E+E Column: Here Comes The Sun…

…and with it, my favourite kind of parenting – outdoors parenting! Everything seems easier when you’re doing it outside; the kids can be louder, they can be messier, they can run around without breaking things until the cows come home, they even seem to fight less. Sunshine and warmer days are nothing short of miraculous and the season of spending hours in the park, at the beach and in the garden is definitely upon us, at least if my kids are anything to go by. Even our shoddy little surburan garden has been transformed into a playground every evening this week with them only reluctantly coming in from the fading sun when it’s time for dinner or bed. There’s basically a patch of lawn possibly 8 ft by 2 ft, a similar sized bed of gravel, a range of plant pots, two sun loungers, some wooden planks and a water table. It hardly seems inspiring from an adults perspective but somehow, my big two have been managing to eek out hours worth of play from it all this week. And the tiny has been beside himself with happiness, toddling around and soaking himself at the water table three times before midday.

It’s not just the children that are happier though; all the adults and especially parents that I’ve seen this last week or two, seem to be as well. Our winter wasn’t particularly cold but it was very wet and very windy, hampering even the bravest of souls attempting to get outside. Cabin fever was rife and now, finally, we have all been let out, like a bird out of a cage. I even found myself optimistically (and possibly foolishly) organising a beach trip for this weekend with a friend and was pondering the potential for a barbeque. We’ll see how that one pans out…

And with the sun comes a fresh appreciation for the county we live in. With the moors and beaches aplenty within stones throw, I don’t think any of us need encouragment to make the most of our surroundings this coming summer, most families I know are chomping at the bit to get out, have some adventures and make some memories. On top of all this, it’s at this time of year that I especially find myself content with our decision to home educate. All children are different but mine (and a lot that I know) definitely aren’t designed to be inside, sat down, for hours each day. They thrive on being outside, on exploring and learning through seeing, touching and doing. So I will be absolutely jumping on any excuse to take our learning outdoors this summer. Whether that’s just workbooks in the garden or a trip out like today’s visit to Torre Abbey, we’ll be outside every minute we can. (And of course, if the weather now turns and we get another two weeks of gales and driving rain, it is most definitely my fault for jinxing it by writing this and I apologise profusely….)

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Eli embracing the muddier side of nature...

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