Are you looking for a way to homeschool in the woods? Has the weather turned warm and you're having a hard time keeping your children interested in their studies? Take your boys hiking. A few hours of outdoor education is a great way to exercise their bodies while learning an amazing amount of things about the world we live in.
Things for boys to learn about while on a hike:
- Animal tracks
- Botany – identify flowers, trees, grass
- Geology – identify different rocks, minerals, soil
- Insects – identify. Which ones would beible in an emergency situation?
- Biology – identify mammals, reptiles, birds, etc.
Before you go, you may want to consult a trail map for the area you're planning to take your boys hiking. Hiking trails vary in length as well as difficulty level. You do not want to end up halfway down a difficult trail, miles from your car, without enough energy to get you back safely. Look for trail maps in field guides, on-line, or at the visitor's center of the park you'll be hiking.
Things to think about bringing with you or wearing on a hike (depending on the season):
- Water bottle or canteen
- Healthy snacks like nuts or granola bars
- Insect repellent
- Rain jacket
- Hat to keep off the sun
- Tennis shoes or hiking boots
- Long pants and long sleeves (to avoid poison ivy if you will be wandering into the woods)
- Warm layers of clothes, warm hat, mittens
- Nature journals or cameras
Be sure to hike in a variety of terrain, so that your boys will become familiar with different types of habitats:
- Coastal and beach areas
- Inside abandoned mines or caves
- Forest or Jungle
- Mountainous Areas
If your boys are already avid hikers, you can spice up any journey by turning it into a scavenger hunt. Make up lists of things that you can see, hear, touch, smell … and (for the very adventurous) taste. You can even award prizes at the end of the trip for the person who found the most items, the largest item, the dirtiest item, etc. Boys love variety, so the more twists you add to the hunt the more they will enjoy it.
No matter what season of the year you find yourself, taking your boys hiking is a great way to keep them interested in their studies over the long haul.