape.
A few good ideas for outside games that will get your kids moving are hide and seek, red rover, tag or even kickball. If you make sure that you always have a kickball and a volleyball on hand, your kids will come up with their own games on their own.
Another great way to get your kids outdoors is to introduce non-traditional lessons into your homeschool curriculum. These are things that they will need in life, but that don’t fall into the reading, writing and arithmetic arena.
A few you may want to consider are:
- Changing a Tire
- Hiking Safely
- Livestock Care
- Minor Home Maintenance
- Swimming Lessons
The best lessons your kids can learn are those where they don’t realize they are learning. Non-traditional lessons like the ones mentioned above are those exact types of lessons.
Create a cozy outdoor reading spot! Who says that reading must be done inside curled up on the couch. Weather permitting, it can be done outdoors. Your kids may even enjoy it more outside.
To create an outdoor reading spot, either dress up a piece of patio furniture you already know with pillows, light blankets and other comfy items or use a covered area with pillows and such centered around a tree in your backyard.
You could even put a thicker sleeping mat there as well to help cushion the ground if your kids will be laying on it. You never know, once it is all created you may find that you enjoy spending time out there just as much as your kids do.
If all else fails and you simply can’t come up with a reason to take your kids outside during your homeschool day, pack up lunch, head to the backyard or a local park and have a picnic lunch weather permitting.
Even if you are only there for a few minutes, being outdoors will give your kids the chance to burn some energy and for everyone to clear their heads. Clearer heads can often mean a better focus for kids who need to learn.