This time of year provides us homeschooling mamas and dadas with a great opportunity to teach our littles about life and biology and botany and how connected we are (or should be) with our planet. Getting into the garden or the greenhouse is one of my favorite ways to teach.
You can study life cycles in the garden, simply by growing a plant from seed and watching it for an entire season. Keeping a diary or calendar of the plant’s growth can help your little understand scientific observation. Planning a garden helps your little learn about how things grow together. If you’re planting flowers, you can add an ongoing color lesson for art studies. If you’re planting vegetables your little can learn about where food comes from and what is good for his body. Littles can learn how plants need water, soil, and sunlight. If you’re starting in a greenhouse, they can learn about how different seeds need different temperatures to sprout.
There is so much a little can learn about life from gardening, but one of the most important lessons they can take away from gardening is that hard work pays off. Gardening takes some work–you have to baby those seedlings, make sure your plants are getting the right amount of water, keep weeds from stealing the necessary nutrients, and harvest at the right time. My Littles have been helping with the gardens since they were old enough to walk, and they groan when the weeding or hoeing needs done, but they realize that all that work is going to result in lots of fresh food and beautiful flowers to enjoy from the patio. So they do it. I love that it keeps them physical all summer, beyond jumping on the trampoline or swimming in the pool. It makes them work those growing muscles in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.
We always grow one special thing for each of the boys in our veggie/fruit garden. For Littlest it’s watermelon. For Middle, it’s our grape arbor. This year we bought some new seeds that are supposed to grow giant watermelons, so Littlest better have his grubby hands ready to get sticky. We’ve walked out to the orchard and looked at how our fledgling apple trees are covered in blooms this year, promising an actual crop of fresh apples for the first time. Even the pear trees are producing this year, though not quite as much as the apples.
Every year the things we grow provide fresh insight and lessons into science and nature. I want the whole world to enjoy that connection. I’ve made up a couple of freebies for you, and you don’t even have to subscribe to get them. Though it’d be a lot cooler if you did.
Here’s a set of Garden Planning Pages to get you and your littles started:
And here is a set of Garden Diary/Calendar pages to help your littles learn all season:
Print these out and get outside with your littles and enjoy glorious spring. Learn while you’re having fun? Yeah yeah.
That’s the stuff.