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Host Pam Barnhill welcomes Ginny Yurich, the founder of 1000 Hours Outside, a global movement highlighting the transformational impact of outdoor play. Ginny shares her journey as a homeschooling mother of five, describing her challenges and initial struggles in parenting. She reveals how her pursuit of finding joy and tranquility led her to the concept of spending 1000 hours outside with her children, igniting a passion for the outdoors that has since resonated with families worldwide.

Ginny imparts invaluable insights into the benefits of nature-based play, underscoring its contribution to children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. She emphasizes the importance of providing unstructured outdoor time for children, fostering resilience, creativity, risk-taking, and emotional and social skills. Ginny also discusses the value of balancing the allure of screen time with the enriching experiences of real-life interactions and hands-on activities.

Find out more about shares Ginny’s practical resources, including her book Until the Streetlights Come On, an app for tracking outdoor time, and the “1000 Hours Outside” podcast. She encourages families to consider the movement’s approach as a foundation for homeschooling, offering flexibility in adjusting outdoor time based on different seasons and individual family dynamics.

This episode delivers insightful perspectives on promoting a lifestyle that unites families and nature, offering encouraging and practical strategies for enhancing the homeschooling experience through intentional outdoor play.

Listen to the Podcast

Pam Barnhill [00:00:02]:
Feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling? Wondering how you can streamline your day and boost your family’s success. Welcome to 10 Minutes to a Better Homeschool. I’m Pam Barnhill, fellow homeschooler and your guide to quick, effective solutions. In each episode, we dive into practical, actionable tips that fit your busy life. Whether it’s curriculum choices, time management, or creative teaching methods, We’ve got you covered. And the best part? It’s all in bite sized 10 minute segments perfect for a busy parent schedule. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join me in transforming your homeschool experience one tip at a time. Let’s make every minute count.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:42]:
Hey. Hey. And welcome to episode 84 of the 10 Minutes to a Better Homeschool podcast. So we are gonna jump Right into our interview today with Ginny Yurich from A 1000 Hours Outside. Ginny had so many wonderful things to talk about, so many things I’ve learned from this interview, and I just let it go. So this one’s a little bit longer than 10 minutes, but that’s okay. Ginny’s excitement is contagious, and I think you’re gonna absolutely love it. So let’s talk about why our kids should be outside.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:13]:
Ginny Yurich is a homeschooling mother of Five and the founder of 1000 Hours Outside, a global movement designed to reclaim childhood. Along with her husband, Josh, Ginny is a full time creator and curator of the 1000 hours outside life style brand, which includes a robust online store, an app, and books. She also hosts the 1000 hours outside weekly podcast, A thought leader in the world of nature based play and its benefits for children, Ginny lives with her family in the Ann Arbor area of Michigan. Ginny, welcome to the podcast.

Ginny Yurich [00:01:50]:
Thanks for having me. Those bios are embarrassing. They just go on and on. Like, hey. Is this me? Like, well, that’s not really how I think of myself. I’m like, I’m a mom. We have 5 kids And lots of laundry and we homeschool. So that’s about all you need to know.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:07]:
Oh, well, that was perfect because that was gonna be my first question. But then my second question is, How did you get started with this whole 1000 hours outside thing?

Ginny Yurich [00:02:15]:
Well, because I was an awful mother. Pam, that’s how. I really struggled when my kids were little, like really struggled. I mean, I just didn’t even wanna get out of bed in the morning. I, you know, I was so just discouraged because it was so hard, Even from the get go, from the 1st child and I was expecting to be amazing at being a mom and I was just failing day after day and very much floundering. And I lived that way for several years with the 1st kid, then we had another one, then we had another one, and I was just going from program to program. You know how people do sometimes Pam, like, that’s what everyone else was doing? And, it was awful. I mean to take kids, 3 kids, 1 kid, any amount of kids To some sort of prescribed program is like a herculean effort.

