Should more lessons be outside?

Early home school days

It seems the learning institutions are about to catch up with the home educators!

There was an item on the BBC this morning about learning outdoors . About learning in all sorts of places beyond the classroom, outdoors being one of them, and how doing so greatly enhances the quality of the learning, the children’s concentration, and the enjoyment of the experience. And consequently achievement.

Here’s the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13885417

If you’re a home educator you probably already know this!

But so many people are still stuck with the idea that you have to be in a classroom, at a desk, listening to a teacher, for any valuable learning to take place at all. In other words ‘appear’ to be studying in the formal way we’re all familiar with at school. But in reality this is miles from the truth. Children learn just as well, actually – much better – if they are out and about, discovering and discussing the subject, getting first hand experiences, and moving about.

Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and consequently improves concentration. It also makes the children engage more deeply with what they’re doing. Most children like to wriggle and move anyway so it also makes the activity far more enjoyable. If it’s enjoyable; they learn more.

There’s also another benefit. Apart from all they learn about the subject, a huge amount of incidental learning takes place when children are outside and in the wider world beyond the confines of a classroom. What they see provokes questioning and thinking and conversation. In other words it stimulates them. Classrooms restrict what children see. It narrows the learning setting and thus the experience. The more they see and experience, the more they learn.

When we were home educating, even though it was called home educating, I think we spent more time out of the home learning than in it.

We discovered we could virtually take any subject outdoors; it doesn’t just have to be nature study. Even if the learning was book based, we could still take it into the garden. Any way of finding practical approaches to Curriculum subjects increases the kids’ rate of achievement. Just taking sums or story writing on a picnic made it a better learning experience!

Our out door days were perhaps some of the nicest learning days we ever had. Especially if we were learning with our group of other home school families. Those were the occasions on which we learnt so much.

It looks like educationalists are finally beginning to twig what many home educating families have been practising all along. I always maintained that we have much to learn from home educating families, they are true educational pioneers. So come on all you home educators, if you haven’t tried it, get your children learning outside!

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2 thoughts on “Should more lessons be outside?

  1. Is that not true for everybody? Learning at your desk is equally difficult when you are a grown-up, it is when you are out there that you really learn; Another reason why telephone conferences and travel restrictions may work against you rather than for; Saving on travel makes the work force less efficient…. I very much agree with your post but why do we keep trying to force kids to sit still and learn through lectures when so much points towards that not being very efficient learning?

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