As you can tell from previous blogs, hiking ranks high on our list of activities. All three of the children love to hike and explore in the woods. Luckily, we also have many friends who enjoy the same activity and are up for a challenge.
I have to smile when I think about our journey with hiking. I hiked a little bit in college but nothing much. Once had children, I don’t think I hiked at all. We played outside ALOT but did not venture into the woods much. Enter homeschooling-we began homeschooling in about the third month of my oldest child’s third grade year. At the time, my friend also had begun homeschooling. In her homeschooling research, she learned about the importance of children doing nature study. She drug me out on a hike and had the children sit in silence for a few minutes. That hike alone changed our lives forever.
My children fell in love with what they experienced, and I fell in love with their excitement and enthusiasm. We now hike once a week. The kids do not need formal nature study. They study their natural world independently. Sawyer knows which squirrels live in the nest in the tree outside her window. Sims notices how the trails are changing with the seasons. Parks keeps an eye on various areas of the yard and updates us on changes. All three children are amazingly in tune with the natural world. They take notice of the changing winds and weather. They sit with nature because nature is where they feel the most at peace.
We are now starting on the next step to hiking. We went on our first backpacking trip this week. It was short in time and length. We learned. We experienced, and we are ready to go again. If you would have told me ten years ago that I would some day be an outdoor enthusiast, I would have laughed. My children have taught me so much and I am so glad that we now all share the passion of hiking!