About Rachel Turiel

Rachel Turiel is a freelance writer, managing editor of Edible Southwest Colorado Magazine, frequent contributor to NPR Earth Notes, and longtime parenting columnist for her local paper. She grows food and a family at 6512 feet, and writes about it at 6512 and growing.

Learning from the natural world this summer

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Written by Rachel Turiel of 6512 and Growing

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

In the summer we take our school outside. We jump into this fleeting season where every living thing seems to sing its own resounding song. We camp, hike, garden, frolic in the yard, and turn the kids loose in the mountains to explore the ancient relationship between a columbine flower and swallowtail butterfly.

I trust that in the natural world there is an education for all.

Not an education to strive for or manage, but to sink into, to allow. We shelve the workbooks and trust in the collaborative learning tools found at the river: water, sand, sticks, rocks, innovative minds and busy hands.

How our family benefits from unstructured time outside:

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Play is a child’s work

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The following is a guest post by Rachel Turiel of 6512 and growing.

Factoids abound on the benefits of play. Entire books have been written on the subject. Play develops children’s fine and gross motor skills, communication, collaboration, imagination, problem-solving and ability to focus.

Playing allows ideas to synthesize and take root.

I’m more interested in what I can see.

My 9-year-old son has folded up approximately 364 paper airplanes in the past six months. The sound of paper creasing is the very background music of our lives. Cooking dinner now holds the risk of careening airplanes landing in an open pot of soup.

Who am I to say this isn’t worthwhile? With each trial and error his planes become faster, lighter, more enduring, (and necessitating an investment in protective eye equipment for whole family).

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What I would tell myself about homeschooling …

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The following is a guest post by Rachel Turiel of 6512 and Growing.

I’ve been homeschooling two children for three years, which is to say, not much time at all. I’m holding space for a lot to come clear, shake down, shake out, and be revealed in the years to come.

And yet, with each passing semester, I find myself settling deeper, more comfortably, into the vast yet cozy chair of homeschooling, realizing that I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Here is what I’d tell my equally scared and nervous self, starting out on the homeschooling journey three years ago:

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