Nature Hike: An Unschooling Day With Sam


Hi lovely community! We are starting a new weekly post series; peeking into the lives of our writers. We always enjoy seeing glimpses of other mamas living their day-to-day, so we want to share what our life is like without a bunch of bells and whistles. Sure, some posts and activities may be more extravagant than other days, but we want to show real life doing real things. Some days, like this one, will be a hike on a gorgeous trail. But some days it may be rainy days, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, and we may watch tv half (cough..all) the day and not set foot outside.

My son has been into photography a lot lately. Makes sense, as I’m a photographer. He loves learning about composition, colors, and editing. He’s only 5.5 years old.

We went on a hike on a gorgeous trail in a massive park at the center of our city. Hikes can be chaos for us. A 2 year old that wants to be a mountaineer. And a mama having a panic attack worrying about said mountaineer breaking her neck. At this stage in life, we choose safer trails. There are still smaller inclinea and hazards, but the worry of falling off a cliff is eliminated.

We’ve also learned that hikes with kids are 100% about the journey. For them, each step they take is their destination. So throwing out my own expectations always makes the journey more enjoyable.

We love to pick hikes with some form of water source. They played in this mostly dried up riverbed for the majority of the hour long hike. We probably only went about a quarter of a mile in, played and played, then headed back out.

Learning always comes naturally when you live life. Especially when you are doing something that interests the learner. We talked and learned about moss, water striders, and surface tension. We counted rocks, skipped rocks, and stacked rocks. We talked about trail systems, downed trees, and our role in taking care of the Earth. We talked about these things, specifically, because my son asked about them. Our goal on hikes is to have fun, get into nature, and be together. I don’t go into adventures with the idea that I can teach them anything. As Albert Einstein said:

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

We love to bring a notebook with us that is small enough to fit in a pack or pocket so we can write down any questions that we want to remember for later. Sometimes we look up the answer right there on our phone if we have service (thank you, modern technology!). Other times we have to wait until later to look up the information. It’s perfectly OK to say, “I don’t know the answer. Let’s look it up.” By doing this we are learning something new and also teaching our children how to find answers to questions.

What are some of your favorite moments from hiking with your kids?

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