Forest Bathing

If you have never heard of forest bathing, you should probably look into it. We humans living in the Western Hemisphere, spending most of our day indoors, in front of a screen for legitimate work, are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. The solution? Spending time in a forest, also known as forest bathing.

Teenage boy on a river rock

My son sunbathing on a river rock, Old Sugarland Trail

While simply hiking will bring you physical benefits, it also helps with your mental state. Forest bathing implies that you engage all your senses while in the forest: you see trees and plants and animals and birds. You hear squirrels scuttling nearby or birds singing. Or you can touch different tree bark textures or run your hand through a rushing mountain river. And, naturally, you can breathe in amazingly clean air and absorb the sunshine.

Research shows being in nature lessens symptoms of stress and anxiety. I am not a doctor, but this is just scratching the surface based on the research I found online.

Teenage girl sketching by the river

My daughter sketching by the river, after hiking Old Sugarlands Trail

More thoughts

My children and I hike every week in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, weather permitting. Yes, there is a pull and a tug at my heart every time we put the books aside and head into the forest. Are we doing enough book learning? Why do we go into the forest every week? How is this going to benefit our long-term academic goals?

It takes faith, my friends. God, the Creator, has put man in a garden. There is a lot of wisdom in going back to the original blueprint and map for our lifestyle. No, you can never teach your children “everything” there is to know. Understand and accept that.

Yes, your relatives will continue to play “test the homeschooler” at Thanksgiving if they are insensitive. You just have to prepare for that by arming yourself with lots of patience and kindness. And then do your own thing, because God called you to homeschool, not your relatives.

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