Okay children! Time to go outside and play in the garden!
In our house, this means it’s time to turn the hose on, and play in the mud…
There is something so freeing when you see kids released into the backyard, and given free reign over a designated mud patch. Turn the hose on low, and see how they just love mixing the dirt with water, and discovering different textures and thicknesses.
Nothing makes my children more excited than the freedom to make a mess… and the feel of mess. I just love the laughter, squeals and excitement that occurs when they have fun in the mud.
I don’t know how you would write this kind of learning on paper.
I don’t think you can even quantify what exactly they are learning. It’s unlike maths or reading when you can see a direct quantitative result of the teaching.
However, should you need any reason to put it down on paper, here it is.
Textures and Consistencies
Our children are learning how to create models out of mud. This requires you to mix the mud to a certain level. Too runny then you need to add more mud. Too hard and you need to add more water. Then try and put it together with little hands. Sounds simple, but I encourage any adult to try it one day. This stuff isn’t sand or clay. And it’s messy. Fun messy, but messy.
Time at play
The longest uninterrupted play time in the mud has been 5 hours. The attention span on one activity is simply amazing, and the freedom to keep doing it until they are done gives them the confidence to be in charge of their own play.
Toilet training Mr. 2
He’s nappy-less. Use your imagination. He’s in the garden. (In case you are concerned, he has never ever done a No. 2 in the mud patch.)
Our children have to navigate each other’s wishes in order for the fun to continue. In this environment, there are never any tantrums, outbursts or acts of selfishness. All the children are happy to bask in the abundance of freedom and mud. They naturally work together without adult instruction, to get to their goal. I find it freeing and beautifully satisfying. I’m not sure how it works, I am just observing something beautiful.
Learning about Nature
We discover lots of bugs and worms, lots of different types of roots and leaves. Lots of secondary discovery happens after when we try to find what the bugs are. (Today’s discovery was a bug that was shaped like a leaf. I had to convince Miss 3 that we need to respect the bug and not put it in a box where it will most likely die. Another lesson.)
Their love for each other
So this isn’t something that is normally quantified on school report cards. But something extremely important to me is family unity. What I notice when my children share in these moments of happiness, freedom and teamwork, is that they get along better. They hug more, they talk to each other with more respect, they involve each other and they help each other.
There is something so beautiful forming within the muddy puddles of our homeschool, and it has nothing to do with how smart our children are. It has everything to do with the beautiful flower being grown in the hearts of our children, that is the love they have for each other.