Parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons, and one of the most compelling is the opportunity to provide exciting, unique lessons for their children and teach them skills that are hard to nurture in the public or private school tradition. 

Getting out of your usual learning environment for the day can be a great way to get your homeschool student excited about their lessons, and it can teach them valuable skills that benefit both in the classroom and daily life. 

Just a few of the benefits of incorporating nature into your lesson plans include:

  • Reduced stress levels for your child 
  • Real-world application of what they’re learning
  • Boosted creativity
  • Increased retention of lessons
  • More opportunities for physical activity

Fostering a love for learning through outdoor exploration should be a goal of any homeschool parent. Here are our tips for integrating nature into their homeschooling lesson plans:

Go on hikes as a family

Taking hikes with your homeschool student can be the first step in familiarizing them with the outdoors in a safe, controlled way. Even beyond your lesson plans, getting the entire family together for a hike is a great way to spend time together. Take this time to show them best practices for safety, including which plants may be dangerous and which areas to avoid when they’re on their own. 

Let your children explore independently 

One of the best parts about being a kid is playing outside. Be sure to give your student some time to explore independently outside and to take note of what they see. Just be sure the area is safe and they know what their boundaries are. 

Create a nature journal

As you explore together or give your children independent time, have them record what they see in a nature journal. Make notes of different flowers, trees, bugs, or critters they may come across, and have them write down what they think of these things and what their favorite parts are of being outdoors.  

Include nature-themed lessons in your curriculum

This is your chance to get creative and create activities for your child to do that boost their understanding of nature and give them some much-needed outdoor time. Do a family camping trip, even if it’s just in your own backyard. Start a small garden with them, or collect caterpillars to become butterflies and have them take note of the life cycle. There are so many opportunities to familiarize your child with nature and teach them important lessons in the process. 

For parents and children seeking guidance through the homeschool process, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools has been offering expert advice and academic planning for homeschool families for the last 30 years. Reach out to one of our trained counselors today to find the path that’s right for you.