The Outdoor Classroom

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  1.  As much as possible, weather permitting, your classroom should be outside in natural surroundings.  Use a table or home-type desk for the student to work at when inside.  (You will need a place to store books and materials.)  Use a chalkboard that is of medium size and portable.  It can be used for illustrations when cooking, canning, meal planning, doing science experiments, mathematics problems, etc. Actually, the entire house is to be used for your teaching experiences. Homeschooling is meant to be done in natural surroundings where children learn “naturally.”
  2. Use clipboards and small hand blackboards for writing on when outside.
  3.  A picnic table is nice for outside school.
  4. Teaching outside will keep younger children better occupied while you teach the older ones.
  5. Teaching outside tends to quiet hyperactive, nervous, or restless-type students.  At first, there may be moments of distraction, like watching every bug or turning away at every sound, but these moments will pass as the student becomes accustomed to being outside.  Even these distractions can often be turned into lessons.
  6. Teaching outside opens to the students what should have been their very first lesson book – the lesson book of nature – the wonders of God’s creativity in land, water, and sky!
  7. Teaching outside will improve the five senses.  Students will improve the five senses.  Students will become more sensitive to seeing detail, hearing quiet sounds, smelling fragrances, feeling breezes and changes in temperature, and tasting nature through its smells.  This will help develop in them a sensitivity to people, their needs, their loneliness, and their fears.  It will also help them develop a discernment of people’s faces as they pay attention to details in nature.  In their time of trouble it will be the little things that will help them to know how to respond to a friend or an enemy.
  8. Teaching outside offers time for personal prayer, thoughts, and meditation.  It offers opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak gently to students through nature.

 

Excerpt from Ten Principles of True Education, pp. 2-3