Ginny Yurich [00:02:58]:
Right? Even just to get out of the house, and the car seats, and all the things you need, and then you have to do it all in reverse. And, by then it would be, you know, only 11 in the morning. And I’d be like, I’m done. Can I call off? You know, is someone coming to rescue me? So, I struggled until one day, one faithful day, a friend of mine at MOPS Came to MOPS and she knew she was gonna homeschool and we knew we were gonna homeschool. But here was the cool thing, Pam. Her oldest son was 1 year older than ours, So she had started to research and I didn’t have to because she was doing the research and she would come, she would tell me what she was learning. And one day she showed up at MOPS and she said, Charlotte Mason says kids should spend 4 to 6 hours a day outside whenever the weather is tolerable. And I was like, And I didn’t I’d never heard of Charlotte Mason.

Ginny Yurich [00:03:49]:
I didn’t find out till years later that Charlotte Mason was from the 1800. And I think if I would have known that, I wouldn’t have paid any attention. I would have been like, well, that person’s been dead for a long time. Why are we listening to that person? Anyway, so then this friend says, well, we should try it. And I was thinking, no, this is gonna be awful. Like, have you been to the library program? Like, my kids are fighting over the toys, It’s only 45 minutes. I’m like, this is 4 hours. But, I ended up trying it with her because I was also desperate for friendships.

Ginny Yurich [00:04:15]:
It’s a hard season of life when you have those little children And I tell people, Pam, it was the best day of my life because it was the 1st good day I had as a mom with nothing. No playground. There was nothing there. It was just grass. And I was like, this is gonna be an awful day. I should bring my water table and we should bring some crafts and Play Doh and books And action figures and she said, no, you don’t bring anything. Just food and a blanket. And so, we spread out.

Ginny Yurich [00:04:40]:
Each had a baby that we were nursing. The babies would nurse and sleep and play with the grass and look at the trees. And, older kids, we each had 2 that were preschool, toddler age. They just Ran around in the grass. Who knows what they did, Pam? But I got to catch my breath and have a conversation with a friend. So it started there. I didn’t know that anything was starting, But it started in that day, we completely changed our lifestyle and lived that way for years and what I began to learn was not only was I thriving, but Our kids were thriving and so, what happens when we take kids outside and let them play freely. You can take a step back, go to a spot that’s not near the road.

Ginny Yurich [00:05:20]:
That helps them with every facet of their development. Take your morning basket, it’s gonna help them. It helps them physically, it helps them emotionally, It helps them socially. It helps their cognition, so academically. And for families that are interested, it helps them spiritually. So all these things are going on outside. We’re aiming for 1000 hours, it’s a mix of Charlotte Mason, whenever the weather is tolerable, 4 to 6 hours. Angela Hanscomb, pediatric occupational therapist and others Who are saying ideally kids of all ages including your teens should be outside for about 3 hours a day and bringing back balance between screens, Real life and virtual life.

Ginny Yurich [00:05:54]:
Kids are on screens for 4 to 7 hours. These were the statistics actually a decade ago. 4 to 7 hours a day, but 4 to 7 minutes playing outside.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:02]:
Oh, my goodness. Okay. So I have so many questions. So very first question is

Ginny Yurich [00:06:06]:
We don’t have much time, Pam.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:08]:
I know. But how did it go the first time the friend didn’t show up and you were there by Self with those children.

Ginny Yurich [00:06:14]:
Oh, yeah. That’s hard. No, that’s actually a really good question because that is really hard. So, we would have a group of 4 or 5 moms and For the most part, usually someone was there, and that worked. I mean, it worked for years years years, but I do tell people when they say, look, my kid’s older. My kid does not wanna go outside. I can’t get my 8 year old to go. There is a big difference from how things were decades ago when kids just played.

Ginny Yurich [00:06:36]:
My father-in-law Grew up on a street where there were 76 children or something like that. Can you even imagine how much fun that

Pam Barnhill [00:06:44]:
would be? Play with. Yeah.

