This post contains affiliated links and is pretty much one longish sermon to myself.
Halfway through the first semester, almost to the end of the first trimester, or just generally waist high into whatever schedule your educational plan follows, the routine is well underway. It’s also the time when all the good intentions are buried in a shallow grave out back: We will do more reading. We will spend some time every day on fine arts. We will keep the house tidy. (Bahahahahaha!)
One of my good intentions, perhaps my main good intention, was to get the kids (and me) outdoors every day.
But the calendar is packed, and there are lessons to be done and appointments to keep, and, if I manage to get the boys out regularly, I’m doing well. Forget about the girls. It gets overlooked, back burnered, and otherwise neglected. After all, there is math to do.
As detailed in the highly recommended book Last Child in the Woods, merely being out of doors has mental, physical, and psychological benefits. Furthermore, children especially need play — and lots of it. Not just time alone to be creative with Legos or blocks or what-have-you on their own time and in their own way, but time upside down, run and jump, climb trees, and spin ’til you’re dizzy play. (Adults probably could use all that, too. Although it doesn’t take much spinning before I’m dizzy.)
And I know all of this and believe all of this thoroughly. And still, math outranks a romp through the nature preserve every time.
Bless my heart.
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Breaks my heart, every time.
I’ve noticed the benefits to my own mind and body when I take a walk to the park or an early morning bike ride. Of course, those rides are put on hold until the government decides to put the clocks back to the way God intended. Day Light Saving Time in October is obscene, more so than usual.
My problem — and I’m guessing the problem for most people who want to spend more time outside but don’t — is that it isn’t a real priority. It’s a priority like politicians call everything a priority. (Jobs? Priority! Crime? Priority! Education? Priority! Food Safety? Priority! Traffic? Priority! Real priority? Getting re-elected.)
Getting outside is a priority, as is math and reading and history and science and speech exercises and music practice and doing chores and, and, and. It’s exhausting. Even for short people, life has a lot of demands.
But the benefits of getting being in nature, of independent play, and old-fashioned air are so important that getting outside needs to be a priority for my whole family. A real priority. A “let’s read history outside” priority. A “yes, the house looks like a tornado come through, but chuck it all, we’re going to the park” priority. A big Priority that supersedes other priorities. In fact, I ought to stop blogging and demonstrate the priorty-ness of it all right now.
Go outside and play. Go!