Walking the Thames Path
At the start of the year I decided to make more of an effort to get the children outside. I know, Charlotte Mason says it should be ‘four, five, or six hours, on every tolerably fine day, from April till October.’ I am totally with her. But my children hate to leave the house. Once the front door slams behind them they love it and can’t be persuaded back home, but the act of actually leaving the house is apparently very painful to them, and, consequently, to me. Some days—lots of days—I just don’t have the fight in me.
However, I know we are all happier when we get out and about. So this year I resolved that we will walk the Thames Path, all 185 miles of it. I say ‘this year’—I’m not expecting to finish it this year. At our current pace the Thames might have dried up before we finish it, but we have started. And it is great! I printed off some maps, and after each leg we mark what we have done and I write a short ‘log’ of our progress. My hope is that the children will want to contribute to this log too.
It brings us great joy and also great learning opportunities. On our first leg we covered 0.3 miles (not a typo). We were outside for several hours even though it was February. Here’s what we saw and talked about:
Abseiling window cleaners
A lesser black-backed gull or possibly a herring gull—next time we know to look at the feet
Fellow homeschoolers will know that any of these items can be a starting point for an in-depth and wide ranging discussion!
Of the traditional school subjects we have so far covered geography, history, English, science and maths on these walks and they are proving a great enticement for leaving the house (though not, I must be honest, a foolproof guarantee).
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