Ginny Yurich [00:06:46]:
Yes. It would be They said he said it was an absolute blast. The kids running amok all the time. So, when people say, how do I deal with my reluctant children? Friend friends is the answer. I always say friends and food. You know, bring some fun snacks that you don’t normally have, something like that, and friends change the game. So, I have a pot of friends that you can call up and if someone can’t come in it, then maybe hopefully someone else will be there.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:11]:
Okay. So this is not just I mean, this is about getting your kids outside off of screens, getting them out into that fresh air and things like that. But this is also about leaving behind the structure of all the structured activities that we have our kids in as well. Right?

Ginny Yurich [00:07:28]:
Yes. And leaving behind the mess. Because that’s kinda nice. Right? I mean sometimes it’s like we’re inside, especially if you’re a home school parent. Right? You’re inside and all you see is the mess and I think it is very hard to pull yourself and pry yourself away from that. I could tidy up here, I could do that, I could be prepping this meal And as a parent, you know, we only have a certain amount of time with our kids. So when all of you can step away, it helps everyone. Be more present.

Ginny Yurich [00:07:53]:
Get all of those benefits.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:57]:
Do you want fewer arguments, less tension, and true excitement during language arts learning? Night zookeeper is the answer. Night zookeeper is a game changing language arts program that takes the stress out of teaching by making it fantastically fun and engaging for your child. The program teaches spelling, Grammar and punctuation, vocabulary, reading and writing through a preplanned language arts curriculum that your child can use independently, freeing you up to focus on other tasks. Night zookeeper has hundreds of word games, Interactive video lessons and inspiring writing prompts to keep your child engaged all year and boost their confidence. Your child will also get written feedback on their writing from real tutors so you don’t have to be the bad guy. Thousands of homeschool parents have found says using Night ZooKeeper to transform their children’s attitudes towards language arts learning. Parents like Ali Midday, one of the member liaisons at Pam Ally’s 3 oldest kids have been using Knight ZooKeeper, and they absolutely love the feedback that they get from the writing tutors and the ability to create their own characters.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:09]:
They are having so much fun. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to the stress of teaching language arts? Give Night ZooKeeper a try. Click on the link in the description to this podcast for a 7 day free trial, and 50% off of an annual subscription.

Tell us about your new book. So you have this book that you’ve written called Until the Streetlight Comes On, which I and it’s Until the Streetlights Come on. I wanna make sure that I get the name of it right. So if you’re googling it, then we are gonna put a link in the show note. I remember that from my childhood so much.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:46]:
Like, that was it. When that street light came on, you knew you were supposed to go home, but you also knew you really weren’t supposed to go home until that street light came on. So tell us about the book.

Ginny Yurich [00:09:56]:
So, the book is about this concept that we can chill out and here is the good news, our world is changing rapidly, which feels terrifying and we’re sending our kids, and you know this, We’re sending our kids into a world that’s different than the one that we entered in and different than the one that our parents entered in. There was a time period where You would graduate from high school and maybe you go to college, maybe not, but a lot of people would enter into a 30 year career path and then they would retire and that was the end. So, you have this same set of coworkers, similar set of skills and maybe you work your way up and things change slightly, but overall it was this More singular experience. Well, kids today, they say they’re gonna have 4 different jobs in their 1st decade of adulthood. So, we’re sending them out into this Girly situation, but how do you prepare a kid for that? You don’t prepare a kid for that by having all of their childhood structured And I think that structure helps us feel safe, we check the boxes. But kids have to have this open time and space In order to learn all sorts of things, grit resilience, risk taking, the hard edges of social skills and those different stations, they need to be imaginative and they they have to have their creativity. They have to know what makes them tick.

Ginny Yurich [00:11:12]:
They have to be okay with boredom. All of these things are happening in downtime. And so this is really a message of hope that we can gain more and do less. We’re setting our kids up for a rapidly changing world And the way part of the way that we do that is by not telling them every single thing to do all of the time.

Pam Barnhill [00:11:33]:
Yeah. I love it. I love that so much. Okay. Such a good thing for us to read and, like, fighting against that Compulsion that we have to check all the boxes because I think that was the message, you know, kind of after my generation grew up when the next Generation came along. That was the message, was we have to put our kids in all the things. We have to get them, like we have to put all the things on their little transcript Resume thing so they can get ready to go to college and be accepted into all the schools and all of that stuff. And so I love the fact the message is shifting.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:06]:
If we’re planning and doing all the things for them, they’re not gonna be prepared for all the change that they’re going to live through.

