It’s almost Spring, which on top of prettier weather, baby animals, and blossoms means we will soon be moving into heavy testing season in many schools. While I work primarily with homeschooling families, it is immensely important to me that all parents and all children are aware of their rights to an education environment and experience that supports their individual needs.
After a revolutionary first year, we are back with the 150 Hours Outside Project, kicking off for 2020!
When this idea officially became a project at the beginning of 2019, I had no idea it would grow to as grand of a scale as it did in just one year. In 2019, we saw:
Every day I receive questions from parents just like you, with questions about my one-of-a-kind A Child’s World Curriculum. In an effort to make answering those questions easier, as well as helping everyone that is curious understand my process of creating this amazing curriculum, especially as more and more grades become available, I have put together this post about the creation of A Child’s World Curriculum! Enjoy!
Having conversations with our children that help them reflect on their day is super important and healthy for helping our children develop valuable skills like self-reflection, self-regulation, emotional health, and connection in their relationships. But if we can’t get more than one-word responses, how much is the conversation really helping them? The answer is: not really that much.
Changing up the way we ask these questions and connect with our children makes all the difference. Asking questions that are open-ended, being physically and emotionally available to listen and connect, and modeling how to reflect are all ways that we can encourage healthy conversation and connection at the end of each day.
Since beginning the #150hoursoutside Project at the start of this year, I’ve received tons of questions asking me how to gather a group of families and get a nature group or Forest School group meetup started. This is something I’ve done in the past, and recently started back up again in my local community (we’re just getting ready to start our Summer session!). So I figured I’d share my tips and tricks for getting a local group off the ground in your area in the easiest way possible.
You’ve probably heard about some of the amazing benefits of letting your children climb trees. In our #150hoursoutside Project, we even had a tree climbing challenge one week to encourage everyone to get out into the forest and give it a try. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, not only have we seen an epic decrease in the average amount of time our children are spending outside in free play everyday (4-7 MINUTES on average! Yikes!), but along with that, the enjoyment of tree climbing has all but disappeared.
You’ve started seeing some of the signs…. a morning tummy ache, irritable behavior Sunday nights, or even straight up tears when it’s time to leave for school in the morning. The middle of the year (January and February) can be some of the hardest times for children who aren’t really enjoying their time in school. But so many parents are nervous about pulling their children out of school and starting homeschooling in the middle of a school year. How do I even do it legally? How do I make sure they don’t fall behind? How do we create a new rhythm quickly? Isn’t it better to “stick it out” until next year?
If you’ve been following along with my #150hoursoutside Project this year, or if you’ve just been around the natural learning world for awhile, then you’ve likely heard the phrase: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” And while I believe that to *almost* always be the case, the reality is that sometimes… there IS such a thing as bad weather.
Sometimes – we just can’t go outside safely. And that is perfectly ok.
SO… what do you do when you’re used to spending time outdoors and for whatever crazy weather reason, you’re stuck inside?
I recently shared inside the #150hoursoutside Facebook Group about this little Pocket Bear that I made for my sons for Christmas to take on their adventures throughout the year, and the feedback was immediate: YES, WE WANT THEM! I believe these adorable little bears will become our “official” #150hoursoutside mascots, and I cannot WAIT to start seeing these little creatures pop up in photos all around the world!
One of my greatest missions is to encourage more families and schools to get their children outdoors and learning through the beauty and wonder of nature. Over the years I believe I have succeeded in doing this through my curriculum, courses, challenges, workshops, etc. However, I’ve been feeling lately like there hasn’t been quite as much impact as I’d like there to be. And then, completely randomly one morning while I was simultaneously making breakfast for my kids and chatting with a friend online, this concept came to me. I sat with it and journaled out ideas for about a week, and the #150hoursoutside Project was born.
With many of the families and classrooms that I work with, one of the biggest things that the adults want to find solutions to is the way children are interacting in the learning/play environment. Children are being aggressive with each other or with the toys and materials they have. Children seem generally unhappy or have unusually short attention spans. Children aren’t showing any real interests or don’t want to participate in the activities that parents/teachers are setting up for them.
And almost always this can be traced back to one thing – clutter in the environment.
Writing seems like the hardest thing, doesn’t it? It’s the last big leap into full-blown literacy, and as parents we want nothing more than to watch our young ones blossom into happy, confident writers.
Unfortunately, most of the advice and activity suggestions that you find out there encourages you to stick workbook pages in front of your child, have them trace letters until their hands go numb, or force writing activities on your older writers that they really, REALLY don’t feel confident doing. And sadly… the statistics about writing are clear that this approach isn’t only developmentally unsound, but is causing a significant problem with how our children feel about writing and how often they choose to use this skill. An astounding number of children, teens, and even adults have decided that they don’t enjoy writing, aren’t good at writing, or actively choose to avoid it at all costs.