Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
If there's one thing this past year has taught us about homeschooling, it is that there are many, many ways to teach - and learn. Using outdoor subscription boxes for homeschooling is a fun way to encourage all sorts of learning both indoors and out.
Here are some of the ways we use our Think Outside Boxes for homeschooling with my 10-year-old and seven-year-old.
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Outdoor Boxes Subscriptions and Homeschooling
When we first started receiving our Think Outside Boxes back in 2019, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. I knew that this was a new monthly subscription box service to encourage families with children ages 7 and up to spend time together outdoors.
As a family living, working, homesteading and homeschooling off the grid, this outdoor subscription box service sounded pretty cool. We could check out the gear in each monthly themed box, have some fun, and maybe learn a few things.
I was looking forward to receiving our initiation boxes, and boy, were we in for a treat!
Although Think Outside Boxes wasn't created specifically for homeschoolers I soon discovered that each month's box offered a very rich assortment of gear, activities, and ideas that captivated the kids.
In fact, two years later, we are re-visiting our Think Outside Boxes to try some of the activities we didn't get to originally. Here are some of the ways we use these outdoor subscription boxes.
Use The Gear Outdoors
So this is the most obvious. Each month, we received a new box with a different theme. Most of the gear lends itself to outdoor use, and works well with our forest schooling-style educational activities.
For example, the shelter box (for February) included an emergency shelter kit that the girls couldn't wait to try outside. Mind you, it was -40C (also -40F) the day it arrived! So we had to wait on that one.
Every time a new box arrived, the girls were eager to open them. And they were just as eager to head outdoors and try out their new gear.
Work Through the Activity Guides
Like most homeschooling moms, I'm busy. And one of the things I most appreciate as a homeschooling mother are the comprehensive activity guides and calendars contained in each Think Outside Box.
We use these calendars and activity guides to pick and choose our month's activities. These supplement our main homeschool curriculum. We really enjoy the hands-on aspect of these outdoor subscription boxes for kids.
Do Deep Dives into Certain Subjects
It's only natural that some boxes appeal more to some kids than others. For example, my younger daughter was fascinated with the wildlife box. My older girls loved the idea of creating an outdoor shelter - even though it was far too cold to do so in our area when the box arrived.
Instead, we went online and found several books about children living on their own in the woods (My Side of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George was a perennial favourite with my big kids and my littles.)
Use the boxes that most grab your children's attention as inspiration for studies in other subjects.
These could include
- Geography - shelter, animals, water, weather, nature in other parts of the world
- History - natural history in your area
- Science - so much here - biology, ecology, chemistry and physics options to explore in literally each of the outdoor subscription boxes we received
- Literature - look for poetry, historical fiction or current fiction based on this month's theme, and include copywork from these books
- Drama/Creative Play - the girls often use the items in their boxes and their imagination to spend hours outdoors pretending they're on a wilderness adventure
Create Your Own Unit Studies or Activities
My youngest child is fascinated by wild animals. So she spent hours with the wildlife box. And she wanted more.
We watched Planet Earth videos through the dark winter evenings (when the generator was on.)
She made play-dough wolves, foxes, and bears. She was so interested in animals that I created three new printable packs to encourage her writing, math, research and logic skills:
I just finished this Hibernating Animals Activity Printables Pack (grab it free down at the bottom of this post ⬇️⬇️. And I'm also working on a Salmon/Fishing Unit study right now.
You could easily do the same and create unit studies for your students! (Or just message me on Instagram - I always have new outdoor living products and free resources in the works.)
Child-Led Learning for Elementary Students
When you use outdoor subscription boxes for homeschooling older students, allow them to direct their learning experience. This could mean non-traditional education, such as a bushcraft skills workshop, canoe-making, animal tracking, or foraging for your tween or teenage homeschoolers.
Pay close attention to the topics/monthly boxes that appeal to your son or daughter. Then quietly search out local or online opportunities to learn more.
My ten-year-old is excited with the number of Outschool nature and animal classes, for example. (Outschool is an online learning platform. The girls have taken classes on chicken care, history, and French through Outschool and just love it!)
Think Outside Boxes Homeschooling Lesson Plans
One often-overlooked tool available through Think Outside Boxes is their detailed Homeschool Lesson Plans. You'll find them right on the website.
These outdoor subscription boxes for homeschooling parents and non-homeschoolers alike are a wonderful resource because they suggest even more enrichment and educational activities for each themed box.
That makes it easy to return to the boxes each year as your children mature and are ready for more challenging tasks and lessons.
Other Think Outside Boxes Reviews
Interested in learning more about Think Outside Boxes for your family? Here is a highlight list of reviews I wrote for some of the girls' favourite boxes: