Many happy childhood memories of mine are framed by nature and the outdoors. Family beach days, country camping trips, backyard tree climbing, hiding in the hedges, swimming pool days, and bike riding through our local park all frame my childhood days. My own parents have tales of adventures on the bushwalk to school and lazy days exploring their family properties and getting up to adventurous childhood mischief in the local bushland.
One gift of home education to our family was the restoration of these old fashioned outdoor hours made available to us once again. My own children have enjoyed similar outdoor hours in their childhood years, and in these teen years they have already begun reminiscing those shared memories.
As work, study, ministry and social engagements fill their days, those childhood outdoor hours have fallen into memory, although they have paved a way to a love of beach and mountains. Now surfing, boating, wake boarding, and rock hopping are woven into the fabric of our family culture. Our family continues to build on shared memories and experiences and these outdoor hours continue to tie science to life.
Living and experiencing our natural world through an out-of-door life opens our eyes to the wonders of science. Nature Study is the first connection to bringing our lifestyle experiences and our experience of science together. Nature Study can be a natural outgrowth to playing, working, picnicking and walking. And, in our family's experience, as Nature Study has grown into Science study, and outdoor play has grown into a family culture of adventure sport, we keep that door way open to building connections and seeing our science study in a fresh, experiential light.
If you are beginning a home education journey with your teens here are some tips to get you started on weaving an out-door-life into the fabric of your learning and living as a family.
~ Enjoy one meal outside each day. Even a simple cuppa on a chair or rug under a backyard tree. Dessert outside on a starry night is also fun and simple.
~ Take your book outside to read or do some schoolwork outside on a picnic rug.
~ Gardening. Try out a family kitchen garden, create a wildlife friendly yard, build a bird feeder and keep an eye out for new feathered friends.
~ Explore a local walking track or botanic gardens together.
~ Try out a few outdoor hobbies together as a family or participate in some local outdoor fundraising community events like Paddle for a Purpose and The Colour Run. The local wakeboard park, local bushwalking tracks, surfing, swimming, canoeing, bike riding, fishing, boating, skate boarding, beach volleyball, stand up paddle boarding, geocaching, bird watching are some ideas.
Think about what can connect you with nature. What will draw you to enjoy the outdoors as a family? Find a common interest and then build on it. As time goes on, you just might be surprised at what you begin to notice and understand about our natural world and what connections you begin to make between your experiences and your study of science.
And hopefully, along the way, you will build strong connections and memories within your family.