The cold, cold days of winter are long past, but schooling is not quite done. At least it’s not for us; we school year round. But now, it’s finally summer and it’s time to move the schooling outside!
I don’t know about you, but the thought of walking through the woods collecting different kinds of leaves makes me depressed. I didn’t get it when I was in school and I still don’t, and I have never once regretted not knowing the different kinds of tree leaves. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do outside that are also teaching moments, and they don’t require schlepping through the woods.
Ride the bus/train
If you live in a city with public transportation, take a few days to utilize that service. We did this once and used the time and change of scenery to point out different kinds of shapes.
We walk everywhere in the warm months. We walk to the library and the grocery store and, sometimes, just to be out of the house. I love walking to the Recycling Center with my girls. We pull our plastics and glass in a wagon!
Go to festivals/concerts/street fairs
I know that these can get expensive (so eat ahead of time), but the exposure to different people, food, music and culture that your children receive is invaluable!
It’s so easy to get caught up in “If I live in Philadelphia…” or “We live in such a little town…” but I am sure that there is plenty to do right around where you live! Strawberry picking is something all kids should do at least once in their life. Most towns have old houses that were among the first built or other interesting attractions. The population of our borough is just over 6,000 people, but we come alive for two weeks in August each year for the Little League World Series. The girls love to see the people from all over the world and cheer on a US team with thousands of others.
If all else fails, take your books to the park. Sure, it’s still book work but being in the sun light makes everything easier to understand, I swear. You can also add outside activities that go with your current lessons. I have some examples of this with our Compass Rose lesson and some other Montessori posts.
Remember though, not everything we do has to end with our kids knowing something they didn’t know when they woke up. Just let your children’s observations and questions lead the conversation. I love the things we end up talking about on our walks! We’ve discussed drugs, becoming a missionary, God, family, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston… innumerable things. The time together is a great teaching tool. It puts you in synch with your kids and them with you.
Most importantly, don’t forget to slow down this Summer! Ditch the books and let the kids run wild. They need to get dirty and make a mess!
That’s how they really learn.
Tiffany is a homeschooling Mama of 3 girls. She blogs at Home Grown Families in her “spare time.”