Homeschooling in Nature

Homeschooling in nature is fun.  What kid, or adult for that matter, wouldn’t rather be outside in God’s backyard than behind a desk or in front of a black board. As a former public school student turned homeschool momma, I tried to do school at home with little success.  It has taken me years to overcome my box checking tendencies.  And also the confidence to realize that as the teacher, I make the education.  Homeschooling in nature with Alphabet Smash makes things easy but unless you commit and plan to go outside, it won’t happen.  In my new book, I used these ideas and more with my own littles.

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12 ways to intentionally engage your child in nature:

1– Put Going Outside on Your Schedule

I struggle with laziness, being too cold, too hot, too busy and other rational excuses.  Getting out in nature always seemed to fall to the end of the list and rarely happened.  But what I found out was that I had never actually put going outside on my homeschool agenda.  Good grief! Put going outside on your schedule!  Whether it is 10-15 minutes in the morning or after lunch or even just once a week.  One thing I learned from Charlotte Mason and Flylady is that 15 minutes add up.

“You can do anything for 15 minutes.”  FlyLady

For little ones, 15 minutes is usually a good amount of time for any lesson.  However, allow time for curiosity so your child will not feel rushed.

2– Get outside consistently.

Try going outside at the same time every day.  Your kids will remember if you forget 🙂  Make an effort to go in rain, sleet, snow, and sun as things are different outside in different weather and you will surely see something new. Make it easy on yourself and keep your ‘gear’ all in one place within easy reach.  Try jumping rope in the grass for “J” week, or building a fort for “F” week, a nature obstacle course for “O” week, or making mud pies for “M” week. Use Alphabet Smash ideas to engage with the world around you.

3– Be knowledgeable about nature.  Read a nature book together.

My kids asked, “What is thunder?”  So we read a book about it.  We read a book about why leaves fall off trees.  If you study ants for “A” week, get a book on ants suitable for your child’s age.

“There is no knowledge so appropriate to the early years of a child as that of the name and look and behavior in situ of every natural object he can get at.”  Charlotte Mason

4– Create a nature journal early.

Bring your child’s art pencils and crayons outside on a picnic blanket and have them draw what they see.  Bringing a piece of the outdoors in and learning it’s name and how to copy/draw/paint it onto paper or in a nature journal is a good way to conclude a lesson. You can even bring your smart phone to capture pictures for your child to draw later.  (Just don’t be tempted to check facebook 🙂 ) You would be surprised at how many things you can collect within the pages of a book.  Write down the names of what your child draws until your child is old enough to copy it or do it himself. Try making leaf rubbings for “L” week or measure the water after a rain for “M” week.  Nature journals are most effective for your children, if you keep a nature journal yourself.  It is so much fun to peruse through your journals together at the end of the year to see all you have done.  Even if you only do one a week, at the end of a school year, you should have 30 or more pages completed.

5– Go on nature walks.

Meandering through the woods or in your own backyard, you can find all sorts of critters and beauty.

6– Playing is more important than an object lesson.

You can direct your child to notice insects, however, if their interest lies in a creek, don’t force it.

7– Learn your backyard intimately.

You don’t always have to go somewhere new.

8– Purpose your activities so they will happen.

If you think, “We will order the butterfly kit someday…” then it might not happen.  Put it on your calendar.  Plan to go to places where there are animals, wild life, etc.  Figure out when the pumpkin farm has tours.  Make sure you purpose time in your day for your child to make a mud pie or dig in the dirt.  Let this time be slow and thoughtful and un-rushed. Alphabet Smash has all of these things written down in one place to make it easy for you.Homeschooling in Nature

Homeschooling in Nature

9– Engage with animals, bugs, trees, or anything God made.

If your child sees you engaging, she will too.

Homeschooling in Nature lamb

Homeschooling in Nature chick

10– Stop to smell the roses… the sunflowers.

Remember, to stop and smell them yourself!Homeschooling in Nature sunflower1

Or make a wish!

11– Collect things: mud pies, sticks, rocks, bugs, leaves, anything!

Homeschooling in Nature mudpies

Homeschooling in Nature insects

Homeschooling in Nature leaves

12– Encourage your child to hold and touch nature, bugs and animals.  If you are afraid, they will be too.

“With regard to the horror which some children show of beetle, spider, worm, that is usually a trick picked up from grown-up people.”– Charlotte Mason

Homeschooling in Nature horse2

Homeschooling in Nature butterfly2

Homeschooling in nature is fun!

Alphabet Smash has all of these things and more written down in one place to make it easy for you to plan.  Alphabet Smash is a fun, hands-on, relationship building Christian curriculum for your preschooler or kindergartener that encourages play.  It is an alphabet adventure that is engaging, simple to do and builds a relationship with your kids.  It is homeschooling intentionally.

Each letter of Alphabet Smash includes:

  • Art
  • Bible
  • Character Traits
  • Books
  • Food
  • Field trips
  • Fun Alphabet Activities
  • Math
  • Missionaries
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Poetry
  • Science
  • Social Studies

and more!

There are also free resources on my website for you to use with each letter:

  1. Handwriting practice worksheets for each letter of the alphabet.
  2. Bible verse copy work for each letter of the alphabet
  3. Clip art for your child to learn to cut and paste for each letter of the alphabet.
  4. Block letters for your child to decorate alphabetically.
  5. A 5-day weekly planning sheet to pick and do only what you want to do, from a smorgasbord of possibilities, in your homeschool pre-school.

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“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.” ― Fred Rogers

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