I just have to add, what a true pleasure it was to walk through the neighborhood at 8:00-9:00 in the cool morning, with my little girl. While the two teenagers were home slogging through Algebra, and other children were sitting in desks inside cement rooms, Julia and I were enjoying making careful observations in nature -- things we normally are in too much of a hurry to notice. How good it is to walk for express purpose of NOTICING! Julia competed to find a leaf more yellow that the one I'd found. We noted which trees had begun to turn, and which had not, how many nuts or seedpods were being produced this year, how the rain had produced a number of various mushrooms, how the moss grew.
Our yard is by far the leafiest in the neighborhood. That means it's the messiest. Other yards are immaculate, not a stray leaf in sight, all the grass shorn to a fine crop. Tidy, but yielding nothing to observe, to pick up and study. We avoided those yards. Our messy yard is a natural wonderland, I'm glad to report. I feel slightly better about our neglect!
Does it look strange to drivers to see a mom and 5th grade girl, walking with a ziploc bag, sorting through leaves and cones? Shouldn't that girl be in school? "She IS," I wanted to shout. There's so much to learn on a Nature Walk, especially with a 1:1 teacher/student ratio.
So, one of the benefits of homeschooling? Spontaneous morning nature walks.
One of the detriments? Your house is MUCH messier with the whole family living in it, all day long. Learning is a messy operation.