Outdoor Challenge

Never be within doors when you can rightly be without ~ Vol. 1 p. 42

If I had to pick only one thing that Charlotte Mason is known for outside of the CM Circles it would be nature study. While it is not nature study that is immediately addressed in the beginning of Home Education being outdoors is.

As a child I would head outside in the morning, return home for lunch, and then again when the street lights came on. Unfortunately, my kids have not followed suit. Instead they wake up, watch TV, do chores, schoolwork, piano practice, and spend their days inside playing with their toys or on the computer. If lucky they may go to the park to play with friends or for a walk in the morning when weather is nice. Sometimes, although rarely, they do go outside to ride their bikes. Their time outdoors may equal up to an hour or so of play time, which doesn’t even come close to the time Miss. Mason considers not enough:

… an hour in the winter, and two hours a day in the summer months. That is well, but it is not enough. ~ Vol. 1 p. 43

However, it is what she says after this that has resonated in my soul.

In the first place do not send them; if it is anyway possible, take them; for although the children should be left much to themselves, here is a great deal to be done and a great deal to be prevented during these long hours in the open air. And long hours they should be; not two, but four, five, or six hours they should have on every tolerably fine day from April to October. ~ Vol. 1 p. 43

“Do not send them” – when I ask other moms about their children and how much time the spend outdoors the responses bring me to the same conclusion.

  1. My children are on electronics way more than the majority of their friends.
  2. Most of the parents do not go outside with their children.

So, a majority of those parents I asked are not trying to implement Charlotte Mason into their homes or using her methods for homeschooling. However, it seems that when I asked this question to fellow CM mom’s they too send their kids out to play without them a lot of the time.

While, there are some differences: the majority of families do not live in an urban setting where we must travel to the countryside to get outdoors, nor do we have a governess or help around the house to make our time more readily available to spend outdoors with out children. Yet, I still want to know is it possible to spend 4 – 6 hours outside with your children daily? What does it look like when you are outside with them for that time? And what I really want to know is if we did spend 4 – 6 hours outdoors every day – how would it change my children?

Yes, I said change. I want to know what changes would take place if we spent that time outdoors instead of playing Legos or Minecraft. It is because of this question and wanting to see how my children will benefit from time outdoors that I have decided to make this part of my Charlotte Mason experiment. I would love to see this as our way of life – just something we do. Only to make that happen I need to start with it as a goal. I also need some ground rules and a way to hold myself accountable. Below you will find the rules and  requirements I have set for our Outdoor Challenge.

Outdoor Challenge

  • Start Date: Monday, May 26, 2018
  • Time outdoors must = 4 – 6 hours
  • Should be outside every day.
  • Time spent outside should be consecutive hours as often as possible.
  • Time outside can should be around the same time each day, but can be moved due to weather/other responsibilities.
  • Mom/Dad must be outside also.
  • Time outside is ‘electronic free’ (Phone is for pictures/emergencies only)
  • Outdoors can be spent: at home, beach, springs, parks and on nature walks/hikes
  • Weekly document the good and bad in the form of a blog post.



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