Taking our Learning Outdoors

Taking our Learning Outdoors

This is a collaborative post

I don’t know about you, but I am so over the winter – it seems to have been a never-ending season! I am really looking forward to spring and summer and getting some of the real benefits of Home Education. Summer seems to be so fleeting here so I am keen to make the most of whatever warm weather we get!

My general plan has been to get the ‘formal’ stuff done in the winter – when we are more likely to be in the house anyway, and to relax a little over the summer months (or month!) That said, we won’t completely stop all learning, so I thought I’d share some ways that we will be taking our learning outdoors this summer.

Explore nature either with a formal curriculum like that wonderful Exploring Nature with Children or by simply getting outside and observing the natural world. There’s so much you can spot from the buzzing bees or by looking closely at the leaves on the trees or the creatures scuttling too and fro. You could also take some pens and paper outside and draw what you can see and compare the pictures from the start of spring to the height of summer.

Creating a bee-friendly garden is a great way to connect children with where they live but also help them understand the impact that bees have. Buying and planting seeds is the simplest way to do this; choose bee-friendly ones are great and children can nurture and grow them. You could leave some of the seeds inside and see if they grow as well as those outside – what’s the impact of sunlight on the seeds? The best way to create real hands-on STEM learning.

If you still have some of the formal stuff to do, then simply take the books outside into the garden. I have a wooden carrier from Ikea that I load up with whatever we are working on and leave it out on the table when we are playing in the garden. At some stage in the day, the children make their way over to take a look and to rest from their play and get on with whatever projects we are looking at. We did our garden up a few years back now so it is a good space for us, I might try and get a few new bits over the coming weeks but if you’re looking for some of the bigger stuff like outdoor furniture then take a look at Groupon for some great garden deals.

One thing that is always much more fun in the sun is to get out and explore local heritage sites – castles are always a hit no matter the age of the children as there’s something very awe-inspiring. You could create a castle hunt checklist to take with you or talk about the different types of castles and their identifying features. If the journey to the castle is a longish one then take an i-spy checklist with you for the journey.

Finally, create an outdoor art project – chalk and water sprays can provide endless hours of fun and offer different ways to mark make and be creative. You could also join in the painted rock craze and decorate some up, ready to hide in local parks for other people to find.

I’m looking forward to the summer and can’t wait to make the most of the better weather. How do you take your home education outside?

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