Nature's Classroom

 Before I jump into this post, I wanted to give a quick update on my plans going forward for the Marigold Farms Blog.... Naturally; I do have to keep a focus on the store and in turn wood burning, but I also want to put more of a focus on the Blog, so going forward I will be following a Blog Post schedule. So as of right now, I will be posting every Monday and Thursday and occasionally a bonus Saturday post. Mondays will be geared toward Homeschooling and Thursday will put more of a focus on Lifestyle and the Business end of Marigold. I do have a ton to say on all subjects and will also be doing the occasional Christian post; as at the end of the day, God is my ultimate inspiration and I hope I can inspire others to turn to him more in all aspects of our lives.  In addition to blogging more I am also writting a short story that has been in the works for about 17 years now 😳 (boy does time fly when you aren't accomplishing things) as well as a series of cook books! So those will be hitting the shelves throughout the year and I can't wait to share a great story and some great recipes.
 So, now that I am done with the update, let's get into the meaning behind Nature's Classroom and how we can apply these lessons to our homeschooling curriculum.
-The Rut-
 As homeschooling parents, we are probably all aware that we can get stuck in a rut, especially if you are in a painfully cold climate like myself (New England🥶), so I wanted to touch on some ways that we can break up the monotony while educating and connecting with our kids.
 With the added challenge of restrictions and mandates due to covid surges, what I prefer to do is avoid those things all together and get back to nature. A much easier and more enjoyable task in the warmer climate, but a fun and educational one none the less. We are fortunate to live in a farming town with a lot of nature to embrace. We often drive over to an old lumber farm in my town, aka, the woods 😂. It is a lovely place with parking, trails and ponds. Throughout it, there are signs telling us all about the history, from gathering and milling lumber; to help build a lot of historical buildings in town, as well as how they used to harvest ice from the ponds and supply it to the locals all year, they even go into some detail on how they managed to preserve the ice all summer (they used the lumber sawdust in the mill).
 We love hiking there as it is very close to our home, walking distance actually, it is full of fun facts about that forest and our town history, but besides all that, it is the perfect opportunity to just talk. We usually talk about God, but fact is, once we are out there, my kids never stop talking, about everything. When we go hiking, I really get to know my kids better, their personalities, their hopes and fears, their perception of the things going on around them. They ask questions, not just about life, but about me. It may not seem educational to talk without a lesson plan in place, but it is one of the biggest interest builders I can think of. My kids are learning each other's perspectives, learning to open their minds; beyond their own interpretaions, we communicate and inspire each other. 
 More than anything, we talk about God when we are out in nature, and I personally can't think of a better time to talk about God...... When you are surrounded by his miracle. I have had some of my deepest and most connected conversations with my teenager, while out in the woods talking about God, moral and ethics. He asks questions that I otherwise wouldn't have known are floating around in his head and we get to communicate ideas, we think about important things and grow closer while we do. When we are out in nature, that is where I can beat communicate my understanding of God and his love, and I can feel my kids understanding and embracing traditional Christian values that I believe are so important in this current world they are being raised in.
 One of the benefits of being a homeschooling family is not only limiting the opportunity for bad influences, but taking advantage of being a positive influence. I know, with a great level of comfort, that my kids maintain a certain level of innocence that I wasn't blessed with growing up. That's not to say that I keep them 100% sheltered either, we have many discussions about the ugly aspects of the world, but I certainly embrace the positive and the light, and I find I can do that most efficiently out in nature.
-Overcoming Anxieties-
 After the difficult couple of years we have all had, I know that getting our more nervous kids out of the house can be challenging. My middle child is very intelligent, talented and aware, and that tends to lend to her anxieties. Our first couple trips out last spring were rough, she was anxious, despite being in a less social environment, you never know what is going to trigger a sensitive child's anxieties, and for some reason, hiking in the woods had my 10 year old daughter feeling vulnerable. As I had hoped, it only took about 10 minutes of skipping through the woods and singing with her sister, for her to let her walls down and relax, and very quickly became one of her favorite activities again.
-Breaking the Routine-
 There are so many opportunities to educate our kids outside of the house and in a less traditional way and sometimes, the most simple activities; can get those creative juices flowing and help expose our more sensitive kids to some safe and comforting fun and in turn will produce the best opportunities to connect with them, and I personally can't think of anything more important to embrace during this homeschooling adventure.
Here are some other ideas of outdoor activities to get you and your kiddos connecting and learning in nature...
•Rocky, tide pool beach exploration
•Local farm 
•Historical district walks 
•Forest hike 
•Simply play on the playground with them 
•Beach Walk
•Local Zoo
•Take a day trip to the mountains
•Visit Memorial sites
•Military Ship Tour
•Visit Historical Forts/sites
 Please keep the conversation going and let us know some ideas you might have to get the kids out and connecting in the comment section.
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