Part of the Littles’ school-that-is-not-school around the farm is helping out with the gardens–both flower and vegetable. It provides good opportunities for science lessons in botany and entomology as well as training them to be self-sufficient for the zombie apocalypse. (Kidding. They’re convinced it’s coming, though, and I want them to grow up with all the knowledge I can give them for taking care of themselves. So if I have to use the zombie apocalypse to keep them interested, well…Let’s just say I’m not above it.)
The cool thing about yesterday’s work was that we were placing rocks. Two sections of my flower garden are rock gardens, so we have been placing creek rock in them all spring. The Littles help me collect the rocks then help me place them. It’s a great spatial activity because you have to figure out what rock will go where without backing yourself into a place where you can’t fit any more rocks. It. Is. Hard. Or at least it’s harder than you’d think it’d be. So it’s nice when Middle spots a rock that will fit perfectly into my puzzle or Littlest points out that I’ve made a space where no rock will fit. It is also very cool when Littlest says, “Oh! Sandstone! This is sandstone, Mom!” and Middle says, “Hey, Mom, look! This one has a fossil!” Gotta love those openings to teach.
Gardening is one of my true joys in life. I hope that the Littles are learning a bit of that love through working with me. As they learn about the different plants–what each needs to thrive, how to care for them so they continue to bloom, what insects they attract, and even which ones to plant where–that free lesson is going to stick with them any time we actually study botany in the classroom. And there’s no pressure.
Plus, gardening provides us the opportunity to just hang out together, talk about nothing and everything, and remember we’re just a family, not always a teacher and students. It’s almost as good as fishing. Not quite, but close. It gives me a chance to notice how much they’ve grown, how strong they are getting, and just how smart and funny my boys really are. They floor me. They truly do.
Middle tried to hide behind my Winnie-the-Pooh tree here so I couldn’t take his picture. But I’m fast. You can’t see it, but the whole in the bottom of the stump contains a hunny jar with a Pooh Bear in it. It’s pretty cute. I got the idea from Family Crafts. They suggested it for party favors, but I had this perfect tree stump with a hollow in the bottom, so I found a small Pooh Bear to fit in the top of the jar and placed him there. He seems happy.
I moved the fairy garden this year to incorporate it into my bigger garden. Here are a few pics even though we haven’t added the mulch in yet:
Finally, the Littles are learning that hard work and dedication pay off. It’s an important lesson for littles to learn. Especially in this era when they are provided so many opportunities to just sit on their butts and stare at a screen. I never garden without my boys, even though weeding causes grumbles. Because when we’re done, we all get to enjoy this….