Outdoor Education in Our Homeschool

One activity we added this year is a weekly hike.  Mainly we have hiked at Latta Plantation because the kids truly LOVE hiking there.  The staff is incredible and very knowledgeable.  The nature center offers numerous classes for homeschoolers and the general public.  I highly recommend them for anyone in the area (however, realize that you are going to a nature center where you will be outside…in the weather…and most likely hiking).  We have taken classes at Latta Plantation Nature Center ever since we began homeschooling.

We all enjoy hiking and the outdoors, but Sims has fallen in love with it.  I really get to see him flourish when we are out hiking.  Last week, we hiked the prairie portion of Latta Plantation.  He and Sawyer taught me about passion fruit and what the flowers look like (evidently, I have been taking pictures of passion fruit flowers for years and never knew it).  They taught me the history of a well that passed along the way (The land that the nature center is on used to belong to one of the plantations in Mecklenburg County.  There is ALOT of history here.)

Today, they amazed me again.  Sims went on a hike yesterday with his hiking group.  They went off of the trail exploring Gar Creek.  Of course, he dropped a pants’ leg-you know the awesome pants that allow you go from pants to shorts while hiking.  Terrific invention unless you are an 11 year old kid who is more interested in creek stomping than keeping up with your stuff.  He realized this morning that one leg was missing; however, he had a pretty good idea of where it was.  Luckily, it was another hiking day at Latta and we were the only takers.  This gave us the opportunity to go back to look for his pant leg.  He was the only one of us to go to Gar Creek yesterday so we were dependent on him to get us there, and he was successful.  Not only did he get us to the creek, but he found his pant leg!  A successful trip.

I know many people don’t understand how we use hiking for school but the past two weeks have reassured my choice to have this in our educational plan.  The staff at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve teaches my kids history, science, cartography, orienteering, ecology and so much more.  All of this without books and without complaints.  Not only do they learn the information but they can apply it and teach it.

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