Ginny Yurich [00:12:13]:
Though. Sure. And even the small things. I talked to this woman, her name is I can’t think of her name. She wrote this book called iGen and her name is Jean Twenge. And, She is a professor out in California and she said she she talks about generational changes, that’s what she studies, she’s an expert on generational changes. And she said the kids are coming to college and she said they can’t even make simple decisions without texting their parents. This is hard.

Ginny Yurich [00:12:38]:
It’s a hard way to live.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:40]:
Wants that. What parent wants their child texting all the time, asking for help with decisions. It’s like, I’ve, like, raised you. Please go to

Ginny Yurich [00:12:49]:
Yeah. So this is good. I mean, this is the thing. I think that childhood is a passing of the baton. That as children grow and get older, they are supposed to do hard things and do risky things and do things that they might fall off the log. They might get a scrape. And what you’re learning as a parent is you’re learning how to trust them as they learn how to trust themselves. And it’s this gradual separation till off they go.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:13]:
I love it. Okay. So I love so much that I talk to you about this and that like, I love so much that this is so much more. Because I’m gonna have to tell you, I live in Alabama, and the thought of spending 3 hours outside a day every day of the year. Oh, my goodness. I was like, this lady, she has to be from, like, California or Utah. Yeah. Like like, somewhere dry, I know humidity.

Ginny Yurich [00:13:39]:
No. No. No.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:40]:
Of the country. You’re from Michigan. How did you do

Ginny Yurich [00:13:44]:
this in winter? It’s like Bleeding right now, and in the summer, we’ve got the humidity and the bugs. Here’s the thing. We have a year long goal because I do think that getting out every single day for 3 hours, 4 hours. Charlotte Mason said whenever the weather is tolerable, she gave a caveat. Over the course of the year, we are trying to even this out and fill our year with hands on real life moments. Here is the thing. For families that don’t hit 1,000, we actually have a goal. This is the foundation of our homeschool.

Ginny Yurich [00:14:10]:
Some families are like, hey, I had 716 hours of time outside. There is not 1 family who regrets being intentional about getting their kids outdoors whether they hit the number or not. So we say this is something that you never fail. There is no Feeling here. But we actually do aim for that 1000 hours. I don’t get in till like December 30th, but we look at it over the course of a year because there are seasons in life literally And figuratively, so in the summer, Michigan summers are stunning and gorgeous. There be days over we’re out 12 hours, dawn to dusk. And in the winter, maybe it’s only an hour.

Ginny Yurich [00:14:42]:
Maybe kids are sick. We don’t go out for a couple of days. So it evens out over time depending on where you live.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:48]:
I love it so much. And I just love it. Like, you’re right. If if we go and do this, if we attempt this, we’re not gonna be sorry that we did. So, the benefits are there whether whether we make it quite to the 1000 hours or not. So alright. So go get the book until the street lights Come on. But also, Ginny, where can people find out more information about not not only the movement, but, like, the support that you provide for this movement.

Pam Barnhill [00:15:14]:
You know, if I’m gonna try to do this, I’m gonna need help.

Ginny Yurich [00:15:17]:
Yeah. Okay. So everything’s real easy. It’s all 1000 hours outside. So at 1000 hours, we have a blog just like everyone else does, but we also have these free tracker sheets, and there’s 16 options. They are stunning. You put them up on your fridge, You can color them in. You’re modeling to your kids a tool to keep balance in your life.

Ginny Yurich [00:15:35]:
We wanna fill our life with what we wanna fill it with first, And let screens be the backup option. Our kids use screens, but we don’t want that to be that, the thing that they always go to first. So a lot of things on our website you’ll find there and some different resources. I have I have 3 books that are called 1000 hours outside. They literally all have the same title, which is embarrassing. I’m not even gonna go down that path, but if you look that up you’ll find them. There’s one through DK Books where people sent in photos from all over the world, 17,000 photos got submitted, and it’s a bunch of activities. So, if you’re looking for a little bit more structure that might help Get you kicked off.

