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Welcome to the World of Home Education and Learning Without School!

We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!

What is Outdoor Education?

by Anabel Matchan, Apr 2013

Outdoor education usually refers to  learning that takes place in the outdoors . Structured Outdoor education programs involve residential or journey -based experiences in which students participate in a variety of adventurous challenges in the form of outdoor activities such as hiking , climbing , canoeing , ropes courses and group games .

So yesterday we decided to take the classroom outdoors with a trip to the river.

It was an awesome afternoon and possibly our last nice, warm day. We took the blow up boat, some boogie boards and some friends. Although the water was a little on the chilly side, the children braved the cool waters.

So how would you write up an afternoon in the sun, frolicking in the fresh water for your report?

First of all you need to know how the NSW Board of Studies views Outdoor Education.

"This domain is unique in having the potential to impact on the physical, social, emotional and mental health of students. It promotes the potential for lifelong participation in physical activity through the development of motor skills and movement competence, health-related physical fitness and sport education.

Engaging in physical activity, games, sport and outdoor recreation contributes to a sense of community and social connectedness. These are vital components of improved wellbeing.

Students' involvement in physical activity can take many forms, ranging from individual, non-competitive activity through to competitive team games. Emphasis is placed on combining motor skills and tactical knowledge to improve individual and team performance. Students progress from the development of basic motor skills to the performance of complex movement patterns that form part of team games. They learn how developing physical capacity in areas such as strength, flexibility and endurance is related to both fitness and physical performance."

Foundation to Level 4 - Laying the foundations

"Learning in Health and Physical Education lays the foundations for the development of fundamental or basic motor skills that will assist students to participate in physical activity and in a healthy and active lifestyle.

During this stage, students begin to develop basic motor skills and movement patterns, including locomotor and manipulative skills, in a range of movement environments (indoor, outdoor and aquatic). . Teachers should aim to teach for skill mastery rather than just skill awareness. This requires direct teaching of the components of basic motor skills.

At the beginning of this stage, students develop basic motor skills such as running, hopping, jumping, skipping, catching, throwing, kicking, rolling, balancing, twisting and turning. Later they develop the capacity to link these skills into more complex and coordinated movement sequences.. Students will also begin to use basic tactics in appropriately modified games and sport-specific situations, and apply their increasing knowledge of rules to keep games and activities safe.

Through participation in physical activity, students develop their movement vocabulary, including motor terms and ways of describing the physical responses of their bodies to movement and feelings associated with participation in physical activity..As students grow and develop, they become more aware of the broader world - of others' views and perspectives, how people differ, and the physical and social environments in which they live, learn and play. They become more skilled at observing what makes familiar environments safe or unsafe and healthy or unhealthy. Their increasing capacity to question allows them to consider how they would respond to different scenarios where their health or safety could be threatened.(AUSVels. 2013) For a copy of the full domain descriptions visit: http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/

So what does this all mean?

How does that translate to English.

My fellow homeschooling mum, Hilary and I sat on the bank and reeled off some points that essentially cover this area, in mumspeak:

  • collaboration
  • leadership
  • following directions
  • respect
  • responsibility
  • awareness
  • co-ordination
  • use of equipment
  • care of equipment
  • perserverance
  • participation
  • multi-age group- understanding different abilities and modifying communication and skills set
  • problem solving
  • communication
  • water safety
  • balance
  • weight distribution
  • trial and error

All of these skills were trialled, experimented with, analysed and evaluated all in an afternoon activity, plus many more that I havent ventured into, simply by taking an inflatable boat, some boogie boards and a couple of friends down to the river.

What did you do today?

Home educating mum Anabel Matchan is a certified registered primary teacher, currently completing a Diploma in Montessori. She's passionate about Montessori education and loves working with children. Through Homeschool Connections she shares the years of classroom experience, activities, solutions, strategies, teacher talk and edubabble that rattles around in her head.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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