A Nature-Based Homeschool Journey
This week, we're realizing a dream of a home school that nurtures young people holistically: body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit. Our vision is to hold space outdoors, rain or shine, immersing students in the natural surroundings. In this way, we find and refine our natural talents as we get to know our Nature. Ideally, each child will explores the zone of genius as a Warrior of the Light, Creative Fire; and Sacred Medicine Cultivator.
“Intention” was the theme of our official first day of homeschool. We started the school day with a morning fire, with a drizzle refreshing the forest. We expressed our gratitude and shared our ideas for the day ahead, setting our intentions. Gabriel, age 5, asked what intention means, an several of us answered: "It’s like a goal,” said Tiger, age 10. We agreed an intention can be a goal, a plan, a prayer, and a commitment.
Naturally, this conversation transitioned to the subject of positive affirmations, and Tiger demonstrated: “I am happy to be here.” We took turns affirming we are safe, strong, and living well, etc. Taking turns with the "Talking Stick," we explored, discovered, and shared some intentions for the day.
We stated these intentions as affirmations. “I’m glad we’re all having fun today.” “I’m happy to be here.” “I’m glad we get this chance to put our energy into something important to us.”
While the natural elements held space for our school session, we demonstrated the use of sacred cedar, and we talked about what it means to bless ourselves. We did bless ourselves, holding a hand to the gut to represent our willpower and holding the other hand to the heart to represent love, willingly giving ourselves self-love and respect. We also discussed prayer, and we asked the question: “What does spirit mean to you.” We heard lots of answers: “Soul,” “God,” “Emotion,” “Elements,” “Everything,” and many others, all of which are correct. I offered my interpretation, then I spoke aloud a prayer of thanks for all the people present on our first day of homeschool.
Before leaving the fire, we sang a few songs, including “The Animals Come.” Then we turned on our imaginations with a scouting mission for animal shapes in the trees, finding an alligator, an elephant… Rosalie made everyone laugh when she started clapping loudly at the ground and yelling, “Wake up the worms!” And then we agreed to transition into our next activity: bocce ball. This game was an absolute blast, and one of the best parts is that everyone was a winner at some point. Our youngest kid, Ocean, won three rounds in a row, at one point.
Some of the next activities include a visit to a rope swing over a muddy pond, where we watched Daniel, 11, and Tiger taking turns playing Supertarzan. A neighbor gifted us a stack of books about Ancient Lost Cities, and the Wonders of the World, and so we collected some awesome pictures for collages. Daniel and Tiger whittled some spears, under my supervision, gaining trust with the use of knives by demonstrating their awareness of safety considerations.
Meanwhile, Kate worked with Ocean and Gabriel on some early reading activities, relying on a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Abe Books. Rosalie moved forward with some collage at while Gabriel and Ocean got some free play, building with LEGO blocks. Then we all rallied together for a “Seventh Inning Stretch.”
We went for a Spirit Walk on a .67-mile loop in the neighboring woods. First, we played “Follow the Leader,” with the intention that each person would be able to practice leadership, along with following in alignment. However, the boys jetted ahead, rushing to the finish line, and missed the point. So we circled up and talked about what happened. And this time we set some clearer intentions: “We want everyone to stay together,” “We want to make safety the top priority,” “We want to practice listening and bring our awareness and respect to this outdoor space.”
The day's final sharing circle became an opportunity for each person to check in, integrate the day, and express their feelings. Ocean expressed some desire for more laughter and play. We walked the second lap together until the kids were getting noodle legs and sore feet. Then we had some more free play, trying out skateboards, rollerblades, and a tandem bicycle.
Some well-timed articles showed up on my Hive radar this week, just in time for our family's first attempt at homeschooling. These posts inspired me to take some notes and photos to document our findings.
I'd like to thank the following Hive authors for writing on the subject of homeschooling / unschooling this past week. I really appreciate them for bringing their encouraging stories and supportive resources to my attention. It is because of them that I am documenting my journey today, and it feels very meaningful to me. Here are the articles that inspired my post:
- Learning Together by @trucklife-family
- Sovereign Schooling by @homestead-guru
- Education Debate Challenge #3 by @homeedders
- How Do You Educate? by @romeskie