Let them climb trees and be free

Maddie in tree pic

Sometimes I have the impulse to schedule every second of every day (and to not deviate from that schedule) in order to have that sense of “Okay, we did ‘school’ today, and we were productive.”  And the guilt from schedule-straying?  Yup…that creeps in, too.

But, you know what?  I have found that some of the best learning comes from that deviation… that freedom.  Learning doesn’t have to look a certain way.  It doesn’t even have to come from books.  Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and let your children lead the way ~ and we (as the educators) end up learning just as much.

Learning can (and should often-times) come from running freely outside — even climbing trees.  And take note of the freely part.  It’s so good to take a backseat – not telling our children what to do, but instead letting them test their limits and use their instincts.  If we never let them try for themselves, then they’ll never know what they’re capable of…and they won’t ever try new things on their own, growing more and more timid as they grow older.  When they test their abilities and succeed, children have such a beaming sense of pride and accomplishment.  They feel as though they can conquer the world.  Failures happen, too, of course.  But I find when these happen (especially when in their comfort zone…like in their own backyard), children are more likely to try again or learn a valuable lesson that shapes how they can grow from that experience.

Taking the backseat can be hard – especially when watching them climb trees, for example.  But when I observe my children climbing, I can see how they know their limits.  I see them reaching for branches and considering the safety for themselves.  Should we teach general safety before the first time they ever climb a tree?  Sure.  But then step back.

As I sit outside and jot down ideas for this article, I am listening to my two daughters who are up in a tree with a bag of books.  (That’s right… they managed to get a large bag full of books halfway up a tree).  They are now trying to balance the bag on branches and are saying things like, “No, I don’t think it’s going to stay like that.  Here, try this.”

So, so good.

Learning facts ~ great.

Learning life skills (even those that aren’t on your lesson plan) ~ even better.

So mommas, if the day isn’t going as planned, that’s okay.  Ditch the plans.  If your kiddos are super antsy and unfocused, that’s okay.  Push aside the schedule.  If you’ve had days and days of rainy weather and finally have a beautiful day, embrace it…. embrace the beauty of this home educating life and let them run (and climb) freely.

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