Be New School....Forest School
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
There are times in my life when I sit in wonder at life's hectic pace and begin to question its necessity. When I strip away the layers of the to-do list and recognize how much is just filler, I can begin to see the beauty of relative simplicity. Since our recent shift into this hibernation of sorts, this shedding of obligations has allowed for the things that truly matter to take surface. Although life has slowed down (...somewhat), the quality of my day to day life has increased significantly. I am gardening like a madwoman, practicing online yoga daily with my favorite yoga teacher, trail running in the forest with one of my best friends, and homeschooling my step-kids part time. So even though my days are full, there is a flavor of wholesomeness to them that I have never experienced before.
So let's talk a little about homeschooling and how I am making sense of it all. Honestly, it's been an amazing experience thus far. It's still exhausting but I feel like the quality of my children's education is much richer and well-rounded as I can meet them where they are at. Without all the regular classroom distractions productivity and quality of work has increased too. As an outdoor educator I am pumped that my kids are now engaged in meaningful nature-based learning on a daily basis. We refer to this time of nature connection as Forest School. It happens after lunch and sometimes it's just the three of us, and sometimes there are guests. (The bonus of outdoor learning is that there is plenty of space to maintain social distancing.) We generally start with a 30-minute sit spot and share our experiences afterwards which we refer to as storytelling. I then read a book related to the natural environment and finish up with a game or challenge. But the trick with meeting your children where they are at is the ability to change and adapt your plan as needed. So, sometimes the routine is stretched and adapted according to the days needs. However, sit spot and storytelling always remain at the core of our daily practice.
It is my intention with this blog to share more information, resources and ideas as to how you too can incorporate Forest School into your days. To be honest, one of the perks is that you also get a sit spot, an opportunity for personal time and building your own connection with the natural environment.
Here are some resources worth checking out. That said, you don't need much to go out into the woods, or even your yard. Just get outside, set a timer and hang out.
Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature Book by Ellen Haas, Evan McGown, and Jon Young
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids Ages 9-99 Book by Thomas J. Elpel