Scoot on Outdoors...time's a-wastin'...
What you'll find in The Romantic Mom.com
This page is dedicated to enjoying the great outdoors with our children in all of the seasons...yes, even bare and cold winter! Up here in Maine we're blessed with the full effects of each and every season (although I will say that summer just doesn't last nearly long enough!) so we'll be sharing with you ways we make the outdoors our classroom and discovery and exploration of God's incredible universe our close companion. I'll also share with you fabulous and fun sites I stumble upon to make the journey even more fruitful and delightful.
"Giving nature an opportunity to influence and 'grow' our children is something we must not rob or misplace from the arms of our children’s lives." - The Romantic Mom
Backyard and Beyond
Beginning Birdwatching (pdf)
Ambleside Online - Nature Study Schedule
Charlotte Mason - Nature
CM Nature Walk & Nature Study Group
CM Nature Study - Great overview & summary with books and illustrations
CM Nature Tales
Handbook of Nature Study
In The Sparrow's Nest
Life in Maine
Pocketful of Pinecones - Homeschool Highlights
Soulemama - Out of Doors
The Romantic Mom - Outdoors & Nature Study
The Romantic Mom - Nature Walks & Outings
Summer is almost here--at least on this side of the equator--at long, long last! Even though there was frost on the ground this morning. We just won't talk about that. Anyway, at least it's not snow, and after the winter WE had this year, it's just not here soon enough!
I'm going to lull myself into visions of true warmth and sunny days so feast your eyes on the great outdoors--or even head on up here to Maine where summers are absolutely gorgeous (just pack that mosquito repellent). I'll be showing more of the summer festivities and fairs as summer progresses.
Here's some photogenic inspiration to get out the picnic hamper and find a wonderful spot for a scrumptious lunch! And then you can scroll on down and find out what all this fuss is about scootin' outdoors and all.
Here's some more on Picnics
The Romantic Life, The Romantic Mom--Importance of Fresh Air & Sunshine
There is beauty in the forest
When the trees are green and fair,
There is beauty in the meadow
When wild flowers scent the air
There is beauty in the sunlight
And the soft blue beams above.
Oh, the world is full of beauty
When the heart is full of love.
This is our backyard. And this is my 6 yo daughter's favorite poem--that she just up and memorized out of the blue this week. Hey, don't ask me--I'm purely a spectator these days. Maybe if you start pretending to be romantic, then your kids will out-do you, too. I only THINK I'm romantic and it comes with no small amount of effort. My kiddos ARE romantic--to the core. I don't know how they do it, but I take notes! You betcha, I do!
So what's all this fuss about being outdoors? Aren't there plenty of video games to play and Sponge-Bob episodes to watch?
I can't believe I just put the word "Sponge-Bob" on this site. Where's the strike-over key? I have now sunk to a new all-time low. Mercy, just scrape me off the floor. Video games was bad enough--and I have no idea what their names are so don't even begin to tell me! I try valiantly to maintain romantic purity and bliss in any and all realms I have the where-with-all to do so.
I think it's really sad that our society keeps children cooped up inside as much as we do. And I think it's even sadder that many children today don't even mind it - in fact they prefer it. But I'm not convinced that it's entirely their fault that they prefer things that way. I just think they haven't had enough real adventure in their lives to know that they might actually prefer that instead.
Did you happen to catch the PBS series Frontier House where 3 families lived for 5 months like they were back in 1832 or maybe it was 1835. Anyway, after returning to their present-day modern world, the kids MISSED the frontier life. They were BORED going to the mall. They wanted to grow a garden and go back to the frontier life--perhaps minus the out-house. I found this very intriguing. Yes, and romantic, too! I watched that series when we were still in TX suburbia metroplex and it really got me to thinking. Isn't it amazing where thoughts can lead? Hmmm....
One thing that really caught my attention a few years ago was when my mother-in-law, who is a fourth grade teacher, told me that there were no recesses for the students at her school. I was shocked. She said that it had been that way for awhile and was not uncommon these days. We chalked it up to yet another sad point in the litany of disturbing issues facing children in the public school system. Even when I was growing up we always had multiple recesses and time for outdoor play all the way up until high school. Then in high school we had some form of sports or gym classes. I remember quite vividly in the little country school I went to that my fifth and sixth grade teacher would take us outside on beautiful spring days and let us read or do our work out in the sunshine and fresh air sprawled out on the still uncut grass. Springtime is one of the most gorgeous times of year in Texas and I always appreciated her for that gesture she made for us.
I guess it’s no wonder then that the need to tranquilize or medicate children with the ever-changing array of drugs on the market has become a fact of life for many young people in our society. From the time I was nine years old I grew up in the country with various forms of animal life and chores to do. I also come from many generations of farmers from Sweden and Ireland on both sides of my family. I suppose that’s why it’s so disturbing to me for children not to experience the outdoors, nature, and animals that I’ve always held so dear. Not having enough access to nature and the beauty of the outdoors causes me to shrivel up on the inside like a wilted rose. Even in the suburbs of Dallas, I had to find access to some form of outdoor beauty for myself and the children. We joined the Dallas Arboretum, would take walks along Turtle Creek near downtown, and took regular breaks at my parent’s house where I grew up. Although the metropolitan sprawl has encompassed their house, you can still see coyotes, bunnies, horses, donkeys, and feed the neighbor’s chickens.
It’s this fierce love of nature that surely points to our magnificent Creator that ultimately led us to the remoteness and natural beauty of rural Maine. Children thrive in the outdoors and nature is, as Charlotte Mason put it, such a “gentle teacher.” In fact, I have yet to find anyone who expresses the importance and the joys of the outdoor life as summarily as Charlotte Mason does in her Victorian English:
“People who live in the country know the value of fresh air very well, and their children live out of doors, with intervals within for sleeping and eating. As to the latter, even country people do not make full use of their opportunities. On fine days when it is warm enough to sit out with wraps, why should not tea and breakfast, everything but a hot dinner, be served out of doors? For we are an overwrought generation, running to nerves as a cabbage runs to seed; and every hour spent in the open is a clear gain, tending to the increase of brain power and bodily vigour, and to the lengthening of life itself. They who know what it is to have fevered skin and throbbing brain deliciously soothed by the cool touch of the air are inclined to make a new rule of life, Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.
All the time, too, the children are storing up memories of a happy childhood. Fifty years hence they will see the shadows of the boughs making patterns on the white tablecloth; and sunshine, children’s laughter, hum of bees, and scent of flowers are being bottled up for after refreshment.”
So, how much of this sunshine and fresh air is adequate for our youngsters to soak in and imbibe? Charlotte goes on to explain:
“Although the children should be left much to themselves, there is a great deal to be done and a great deal to be prevented during these long hours in the open air. And long hours they should be; not two, but four, five, or six hours they should have on every tolerably fine day, from April till October. Then there is much to be got by perching in a tree or nestling in heather, but muscular development comes from more active ways, and an hour or two should be spent in vigorous play; and last, and truly least, a lesson or two must be got in.”
To me this presents a sad commentary on our society and for our children of society in general. What with all the artificial stimulus, dark rooms with the non-stop iridescent flash of the TV or computer screen, long classroom hours in rooms without windows and certainly no access to fresh air and sunshine, what do we think this prescribes for the product of the next generation? Who cares what happens to the earth when one is never truly allowed to connect with its bounty and beauty? Giving nature an opportunity to influence and “grow” our children is something we must not rob or misplace from the arms of our children’s lives.