Homeschooling outdoors

There is something irresistible about fresh, morning air coupled with a vast expanse of green.  Every morning, Lamb, Piglet and I head for the nearby park for our daily dose of good old fashioned medicine for body, mind and spirit.

Whether it’s rained the night before and the playground is all wet, or if it’s a blistering hot morning, it’s hard not to feel the pull of the great outdoors. Especially when you know you’ll be mostly indoors for the rest of the day. And even though there will always be something outdoorsy in the evening like swimming or tennis or long walks around the neighbourhood, the morning air trumps it all.

This is also because I am not a particular chirpy person in the early part of the day due to extended, unromantic nocturnal activities like trying to finish chores.  Night-time nursing in the wee hours is cherished, but hourly wake ups after 4.00 am can be rather ….. torturous.

So give me a gazillion breaths of crisp, clean air and I’m more or less sorted.

Recently, when my lazy bones kicked in, I began wondering what we could really  accomplish by going again to the same old, same old park.

After all, we’d played basketball, football, frisbee, ran the walking circuit, pulled monkey stunts on the exercise beams, swung on the swings, bounced on the see-saw, played hide and seek, butt-scooted on the grass (Piglet only) and zipped down the slides.

And then, over the past 2 months – call it the Gift of Childhood – Lamb taught me that we can do so much more than the regular, “normal” activities that an Old Foggy Person like me thinks can happen at a park.

We threw sticks and laughed at who could throw furthest.

We dug in the mud and looked for tadpoles.  (Okay, he dug. I sat on the swing with Piglet and ate sandwiches. I even brought my tea along a few times.)

We played “Fireman”.  (A game of make believe. Lamb loves that he gets to holler, “Fire! Fire!” at the top of his lungs and climbs up a tall pole to look for victims.  Last time we played, we got to the scene too late and hundreds died.  Utterly tragic.)

We counted in English and Malay how many balls we could shoot past the goal post.

We collected berries and leaves that had dropped from a tree and came home to assemble a collage.

We looked at birds collecting twigs and crept to see where they might be building a nest.

We sat on the swings, watching the garbage truck go past, and talked about waste disposal.  (By the way, did you know 50 animals die daily because of irresponsible human litter one way or another?)

We stopped to smell flowers, dodged bees, and plucked some wild things to surprise Puppy on her birthday.  (She was pleased!)

Being outdoors with a child and discovering newness in everything again is nothing short of marvelous.

There have been a few unpleasantries like knee scrapes, tears over squashed berries, wails about not wanting to leave, muddied shoes and clothes.

But I wouldn’t miss our daily dose of morning goodness.  No siree.  A good burst of fresh air helps puts life in perspective.

(And makes scrubbing that darn toilet a wee bit easier.)


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