Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Outdoors

" There is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay, by his own observations, a wide basis of facts towards scientific knowledge in the future.  He must live hours daily in the open air, and, as far as possible, in the country; must look and touch and listen; must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast, bird, or insect; the manner of growth and fructification of every plant." Charlotte Mason Volume 1, pg. 264

I find it interesting when a few things that are now natural to us seem surprising to others.  One in particular is when I share the amount of time my younger children spend doing sit down table work.  What do they do for most of their day if not that!  Well, lots of outdoor time and time to create, that's if they're not reading or listening to a story ; )

We don't live in the country and can't go to the park, hikes or field trips everyday; so having an open or at least an inviting backyard space was very important to us.  When we were house hunting over two years ago, the backyard was our biggest obstacle.  I find that ironic; being that I grew up on the second floor of an 800+ square foot one bedroom apartment with three other siblings.  I've mentioned this before: my husband complements me quiet well.  The outdoors and space have always been important to him because he has fond memories and cares to create them in our children.  After much search our home was absolutely all that we needed, in many ways; but the backyard is what absolutely sold my husband.  This is the entrance to our "small mountain in the backyard" as the kids call it:

I just love the hidden niches I found last week while taking a photo tour of the hill. A little proof that the children have made this a living space and a glimpse to their outdoor time activities:

Favorite reading spot.

Imaginative play, always!
A little drawing and nature study spot.
 Believe me when I say that I'm aware of just how blessed I am to have this space.  I also know that if it wasn't here, Charlotte Mason has instilled a sense of appreciation and understanding for outdoor time, that I would seek the opportunities through other local resources.  After reading her Volume 1 this summer and realizing that in order for my kids to enjoy the outdoors I needed to be an active participant in this endeavor;  I know that I have made an extra effort to spend more time outdoors than I ever have.  Why?  Because I want them to have that time to explore, wonder and build curiosity.  I already see some clear results in their studies and it is also creating some great memories for them. 

"It is infinitely well worth the mother's while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation." Charlotte Mason, Volume 1 pg. 71


Charlotte Mason in the City said...

Your backyard is lucky to have a space so nice and so near to you. I'll take it! :)

Yes, I totally agree about taking the initiative to make the time and effort for our kids to spend time in nature - that's a priority for me as well, though sometimes I need CM to nudge me. And, like you, I notice the difference in the kids' studies and attitudes - the more time we spend outdoors, the better it goes for us indoors. (I wish the schools understood that correlation! When I hear about recess time being cut out of the school day, I'm baffled.)

Eva said...

Are you doing the GBBC? You would probably get lots of species!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

CM in the City, Not only does recess time get cut but it usually happens on an asphalt graveled yard : (

Eva, we're not doing the GBBC this year. It crept up on me and we have some family personal things we've been concentrating on.

Eva said...

Praying for your husband's grandmother and for your whole family.

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Eva, thank you for your prayers! We are all doing much better.