Nature walks for homeschooled children can be a valuable and enriching educational experience. They are one of our favourite things to do as a family! These walks can serve as a hands-on, outdoor extension of their curriculum and offer a wide range of benefits for their learning and development. Here are some considerations for nature walks specifically designed for homeschooled children...
Learning Opportunities: Nature walks can be integrated into various subjects, such as biology, ecology, botany, geology, and environmental science. Parents or educators can use these walks to teach children about the natural world, including identifying plants, animals, rocks, and more.
Hands-On Science: Nature walks provide an excellent opportunity for children to engage in hands-on scientific exploration. They can collect specimens, observe wildlife behavior, and conduct simple experiments related to their surroundings.
Nature Journals: Encourage children to keep nature journals...
Originally appeared in the August 2023 issue of What's On Magazine
As the world becomes more aware of the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, a new phenomenon is emerging: eco-anxiety. This term describes the feeling of anxiety, fear, and despair that can arise in response to any environmental crisis. Unfortunately, it's not just adults who are experiencing it - children are also feeling the effects of eco-anxiety.
It's understandable why children might be feeling anxious about the state of the environment. They see images of natural disasters, hear stories about species going extinct, and are told that the planet is in trouble. It's a lot for them to take in, and it can be overwhelming.
So, what can parents, carers, and educators do to help children cope with eco-anxiety?
Listen: Listen to children’s’ concerns. Let them express their feelings, and then validate their emotions. Don't dismiss their worries or tell them that they're overreacting....
This is not a homeschooling post, but if you are a local to the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia, or you ever visit - here's an educational history tour of this area! And if you live elsewhere, maybe this article, originally published in What's On Tablelands magazine in April 2022, will give you some ideas for exploring the history of your local area?
The natural and geological history of the Atherton Tablelands and surrounding areas is fascinating! It includes giant trees and ancient forests, craters and crater lakes, lava tubes, gems, and gorges. Between four million and 10,000 years ago, a series of volcanic eruptions occurred over the Atherton Tablelands. Learn more about local volcanic history from the interactive displays at Malanda Falls Visitor Centre, where you can also explore the adjacent rainforest walking trails. Mt Hypipamee Crater, Bromfield Swamp, Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, and Hallorans Hill, as well as the Seven Sisters and Lake Euramoo, all form...
Did you know that 1 in 5 people experience symptoms of mental illness each year?
In fact, every day in Australia, 9 people will die by suicide.
Mental illness can be debilitating and can have a devastating impact on not only those living with it, but those around them.
This October, I’ll be taking part in One Foot Forward to help reduce the impact of mental illness and suicide. It's the first time I've ever done a fundraising challenge like this! My goal is to walk 100km and raise $250.
I'm walking to raise funds for Black Dog Institute, so that they can put ground-breaking new mental health treatment, education, and digital services into the hands of the people who need them most. It would mean so much to me if you donated to support my walk. In my 'day job', I refer clients to resources like the Black Dog Institute every week. It's important to me that free mental health care services are available to assist those in need 24/7.
Following on from my last blog post about hands-on Maths and Numbers, here are some tips for busy, bouncy kids to get them involved in reading and writing activities...
play – games, letter dice, story dice, magnetic letters & words, board games, matching games, wordsearch
create – get them to tell you stories & poems and record these, make books, cards for loved ones, get a penpal, collage letters, paint letters (sprinkle sand on wet paint), use chalk on paths, tracing in sand or paint
label – your favourite things around the house, label your body parts, label your garden - label everything! If you use sticky labels, it's most fun.
worksheet creator – use your favourite words to create worksheets: names, address, pets, places. Wordsearches are worksheets in disguise.
read – audio books, read aloud (while they use playdough or eat is good), go to the library, read to yourself and aloud to other adults while children are around, and just...
Something that comes up a lot in my sessions and conversations with other parents is - how do we 'teach' kids who just want to touch, squash, bang, run, jump, yell and are basically very IN their own bodies a lot of the time?
There are so many ways to learn the same concepts. That we expect busy little bodies to sit, hold a pencil, and listen for great lengths of time is plain crazy. It's the worst part of our modern education system, I think. (And there's loads of research behind that opinion, but I don't think I need to convince you!)
Here are some of the ways we've discovered numbers in the early learning years with tactile learners:
manipulatives – buttons, coins, counters, Cuisenaire rods, MAB (Multibase Arithmetic Blocks), rocks, abacus, dominoes, sticker spots & stars, anything they have multiple of (favourite toys), lego, blocks
play – games, building, count as you hop, jump & skip, collect, bounce, measure, run, using timers, shops,...
AI - Artificial Intelligence - love it, hate it, or not sure? I'm still on the fence! That is a typical writer's response to a perceived threat.
I've been testing it out though, and I think it's a great tool for generating ideas. For example, today I logged into ChatGPT and asked it to "write a 4 week unit study for children aged 5-7 who are learning about the countries around the world, especially developing nations and less common countries, and include food, stories, and art, as well as academic learning."
For me to plan this would take maybe an hour or more, and for someone new to homeschooling, it could take a few hours. In under a minute, ChatGPT gave me this:
Week 1: Africa - A Continent of Rich Cultures
Introduce the concept of continents and explain that we will be starting our journey in Africa, a diverse continent.
Display a world map and locate...
I've had a lot of questions about some terms I use, lately.
What is an invitation to learn?
What is strewing?
What is a rich learning environment?
Why are you so passionate about make memories?
This photo is of Zeah's learning space a couple of years ago. It still looks like this, but with some of the toddler items moved on, and more big-kid things (and mess, plenty of mess). This room itself is an invitation to learn - there are a variety of toys, art activities, games and books (out of the shot) and she can set up to play and not have to pack it away right away. The room is an open area off our living space so she can see and hear me while I do Mum things, or work from home. For older kids, an inviting space might be games displayed on shelves, a comfy place to sit and read, quality books that are easy to find, art supplies that are accessible and interesting with images for inspiration, blank journals and nice pens, or a musical instrument in a living space...
Twinkl have a brand new PlanIt Home Education Planner resource designed especially for Home Education and all aligned to the Australian Curriculum. This resource is hot off the press and includes a full year's worth of primary school aged-lesson planning across various subjects and topics mapped out for you. All you have to do is click on the links to be directed straight to all of the appropriate resources - how simple is that?
You can find this PlanIt Home Education planner here.
And if you need a code to access Ultimate access to Twinkl, I have one which is valid for MAY only! Login into Twinkl through this link, and then enter my code: HOMESCHOOLCONFIDENTLYMAY2023 to receive your free week of Ultimate access.
PlanIt resources include detailed lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, creative and differentiated lesson activities, challenge cards, fact cards, eye-catching display packs, key vocabulary grids and even assessment materials. Twinkl have also included a blank...