S5 E19 | 3 Simple Tips to Get Your Family Outside (Brandy Gleason) | REPLAY
Brandy Gleason is a mother to eight and grandmother to three. She has been homeschooling for 22 years and offers some advice on how to enjoy the outdoors with your kids. So often, you can't get them outside. Why is that? Brandy shares her top three tips to get your family outside: priority, preparation, planning.
Julie H. Ross believes that every child needs a feast of living ideas to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. As a former school teacher, curriculum coordinator, and assistant director of a homeschool academy, Julie has worked with hundreds of students and parents over the past 20 years. She has also been homeschooling her own five children for over a decade. Julie developed the Charlotte Mason curriculum, A Gentle Feast, to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to provide a rich and abundant educational feast full of books, beauty, and Biblical truth. Julie lives in South Carolina. When she’s not busy homeschooling, reading children’s books, hiking, or writing curriculum, you can find her taking a nap.
Julie Ross | Instagram
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My name is Brandy Gleason and I have been an eclectic Charlotte Mason mom for over 22 years. And I write the blog Gleason Family Adventure, where I chronicle our outdoor adventures.
Today I'm going to share with you three simple tips to help you get your family outside. I was thinking about the past the other day, and how I would not get outside with the kids because I was burdened down with everything. There was no time for getting outside. I was running here and there, cleaning this and that, and generally overwhelmed. What mom of eight wouldn't be, right?
Well, here I am planning a hiking adventure and trying to get more fit so that we don't die from exhaustion while hiking the Rocky Mountain National Park. What has changed? Nothing. I still feel as busy as ever, even with three adult children living on their own. But what has changed is my thinking.
The kids growing in a blink of an eye may have something to do with it. I realized that life is too short to wait until I have time. Quite honestly, I'll never have time. One has to carve out the time to do the things that they love.
Here are my top tips on helping you get your family outside. Priority, preparation, and planning.
Priority. Schedule the time. If time is impeding you from getting outside, make sure to schedule a time. I realized quickly that to be successful in getting the children outside, I had to set aside the time to do it in our schedule. Here's a pro tip. Check the weather at the beginning of the week to see the best time to put your outdoor time in.
But what if the weather turns? Yesterday, our scheduled hike got canceled because of the rain. So, we took our time to the local YMCA. Life's not over if weather stops you. You can head to an inside location to get it done. Keep the scheduled time slot active. Remember, if you don't put it on the calendar, it probably won't happen.
Preparation. Prepare in advance. If you're like me, half the battle of getting out the door is making sure the kids have all the gear they need. Have you ever been down the road and one of the kids tells you they don't have any shoes on? It's not fun. Ask me how I know.
Some basic gear you're going to need are hiking shoes or good running shoes, coats or jackets, hiking socks, water bottles, snacks, and day packs. In cold weather, you're gonna need gloves, hats, and a base layer. So let's do some simple math for my family. Seven sets of everything. That's 77 individual items just for us to go out on one hike. Thinking about that and trying to gather it all has me wanting to give up before I even start.
The solution I came up with was that I keep all the hiking gear in one location. Washed and ready to go. Each child is responsible to return the hiking item to me after the hike. And I have a location where I keep everything matched and ready. What used to take hours to do now just takes minutes because it's all together. It makes my blood pressure lower and the hiking more enjoyable.
For families with infants or toddlers, get a hiking backpack. Trust me. You will want to get a good one. When our kids were little, we purchased one from REI. It was well worth the money. Why? First of all, it was so comfortable. Second, it had adjustments everywhere and padding just where you needed it. Lastly, it had all the little compartments that I needed to store snacks, diapers, wipes, and everything else.
Planning. Know before you go. Do some research and planning before you go on an outdoor activity. Remember, you're trying to get your family to enjoy the outdoors. Poor planning can lead to outside time disasters. Take local hikes. These are city, metro, and county parks. Check out your nearest park to get started. These are usually city or metro parks. They are smaller and easy to navigate. Perfect places to start for an outside newbie.
For example, where we live, the Columbus Metro Parks have some amazing outdoor gems just waiting for the family to use. They even have winter hike schedules and they're a great way to meet other families getting outside. Sometimes they even will have warm drinks or more after a winter hike. It's truly a great experience.
State parks. Once you've gotten comfortable with your local parks, you may want to branch out to your state parks. You can check your state parks out online and see which one might be right for your family. We found out that some state parks have lodges, cabins, and restaurants, where we can relax and regroup after a day hike. And there's also nothing like taking a weekend getaway to a rustic place in the woods to enjoy nature with the family.
National Parks. We love our National Parks. There are many locations throughout the United States. Grab your computer and a cup of coffee when you sit down to start your planning because the National Park website will sidetrack you for hours. Admittedly, the website isn't a hundred percent user-friendly, but as you learn to navigate it, you will find a tremendous amount of information. There are videos, articles, live webcams and information about every park.
I personally have used the National Park educational materials to teach my children history and science. We have a bucket list of locations we want to go. Let your kids help pick the destination and plan your next family outing. I have a link on our website that has different hikes that you can pick from.
Lastly, don't give up. What if you keep trying and you keep failing? It's okay! What if the kids complain and whine? They will! Keep going outside. Learn to engage them in the outdoors. Do they like snakes? Have them count how many they see. Do you love birds? Help them to identify them and keep track. Take breaks on the trail. Have a snack and listen to the sounds of nature. You've got children with you, so don't try to race through your outside time. You'll be miserable and so will they. What if, "x, y, and z" happens? Well, yes, there's lots of those. Send me your questions and I will share with you what's worked for us.
What if you've skipped your outside time for a while? How do you get back to it? Only you know you've been unable to keep this time slot, so just reschedule your hike or your outdoor activity at the earliest convenience and then go for it.
Hopefully, these tips to help get your family outdoors have been helpful to you. We hope that as you begin experiencing the great outdoors, you'll continue to feel that draw to get out and enjoy God's great creation. Happy outdoor adventures from Brandy Gleason! I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, feel free to message me on our website at gleasonfamilyadventure.com or you can also tag me on Instagram at gleasonfamilyadventure and I will be happy to share with you any information that you are looking for.
God bless you guys and have a wonderful day.
Thank you for joining us today on the Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I would love to meet you in 2020. I will be at all seven Great Homeschool Conventions speaking as part of their Charlotte Mason track. Go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com to find one near you.
If you want more information on what was shared in today's podcast, go to homeschooling.mom for the show notes. Also, don't forget to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or Google Play so you never miss an episode.
Until next time.
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