Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nature Deficit

I have six boy Natives'.  Not including The SM.  When I am out working in the yard by myself or trying to do things that would be much easier for my boys, I am often asked why I am not making them do it.  I look around and think, "Yeah!  Why aren't they doing it"?  Then reality sets in and I remember.  They don't have time!

By the time these boys get home from school and do their homework, there isn't time!  I tell myself that I have Saturday.  Saturday I'll put them to work and then......... Saturday comes and they are off helping those in need with their projects which is good.  Really good.

The Natives' start heading out the door in the morning for school at 6:45.  The last comes home at 4:40 PM.  Actually, the last comes home at 5:30 PM but that is because he is working after school for a few hours.  Several of them leave when it is dark, and don't return until it is almost dark.  I have concerns with this.

My complaining about not getting help around here on projects is not the root of my concern actually.  My concern is all of the time our kids are having to be indoors!  Education is really important in our house.  Two of The Natives' had parent teacher conferences yesterday.  They are both doing good, they are improving.  I am pleased with this, but...........  this is where my heart yearns to be able to home school The Natives' again.

Mr. M came running to me this morning before school.  "Mom!  Let me have your camera!  The sunrise is amazing"!  He sat in his bedroom window and took this photo.

I really think a large part of our childrens' education is being lost because our children aren't outside enough.  It is a battle I am having right now internally and I am not sure of the outcome.  There has got to be a balance!

Our nation is full of children who are struggling more and more with their weight.  More and more children are being diagnosed with attention deficit.  Children are spending less time out of doors exploring and being in nature.  Less people are hiking, camping, etc.  I really think there is a correlation.

In a perfect world, if I had my way, I would live on acres and acres of land up in the mountains raising and educating The Natives' at home.  I don't live in a perfect world or have my way so I'm going to have to come up with plan B.  I don't know what it is yet, but as a mother, I am not pleased with this part of The Natives' education.  The outdoors/nature side of their education.


  1. i know what you mean. Christopher loves school & i love that he gets to be with his friends, but i wish it was only a half day so that he could be outside & playing more. between homework/reading time & emptying the dishwasher he's swamped

  2. That's exactly how I feel. This week has felt so long and I have been waiting and longing for today (friday) to come. I'm very very glad that we have thanksgiving coming up :D

  3. I just think kids don't have enough free time in general. School is SUCH a long day for little ones; they barely get home, and it's time for chores, and dinner, and bed! I wish they had more time to just BE.

  4. I agree with Korrie. I love Hanna's use of the word "longing." I will tell you that a certain significant man who was in our ward was dressing down his sons for not having done work on a deck that he had ordered them to have done before a certain time, when his wife had to step in and explain to this (idiot father) that his sons had been working hard at school, church, and civic very real duties solid for weeks and didn't have time to do what their father evidently ALSO didn't have time to do. And I agree. Outside is real in so many elemental and very important ways. But we live in houses in just that many ways, and this is not what we were designed to do.

  5. Oh, Rachel - this pulls at my heart and I hate to think about it. I totally agree that kids don't get enough time to explore and create and get dirty outside. Kids need more time to get the creative juices flowing in the outdoors. They crave adventure (I know my kids do) and I often feel like I'm starving them in that way.

  6. I wish you could live your dreams, too. We are having such joyful adventures right now, easing up on academics and spending hours outside each day, that I wish everyone could be enjoying the same thing!

    Here's hoping you're inspired with a solution that brings you all joy!

  7. here here rachel. what do we DO????

  8. Marseille, These children are too young not to be spending more time outdoors! I'd go for your half day idea.

    Hanna, Me too! I wish you didn't have school this week. That you could have the entire week to just 'be' and give thanks.

    Korrie, :D My above comment to Hanna. Yes, just BE! Mr. B spent 8 hours on Saturday doing homework. EIGHT HOURS starring at the computer doing homework instead of spending his Saturday out of doors. It's not because he procrastinated either! That's just the load he had this weekend. I don't like The Native's doing homework on Sunday so that leaves Saturday...... What a way to spend one's weekend!

    Kristen, Growing up I couldn't get enough of being outside. I think of all the things I learned just by observing and listening to things around me. Even if it were for just one hour. One hour a day to be outside no matter the elements.... but they can't because of homework......... and then dinner and then more homework and then bed because they can't stay up late because they've got to hit the grind again the next day. I think we're burning out our kids way before they even hit the working world.

    Gerb, The other day the little ones and I were reading a book. Winnie the Pooh where Pooh tries to be a little black rain cloud. He rolls in the mud and then floats up into the air with his blue balloon. After I read the rolling in the mud part Henny Penny said, "Oh man! We'd get in so much trouble if we did that huh mom"?

    Do you know how many times I had to wash off in the hose before I could come into the house and go straight to the tub growing up? To think my daughter feels if she were to get muddy she'd get in trouble! OH CONTRARE! It made me sad to think she thought that....

    Anaise, I am so glad you are able to do this with your girls. Such a blessing. You're not easing up on academics. :D You're exploring another for of academics and I am most happy that you are able to!

    I'm hoping for some inspiration as well.......

    Misty, I'm working on it. I really am!

  9. Though I don't have children yet, I agree with your thoughts. My husband and I are planning on having a farm and we decided that we want our little ones to spend as much time outdoors as possible exploring nature.

    My husband grew up spending every day outside in the summer and we want our children to have the same experience. They grow up too fast as it is... Here's to hoping you find a solution.

  10. TG, Hold on a sec!!! You're forgetting something here!! When did you get married? :D Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. ha, A little over six weeks ago on October 8th! :) Thank you!!!

  12. I wanted so many things for my kids and then life turned on me. It was the West Nile Virus. My husband left me when my eldest child was four and youngest one was a newborn.

    From then on, I was operating in survival mode. My kids were entirely dependent on me for the basics (no child support ever came) and I had to work. My job required me to be gone long hours. My kids lost both their parents, in a way.

    But there were mini-doses of the things I desired for them. The exciting Christmas vacation to Heber City. The times when I declared a home school day and we hiked into the mountains and played in a stream and wrote in our journals. Three car trips to Mexico to do service work and learn about another culture. They really remember these things. They also sensed how much I sacrificed to make them happen.

    What my kids DID learn was a level of independence which is rare to see in children these days. They learned how to work the bus system since mom couldn't be driving them around. They all had jobs by the time they were fourteen, because finances were tight. They learned how to rely on each other instead of just me and they continue to rely on each other.

    Every tragedy carries a gift in hand. Sometimes it takes years before we can see the gift. Even though I wasn't able to provide the things I wished to give my kids, they got other things and perhaps they were more meaningful. One things for sure, they all came out with some healthy STRENGTH which was a direct result of the challenges we faced as a family.

    I understand your most real concerns. But I do believe you've already given your children a love of nature and it will blossom in a different way than it did in your childhood.

    NOW, my son is an avid backpacker. I only took him backpacking three or four times. That's all it took! Now he's charged and his dear wife has picked up his enthusiasm.

    I'm going on and on. I wish to comfort you, because I understand your frustration at not being able to provide what you SO desire to provide. Your heart is good. Hang in there . . . with faith. Easy to say, tough to do.

  13. Ginger, Thank you for posting this! I needed to hear every word from someone who has been there. Thank you thank you!!!


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