Dear Cottonwood Families,

As the vibrant blooms of spring emerge, we’re thrilled to introduce the Cottonwood Families Spring Outdoor Challenge – a personalized homeschool adventure designed not only for educational exploration, but also to nurture your family’s overall well-being. Inspired by the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge, this initiative invites our wonderful families to spend 100 hours homeschooling outdoors between now and the end of the school year.

Education Meets Exploration

Spring is not only a time for nature to awaken, but also an opportune moment to infuse our homeschooling experience with the wonders of the great outdoors. The Cottonwood Families Spring Outdoor Challenge integrates education seamlessly with exploration, creating a holistic learning environment for your children.

What Qualifies as Outdoor Time?

Every moment spent outdoors contributes to the challenge. Whether engaged in nature-based science experiments, conducting art sessions amidst the beauty of a local park, or practicing mathematics while measuring garden growth – these activities all qualify as valuable outdoor time. Additionally, you can join us at our weekly park days, and many of our upcoming field trips are also outside. If you are engaging in play or learning outside, it counts!

Challenge Details

Starting today, set the goal of accumulating 100 hours of outdoor homeschooling time. Use the challenge sheet to document your educational adventures. Bring your completed challenge sheet with you to the Curriculum showcase or Field Day to collect a prize! There is no shortage of ideas and inspiration for outdoor learning. You can scan our Outdoor Challenge Pinterest board for ideas or consider incorporating the following elements into your outdoor sessions:

  • Nature Journaling: Encourage your learners to observe and document the changing season, sketching plants, insects, or any interesting discoveries.
  • Literature Al Fresco: Take your read-aloud sessions outdoors. Find a cozy spot and explore literature that aligns with the spring theme or the subjects your children are currently studying.
  • Math in Nature: Transform the outdoors into a math classroom. Measure the height of plants, calculate the angles of sunlight, or even explore geometry with outdoor shapes.
  • History in the Open Air: Bring history to life by studying historical events in a natural setting. Imagine how different landscapes may have looked during different periods.
  • Artistic Exploration: Engage in art projects inspired by nature. Create collages using leaves, paint scenes from your outdoor adventures, or craft nature-inspired poetry.

Benefits of Educational Outdoor Time

  • Stimulates curiosity and critical thinking
  • Integrates real-world experiences into academic learning
  • Enhances understanding of scientific concepts through direct observation
  • Fosters a love for literature and history in an immersive setting
  • Cultivates a well-rounded education that extends beyond textbooks

We are so excited to witness your homeschooling adventures and look forward to celebrating your accomplishment at the Curriculum Showcase or Field Day. Prepare to step outside, learn, and prioritize your family’s overall well-being this season!


Kara Parkins