I just finished an amazing book called How to Raise A Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love With Nature by Scott D. Sampson.
Initially, I got interested in the concept of getting the kids outside more by noticing how a friend and fellow homeschool mom was never deterred by the weather when it came to outdoor activities. The thought of making sure all four of my littles are equipped with rain and/or cold weather gear on a daily basis exhausts me. (And let’s not even talk about the fact that it takes an extra five minutes every day just for them to find a matching pair of shoes.) But, I have always felt a little guilty that my kids are more likely to spend an entire day in front of a TV or computer screen than they are even an hour outside.
When I was a kid, it wasn’t really an issue like it is for my kids. We didn’t have the internet until I was in high school and of the maybe 30 channels on TV, none provided 24-hour kid-targeted programming seven days a week. It was just normal to play outside, and I think I can attribute my love for nature and all things conservation to my experiences as a wild child. I suppose I just figured that wanting to play outside came naturally to all kids. Apparently, not.
In an effort to understand why and how this super woman of a mom got her two teenaged sons outside so easily, I started looking for books on the subject on Amazon. Enter: How to Raise a Wild Child. The title alone was enough to hook me and it immediately went on my wish list.
I was not disappointed when I started this book, though it took me awhile to read it. (There was just so much to take in!) Sampson does a great job of presenting facts alongside personal experiences and often I put the book down simply to remember my own memories of being in nature. At other times I just began daydreaming about what could be.
Every chapter includes facts, personal memories, tips, ideas, and activities. The best part? He gives examples for all age groups. Sampson is also sure to include not only scholarly references, but suggests books, organizations, programs, and websites as resources for the reader. I did not care for the epilogue, but it was a bit of fictional writing that doesn’t take away from the rest of the book.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book has forever changed my outlook on and approach to homeschooling. It’s been a bit more difficult getting the older two to want to do their lessons outside, but play outside? Try getting them back in!
And it’s not just the idea of getting your kiddos to exercise more, get fresh air, and pry their pliable little minds away from whatever the hell a Jojo Siwa is. This book stresses how important the relationship between children and nature is to overall environmental interest. No matter which side of the spectrum you’re on in the climate change debate, all children have a stake in the future of our planet’s health, and this book argues that in order for stewardship to happen (and let’s not pretend here, there are some really toxic places on our planet that could use a bit of our attention), children must first form a connection with nature in order to care about it.
I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone looking to become a parent, homeschooler, teacher, or activist. It’s just the first in a few books on the subject I plan on tackling. Subscribe to Fully and Well to get updates about more books like this one and please, please, please suggest your favorite parenting/teaching books below! I’m always hungry for great books to review!