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Opinion | Education in America: Schools are for connecting with nature

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For the first five years of my oldest daughter’s life, I watched her dance in clovers, climb trees, jump puddles, and play all day. As she stood at the entrance to the kindergarten, I imagined her stuck in her desk, disconnected from the wild, and my stomach sank. We believe it is meant to nurture our innate talents and help us understand where our inevitably diverse talents fit into the whole. Despite the heroic efforts of many thoughtful and caring teachers, public schools mostly prepare their children to be obedient workers, turning millions of unconventional students into make it fail.

So I developed a method called Wild Schooling. It’s a form of homeschooling that celebrates an interconnected and relational view of nature, which he currently practices with his two daughters and her two nieces on a farm near Cedar Springs, Michigan. . People approach education this way.Many cultures centered around the globe, such as our region’s Anisinabe and Richard Lube, author of The Last Child of the Forest,” These are just some of the important impacts.

Wild Schooling looks different for each family. If you browse his Facebook group, which I started 6 years before him, it now has 90,000 members. It is practiced by single parents and city dwellers all over the world. While it is a privilege to do any form of homeschooling, wildschooling does not require a rural setting or a large backyard.

Our day begins with getting outside and soaking up the sun. Then check your lunar cycle and where you are in the solar calendar. This will help you stay grounded and know where you are in the big picture. As the days grow longer, so does our knowledge. As the light begins to fade after the summer solstice, we begin reviewing our lessons.

Sometimes, some people think that wild schooling means no lessons, or that it means letting kids run aimlessly through the woods. My daughters usually run around for about 2 hours after lunch, but in the morning they do the standard math curriculum and practice music. Violin is taught by a 13-year-old homeschooler.

After math and music, I do farm chores like collecting eggs and harvesting a constant supply of zucchini from the garden. We recently had to build a new chicken coop. This turned out to be a lesson in how to use graph paper to sketch something out. When you start approaching your learning in this way, you realize that life is a curriculum. For example, if you need to write a letter to someone, learn how to write a letter. If a frog is singing, learn about frogs.

When the children started Wild Schooling, I noticed a change in how I felt about myself. They begin to see themselves as individuals — fundamentally themselves and integral to the whole. They understand that nature is biased, that nature has particularities. It’s a very different situation than sitting in a classroom and comparing yourself to other humans.

Designing schools around nature may seem unusual at first, but research has proven its benefits. Interestingly, although the mechanisms are not fully understood, some researchers hypothesize that relevance, or connection with nature, may be a basic human need. doing.

At the same time, we are just beginning to understand the downsides of traditional schooling. were found to perform worse in third grade than those who did not. As reported by NPR, by the end of sixth grade, students who progressed to Pre-K “have lower test scores, are more likely to receive special There was a high chance of getting caught.”

What should I do? According to one of her principal investigators, her Dale Farran, formal preschoolers who wait in line to go to the bathroom or walk quietly down a hallway may have “allergic reactions” to control. ” may have developed. Discuss discipline problems seen later in life. In contrast, Farang noted that wealthy families tended to opt for play-based preschool programs that emphasized creativity, exercise and nature.

In a healthy society, all children should have access to this kind of education. Seeing how active children are, it breaks my heart to think how much they could move if they were in school. Especially my 10 year old daughter loves to sing. She sings in the morning, sings in the afternoon, sings in the evening. She loves memorizing songs and she has started writing songs. it is voluntary. It makes her who she is. If she had been at school, she would have had to consciously repress this part of herself.

When my husband and I purchased the farm, we intended to heal the land by applying regenerative farming principles. Every time I go out to my favorite tree, I realize that the land heals us more than it heals us.My daughters can learn math, they can learn the violin. But there is nothing more important than taking responsibility for your life and feeling like you are part of something bigger than yourself.

Nicolette Sowder is the creator of Wildschooling.

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