Unless you’re an engineer or calculus teacher, you probably aren’t going to be able to help your high school senior with math homework. Nor will you likely teach a 5-year-old to speak a foreign language fluently. Let’s face it, few of us are teachers and even fewer are trained to teach whatever grade level and subject matter your suddenly home schooled student is trying to learn. But you might be qualified to teach outdoor skills.
1. Build An Emergency Shelter
If it’s not still winter, help your kid build a lean-to where they could spend a night, if needed. If you want, you could even make a lesson of it and have them research building techniques before heading outside.
2. Teach Animal Anatomy
Maybe you already talk about basic deer anatomy before hunting seasons open, but now is an even better time to go over the basics on any species you may want to hunt—or even those you don’t. The tutorials can go over not only physiology of the creatures but also necessary angles for kill shots. With turkey season upon us, start with gobblers. When you shoot one, take the time to go over what you see in the field.
3. Demonstrate Tying Flies
We’ve all been teaching our kids how to fish since they were old enough to hold a rod, but have you worked on fly tying? If not, this is a great time. Even, the teacher, resolved to use some of the homeschooling hours to practice fly tying with his kids. Start with a simple dubbing nymph, then move to a basic nymph like a pheasant-tail before moving to a woolly bugger.
4. Give Some Knife-Sharpening Tips
Sharpening knives is a skill all outdoors people should have. It’s usually just a task we do while preparing for a hunting or fishing trip, or working in the shop some evening. It’s rarely something we go over with our kids—but consider it. Demonstrate the basics of knife sharpening in the woods when you’re in a pinch or in the shop when you need a sharper blade for butchering.
5. Geocaching To Learn Navigation
Start by teaching your kids how to use a GPS. You likely have one, and they should know how to use it. But if you want this to be less of a how-to and more of an activity, create a geocache for them. Hide objects in an area near your house and set them on a course.
6. Go Over Building Fires
If you haven’t taught your kids how to start a fire in the woods, now is the time. The older the child, the more complicated you can be with fire starting. Go over using flint and a glass lens. Incorporate a little chemistry by lighting steel wool on fire with a battery.
7. Plant A Garden Or Harvest In The Wild
It’s spring, and if you don’t have a garden yet, now is a good time to start putting one in the ground. Use that free labor you have in your house to teach kids how to grow basic vegetables. Then put them in charge of watering and working with you on weeding, learning what you want and don’t want in the garden. For older kids, head into the woods to harvest morels or other native edibles.