We’re getting to that time of year when kids are tired of their lessons, moms are a bit weary of preparing them, and everyone seems to be counting the days until summer break. When this happens, it’s a great time to shake things up a bit and get those boys outside.
We usually do our homeschool lessons indoors… but when the weather allows, did you know that your child might actually learn more if you take the lessons outside? There are lots of learning benefits from being out in nature.
Here are 5 Learning Benefits of Homeschooling Outdoors:
1 – Shakes things up
When the lessons are feeling a bit stale, it always helps to make a few changes. Taking the lessons outside is a great way to make learning more engaging for your kids. Boys learn best when they are moving – and it’s much easier to let them move around when you’re in the big outdoors.
2 – New opportunities
Being outside the confines of their regular learning space, whether that’s a school room or a living room, exposes kids to new experiences. Consider taking math and science concepts they’ve been learning about in books and through worksheets and adapt them to real-life situations. Let your kids actually build something they’ve been reading about. Tap a maple tree. The possibilities are endless!
3 – Develop an interest in nature
There is so much to learn about in nature – from astronomy to physical science to geology to biology to physical education and more! Consider taking a break from their regular studies so that your children can become naturalists. There are a myriad of possibilities for outdoor learning activities.
4 – Helps develop imaginations and creativity
Kids are naturally curious. You don’t always need to have a prepared lesson for your child to learn when he’s outside. Simply let him loose in the woods or on the beach and watch his imagination come to life. If he is having a hard time figuring out what to do, play with him for awhile to get him started. With a little bit of encouragement, his creativity will take off.
5 – Keeps learning relevant
Boys love real-life learning. They like to know that there’s a good reason for why they’re learning about something and that they aren’t just doing busy work. One way to do this is to go on field trips. Get them outside of the classroom and allow them to see how things work in a real world. Another way to do this is to volunteer at a variety of places. Parks often use volunteers for trash pickups in the spring. Zoos, libraries, and animal shelters often have volunteer programs as well.
So now, hopefully, you see the benefit of doing some learning outside. But wait, there’s more. There are also MANY health benefits of being outside!
Here are 9 Health Benefits of Homeschooling Outdoors:
1 – Helps improve focus
Being out in nature gives our brains a break from their regular over-stimulation and helps us to focus.
2 – Strengthens immunity
A number of studies have been done which show that being outside for two hours causes our natural killer cells, which fight viruses, to increase in number and to be more effective. And amazingly, this increase lasts for seven days!
3 – Increases Vitamin D
The best source of Vitamin D is exposing our skin to sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, we receive more Vitamin D from the sun when we’re outside than we do when we’re inside. Dr. Mercola recommends being outside at least 20 minutes per day but that amount of time depends on many factors including the weather and the amount of pigment you have in your skin.
4 – Better sleep
Being exposed to natural light helps to reset our body clocks which helps us to get a better night’s sleep.
5 – Probiotics
Did you know that there are probiotics in dirt? Kids benefit from being outside exposed to the elements. Let them walk around barefoot. Let them play in the mud. Ask them to help you in the garden. Don’t be in a huge rush to have them clean up and come inside.
6 – Improves vision
Being outside in the sun improves our vision. Being inside under artificial lights causes nearsightedness. This makes it much healthier for our eyes to do our studies outside.
7 – Fresh Air
You’re probably aware that we’re surrounded by toxic chemicals all day long – from cleaning sprays to air fresheners to the off-gases from building materials and more. When we’re in nature, we’re being exposed to less of these toxic substances.
8 – Anti-inflammatory
If you let your kids walk outside barefoot, it has an intense anti-inflammatory and energizing effect on the body. It also helps wounds to heal more quickly and to prevent auto-immune diseases.
9 – Decreases stress
Movement decreases stress and moving around outside helps to decrease it even more. The less stressed our kids are, the better they will be able to focus and the more they will enjoy learning.
So, now you know why so many of us feel restless this time of year. Our bodies are crying out to get outside for some much needed fresh air and nutrients. This is a great time of year to take the homeschool lessons outdoors. Let your kids sit at a picnic table to do written work. Have them climb a tree and read a book from its branches. Make sure they get plenty of movement between subjects. And if you want to be really radical, try stowing the books every once in awhile and allowing your kids to learn by experiencing nature.
Question: How often do you homeschool outside? Do your kids enjoy being outside or do you struggle to get them to leave the house? Please leave a comment below.