People keep telling me that fall is coming, and the last few nights here in seattle it certainly has felt that way. In addition to the back to school sales and cooler temperatures there is that special ‘smell’ of fall in the air. I like it even though I wish for a little bit longer Indian Summer! All of this ‘fallness’ has gotten me thinking about how one might combine landscape and school – I do this often, trying to mix things that don’t normally go together.
My thinking today tends toward how families can make the most of this end of summer/beginning of fall and the precious time they have together outside of work and school. My suggestion is family yard clean-up & leaf raking! Now don’t all groan at once 🙂 This group activity has a whole host of benefits if you are willing to indulge me.
1. Its gets you off the couch or chair and outside in the fresh air
2. It uses up physical energy which can also be called exercise – this is good for health and also for encouraging your kids who are now cooped up all day in a classroom to run around and burn off youthful extra energy (far better than simply diagnosing them as ADD or ADHD)
3. It gives all of you something to talk about/complain about/bond over together
4. It helps make your property look awesome
5. It makes your neighbors jealous of your great landscape
6. It enables you to see how your landscape survived the summer and gives you lots of time over the winter to plot and plan what changes you might want to make for the next season (this also gives you plenty of time to work with/hire a landscape designer or contractor to make those dreams come true)
and dorkiest of all – and something I did as a very school-loving high school student…
7. It gives you the chance to practice your homework/study for tests by creating in ‘yard scale’ visual images of what you are studying! For example, if you are studying the movement of the Roman Empire across Europe and Asia, you rake piles of leaves to look like the geography of the region and then you can walk around the ‘map’ and discuss what you need to know for the test. Instead of sitting at a desk trying to memorize the conquest of a city at a place and time, you get to jump in a pile of leaves that denotes that city. Plus, teaching your other family members about it while doing the raking helps insure that you both recall it better come test time and that you actually learn it rather than simply cramming for a test. Plus as a bonus, the leaves get raked…
While a somewhat silly idea, it is a great example of a way in which people can embrace their landscape in a non-traditional way. We spend so much time working to keep our property looking maintained and loved, we should make sure that it loves us back!
If you happen to venture out into you yard and having a scholastic raking adventure, I would love to hear about it. Share your pictures!