26 Aug 2011

5 or 6 hours outside

I make a point, says a judicious mother, of sending my children out, weather permitting, for an hour in the winter, and two hours a day in the summer months.

That is well; but it is not enough. In the first place, do not send them; if it is anyway possible, take them; for, although the children should be left much to themselves, there is a great deal to be done and a great deal to be prevented during these long hours in the open air. And long hours they should be; not two, but four, five, or six hours they should have on every tolerably fine day, from April till October.

Impossible! says an overwrought mother who sees her way to no more for her children than a daily hour or so on the pavements of the neighbouring London squares.

Let me repeat, that I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them. A journey of twenty minutes by rail or omnibus, and a luncheon basket, will make a day in the country possible to most town dwellers; and if one day, why not many, even every suitable day?

Charlotte Mason Home Education pp 43-44
Five or six hours of every day outside. Well...

It's simple to achieve Miss Mason's impossible ideal on a beautiful day like today. It's the other 364 days a year that I struggle a bit. Particularly those days where the murcury reaches as high as 48°C or as low as 8°C.

What about you? Do you aim to get outside as long each day with your kidlets as Charlotte Mason recommends?

PS Did you see my lovely new toy?


  1. So, how do you like your little toy? Do tell!

    When my older kids were little we definitely met Miss Mason's quota. We were outside for entire days several days a week at least. Now that I such varied ages and levels of study it's a lot harder. I love it when I hop on a lovely blog and get reminded of how good it is for the kids to do this more often... well, regularly, actually. My kids and I can brave the cold,and to be honest it doesn't really get miserably cold here for much of the winter. I actually struggle more with getting out in warm weather. I can't stand the heat, and some of my kids got that gene as well.

    We are so thankful for our cabin, because they are outside all the time there. We also recently got everyone's bicycles in good working order, and have been biking more - at least we can feel a breeze that way, rather than sitting around in the muggy heat!

    I do want to get the younger two, in particular, out more. That means I have to get myself out more, because they won't stay out for very long if I don't go with. Thanks for the reminder! Lovely photos!!

  2. Your outdoor schoolroom looks lovely! :)

    We've enjoyed copious amounts of outdoor time this week, and especially today.
    DD's set up a tent in the backyard and is planning on sleeping there with Dad tonight.

  3. awww, beautiful pictures! We have read quite a few of our read alouds out of doors this week basking in the delicious sunshin...just awesome! Yes, we try to get outside as much as we can! xxx

  4. When I'm stuck in am office all day I wish I could be outside on a blanket lying ln the green lawn with a good book! But, no I'm inside.

    From one iPad to another iPad!!!!

  5. Ah, no. Not even close.

    We make an effort to get out, but not as much as we could, I suppose. And I think that our weather is very different than that of England. The weather in Minnesota would be considered "very bad" most of the time. Our winter temperatures hardly ever get above freezing and our summers are very, very hot and humid. We still go out, but not for the long stretches that Miss Mason recommends.

    Still, I find her ideals to be very motivating and though I lack a cook, maid, or nurse we make many trips into the out of doors when we can.

  6. That was a habit I never had to instill!! Keeping them INDOORS was the problem. I'm reading a book by Queen Elizabeth's cousin who was raised with Miss Mason's outdoor mindset. Even at 86 she feels guilty if she's inside!!! I need more of that spirit--I tend to hide inside and read!

  7. That is a very glamourous shot of you - really, though, that whole post just to introduce us to your new plaything?! Wait...does being outside with one of those even count? : ) I have been wondering how they are for writing - reviews are mixed and I love your reviews the most so I'll wait to hear from you before purchasing.

    No problem getting all that outside time here. It's dragging myself inside to get to the laundry that is so miserable. I suppose I must confess that our seasons are mild in comparison to where I grew up.

    A bit bummed that there was no shot inside the picnic basket.

  8. 5 - 6 mins is about all I can tolerate. LOL Sad, I know. I'm just not the outdoor type.

    Does going to the shops count?

    I do let the children out though - and the boys have been teaching the girls how to climb a tree.

  9. Oh, I love being outside, but somehow I end up inside a lot. That's why I love gardening; it gives me something to do outside.

    And some of my children are the outside type, some the inside type.

    I've just discovered you via AO/HEO ringsurf; what caught my eye is that you're reformed too. :) Glad to meet you!

    Annie Kate
    PS I'm your latest follower

  10. In the hot months we do very very poorly. We come closer in the fall, winter and early spring.
    I'm having such a grumpy summer because of the impossibility to be anywhere longer than 15 minutes and not risk your health.
    But we do what we can. Yesterday we went to Galveston and like you, we had a great day when we met the good outdoors expectations.


  11. When it's stinking hot, when there are nasty mozzies about (encephalitis, anyone?), that's when I find it especially hard to be out.
    With the kiddies so young they love to be out in any weather. I try to remember my hubby's catch-cry: "there's no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate clothing!".

  12. We're enjoying the out of doors much more now that the weather is warming up. your new toy looks lovely, a review would be much appreciated :)


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