The Outside Classroom

The Outside Classroom

Now when you say to me 31C and humid, my instant thought is not ‘let’s head to the woods’.  But when you have two boys who love to be outside you say to yourself  ‘suck it up princess’ and pack up the rucksack.  Despite some whining on my part (my friends will attest to this) it was so worth it.  I can’t imagine the boys inside on a day like today; and I can’t imagine a place that could have taught them more.

Independence (and awesome 6 year old fashion combinations)

Scientific observation (of a partially submerged turtle and watery fauna)

Early Reading skills (he really did spend quite a while looking at the information sign)

Imaginative play, Teamwork, Co-operation


Patience (the amazing sight of two bouncing boys stood stock still, then creeping oh so quietly as they watched a woodland hare)

Kindness.  I know this isn’t a ‘subject’ but it really should be.

As in any classroom there were frustrations today.  A two year old temper tantrum and a mummy who didn’t want to deal with it (that would be me).  A boy forgetting the rules and a mummy frightened/cross (that would be me again).  A child lashing out and hurting my eldest boy.  Bumps and occasional mosquitoes who were determined to get a good taste of my elbows.

But the blue of the sky, the perfume of the conservation area we walked around were a balm to my scratchiness.  The feeling of satisfaction from a walk well done and the well earned rest, talking with other mamas in the shade were like a prize.  Watching the boys play so wonderfully with friends their own age and those older and younger is such a pleasure.  Noticing my nearly 6 year old boy buckling the shoes of a 3 year old girl, just because he wanted to help.  That pays for all.

4 thoughts on “The Outside Classroom

  1. Gorgeous pics and a beautiful summary of a glorious day. Hugs from a mom of an almost 6 yr old fashionista!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful time out, Emma! Nature seems gorgeous in your area! I enjoyed your previous post too, in which you mention homeschooling during summertime. You must know about TPS (Total Physical Response)? I mention this because of what you said of your boys needing physical activity, and your idea of combining movement and learning…I use TPS with my girls (to help them learn a foreign language..that would be English, for us). It is really a wonderful method, triggering lots of enthusiasm and immediate results!

  3. Wonderful post and beautiful pictures! My daughters also enjoy learning outside year-round…and the temperatures range here from 40 degrees F BELOW zero to 107 degrees F ABOVE zero (just last week!). At the extremes, we’re usually not outside (skin can freeze in seconds; the heat is unbearable)…but in the middle, we are doing lots of exploring as well. So many opportunities to learn, enjoy, and make memories!

  4. I am so jealous, we will have to find a way to make it out to these! My son does so well in nature is so horrendously in the city. The other day we were walking around the Glebe and he was so argumentative, as soon as we were near the river his whole person changed to a cheerful, helpful, interesting individual, and the switch went back when we left the park and joined the concrete ranks again. 2 more years until we start to realize our dream and get a little nature of our own. Pray we can make it that long.

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