If you are feeling a little tightness in your chest thinking about the next month of the kids being home due to the closing of schools across the country in an effort to slow the spread of the caronavirus, you are not alone. This can be really overwhelming. Coming from a homeschool mom of over a decade, I remember how I felt the first month of having my girls home. There was definitely a tightness in my chest. And I didn’t know the first thing about incorporating nature study into our school day. If you are wondering how to have intentional time outdoors with your kiddos over the next month, read on and I think you will be encouraged!
What Is Nature Study
Nature Study is just dedicated time spent outdoors with intention. Anyone can enjoy nature, and once we get out there and start to practice intention in our time out there, we will see amazing results in our mood and in our children’s mood and behavior.
Nature Study will look different for every family, for every age, and for boys vs. girls. So, let go of the perfection posts on Instagram and Pinterest, and just get outside with your family. You won’t regret it.
Nature Study is an adventure. You never know what you are going to learn while studying nature because nature is our teacher. Creation is always magnifying the name of the Lord, all we have to do is get out there and look for the miracles. They are there!
Why Incorporate Nature Study
Being in nature is good for you!! Physically, being out doors will reduce blood pressure, ease tension in our muscles, awaken our senses, and improve our mood, among lots of other things.
In addition, what is going on around you is effecting your immune system, your endocrine system, your digestive system. Our bodies only operate in two states: at rest and in stress. If we are in stressful situations, like a virus outbreak or our kids suddenly coming home with us for a month in the middle of the school year, our bodies will react in the same exact way as if a lion was chasing us into a cave. Stress puts your body into an emotional state that negatively affects all internal systems in our bodies. When we go outside, our bodies instantly shift into a restful state. The air, the sunshine, the chemicals put off by plants, microbes in the soil, being barefoot, etc., all cue our bodies to the restful state that our bodies crave.
During this stressful time, going outside may be just what saves your sanity. Literally.
When Is The Best Time For Nature Study
The best time for nature study is NOW!! When studying nature, nature is the teacher and the child is the guide. Using this principle, think back to when you were a kid. If you are like me and grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, your childhood probably consisted of a lot of outside time. That is because our moms knew that if our behavior was starting to turn south, a good dose of sunshine and fresh air, and the occasional drink from the water hose, would fix just about anything. The same is true today.
When studying nature, nature is the teacher
and the child is the guide.
When the behavior problems start to come up, take a break and go on a nature walk around the yard. Look for flowers, leaves, or bugs and just observe them. Maybe draw them or come back in and research them a little bit. Send the kids off with a plastic bag and not one expectation and watch their imaginations ignite and their interest sky rocket. Wandering around outdoors has led us to watch ants work, find fish in our pond, discover tons of tadpoles, and make many a wildflower bouquet. You will be amazed at how much nature soothes the soul, and you will love how much your kids enjoy it.
To help you get started studying nature with your little ones during this quarantine, I am linking two nature study guides for you to use and enjoy. These guides are from the fall season, but can be just as easily enjoyed in spring. They include all kinds of inspiration and ideas to help you make the most of your time outside. One guide will give you a week or more of ideas and inspiration.
Enjoy this time home with your family, and go outside. Incorporating nature study in your quarantine plans will boost your immune systems, your moods, and relieve stress in a way that you won’t believe!