Ginny Yurich [00:16:11]:
You can find that there. We have an app that is currently the number one paid app in the entire app store and the number one lifestyle app. It’s just a couple dollars, literally less than a cup of coffee and you track your time. It’s got a timer, a journal And it gives you badges and people love it. It has thousands and thousands of reviews, 4.8 stars. It is worth its weight in gold for a couple dollars. You can’t do anything for a couple dollars. It’s gonna keep you on track throughout the year.

Ginny Yurich [00:16:38]:
It’s super fun, and I think I have a podcast. Guess what it’s called? The 1000 hours outside podcast. There we go. I’m not very creative.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:50]:
No. But it all works together, so that’s that’s what matters. So I love it so much. Ginny, thank you so much for coming on here and telling us all about this movement that you’ve created. And yeah. So I encourage you to go check out Ginny’s book. Go check out all of her 1000 hours outside things and, Think about, like, consider doing that for this year. I think it’s a a good goal.

Pam Barnhill [00:17:13]:
It’s still early in the year. You can still do this.

Ginny Yurich [00:17:15]:
And you can start anytime And you just track for a year. So if you if you listen to this and it’s July 3rd, you start today. And then you just keep track till July 2nd next year. Anytime you wanna join in, join in.

Pam Barnhill [00:17:28]:
Love it. Thanks, Ginny.

Ginny Yurich [00:17:30]:
Thank you.

Pam Barnhill [00:17:34]:
Thank you for tuning in to 10 Minutes to a Better Homeschool. Remember, small changes can make a big impact in your homeschooling journey. If you want more tips and resources to enhance your experience, check out our free homeschool better together community. You’ll find additional tools, guides, and a community of supportive homeschoolers just like you. Visit to learn more and join us. Until next time. Keep on homeschooling.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

1000 Hours Outside: Activities to Match Screen Time with Green Time1000 Hours Outside: Activities to Match Screen Time with Green Time1000 Hours Outside: Activities to Match Screen Time with Green TimeMy 1000 Hours Outside Journey - a Companion JournalMy 1000 Hours Outside Journey – a Companion JournalMy 1000 Hours Outside Journey - a Companion Journal1000 Hours Outdoors: A Journal and Color in Tracker to Log Hours Spent Outside in Nature for Parents, Kids, Moms, Dads and Nature Lovers.1000 Hours Outdoors: A Journal and Color in Tracker to Log Hours Spent Outside in Nature for Parents, Kids, Moms, Dads and Nature Lovers.1000 Hours Outdoors: A Journal and Color in Tracker to Log Hours Spent Outside in Nature for Parents, Kids, Moms, Dads and Nature Lovers.iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of UsiGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of UsiGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us


Key Takeaways About Spending Time Outside

  • Spending time outside can benefit both parents and kids, and it’s okay to aim for 1000 hours outside, but the ultimate goal is to enjoy the benefits of outdoor time. 
  • The 1000 Hours Outside movement is about reclaiming childhood and focuses on allowing kids to play freely outside to support their overall development. 
  • The movement doesn’t restrict activities to the outdoors and aims to create a balance between outdoor play and screen time in children’s lives. The benefits of outdoor play include children’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development, as well as promoting resilience, risk-taking, and creativity. 
  • Parents can use the free tracker sheets to model balance in life and encourage their kids to fill their time with activities they enjoy before turning to screens. The movement is flexible and acknowledges that it’s okay even if families don’t reach 1000 hours, as any intentional outdoor time is beneficial. 
  • Setting aside structured activities and leaving behind the stress of mess inside the house can create a more present and joyous experience for parents and children.
  • Ginny’s book, Until the Streetlights Come On, emphasizes preparing children for the rapidly changing world by allowing for unstructured play and downtime. 

To join our free homeschool community, you can create an account right here.

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