When we’re children, school begins at age 4 or 5, and from that time on— all the way up to graduation — physical education helps us stay moving. In the early years, we’re allotted a recess period to play outside. But most days are spent indoors, seated at a desk in a chair. The indoor confinement feels especially long and droning in the bitterly cold winter months.
In northern climates, the winter months keep everyone hunkered down inside, whether you’re homeschooling or not. But once spring arrives, the sunshine and fresh air ignite a sense of excitement. And there’s a reason for that! Our bodies benefit from being outdoors. Now that spring is here, it’s time to take advantage of the benefits homeschooling outdoors provides.
An experiment by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that 81 percent of participants saw an increase in creativity after simply taking a walk outside. Creativity isn’t just a part of art class; it’s an important foundational building block for critical thinking in every subject.
As the weather warms up, if your children are studying flashcards in preparation for an exam, take a walk with them outside to get their creative juices flowing, and quiz them as you walk together. Invite your kids out to review a lesson you’ve just gone through while you walk together, or even just take the dog outside for a stroll to get a break.
Ever start to notice your kids getting moody or short-fused when they’ve been cooped up inside for a long time? That’s because they may need some physical exertion. By getting active, they’ll release endorphins, which are scientifically proven to improve mood. Now that spring has arrived, take the kids outside for some physical education.
Encourage them to play a game of catch or kickball in the backyard. If you want to make things a bit more educational, get out the sidewalk chalk and draw a game of hopscotch on the driveway. While they’re outdoors, your kids will also expose their skin to the UVB rays of the sun that provide vitamin D. This helps the body absorb calcium in bones, but it’s scarcely found in foods. Plus, all the dirt and bacteria in the yard or floating around in the air will help them build up their immune systems and natural resistance to bad bacteria that fester inside the body and cause sickness.
By getting active, they’ll release endorphins, which are scientifically proven to improve mood.
Socialization and Community
Winter can be isolating, and the sensation of “cabin fever” is very real. Even as adults, we feel it. Being outside is freeing. There’s open space, room to run and play, and just being outside gives your children ample opportunities to just be rambunctious.
Playgrounds and group outdoor settings can be a welcome change in the spring months for homeschooled kids because there’s an opportunity to engage with other children, outside, in an open environment. They can play hide and seek or capture the flag, swing together on the swingset, or even bring along a picnic, all while socializing with children their age.
If the park has an open green area, bring your school materials along for lessons after playtime. If you’re part of a co-op, the school day could be completely outside in the green area, with playground breaks between subjects.
By getting outside this spring to experience the blooming flowers, the warm sun, fresh air, and the sound of bees buzzing, everyone’s mood is sure to improve. Take advantage of the perks of homeschooling outside this year, and remind your children of how glorious God’s creation really is.
Take advantage of the perks of homeschooling outside this year, and remind your children of how glorious God’s creation really is.