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Free Garden Planning Pages

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.

morning garden 4

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.

morning garden 1

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.

morning garden 2

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.

morning garden 3

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:

 

garden planning pages

 

And here is a set of Garden Diary/Calendar pages to help your littles learn all season:

my plant diary

 

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.

Love wins,

KT

ROY G BIV (Or How to Make Your Own Rainbow Mountain)

Our Asian unit study has led us on all kinds of interesting adventures and rabbit trails so far.  This particular adventure fascinated all of us.  Rainbow mountains?  Really?

RAINBOW-MOUNTAINS-900

These mountains are amazing in their true form, but people tend to mess about with the colors in the pics, super-saturating them to make them look like true rainbows.  Which would really disappoint travelers who go to China to see these cool land forms.   I guess.  Who could be disappointed by something so fabulous? Here’s an image that has been tampered with:

altered rainbow mountainsHere’s the deal.  These mountains are part of the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in China. They are believed to have been formed by the folding of oceanic crust, perhaps buckled by the movement of tectonic plates. The color is caused by the erosion of red sandstone, which forms peaks and stratified outcroppings. Its present appearance is caused by its special geological structure combined with long-term desert conditions–freeze-thaw peeling and wind and water erosion.  This weathering has exposed rock layers of different colors, sizes, textures, and patterns to reveal this wondrous rainbow-like view.

After learning all we could about the geology of the mountains, we made our own Rainbow Mountains.  Here’s how:

You Need

4-6 BowlsIMG_20150910_105025341

Spoons (same number as bowls)

A sturdy piece of cardboard for your base

Baking soda

Food coloring

Water

Directionsadding color to rainbow mtn

  1. For each color, put 3-4 heaping spoonfuls baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Add 3-4 drops of food coloring to the baking soda.  Then add a teaspoon or 2 of water (this helps the food coloring spread.  Don’t add too much water or you’ll get damper baking soda than you need.  You can add more food coloring if your color isn’t dark enough.
  3. You can mix primary colors–such as using red and yellow to make orange or red and blue to make purple–in your extra bowls if you want more than the standard 4 colors that come in the average pack.
  4. Stir your baking soda with a spoon until the color is mixed throughout.stirring rainbow mtn
  5. Pick a color to start with (we followed the rainbow–Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet.  We skipped the indigo, so we didn’t quite finish our ROY G BIV acronym.)
  6. IMG_20150910_110132694Form the base of your mountain with your chosen color.
  7. IMG_20150910_110801763Add layers until you’ve created an entire mountain of color.

 

 

 

This Was A Messy Project.  But in the end, it was a great way to discuss stratification, folding, tectonic plate movement, and different types of soil and bedrock.  So it turned out to be a really thorough geology lesson.  And it was Really, Really Fun.  Just look at the laughter.

finished rainbow mountainI’ll take it.  Every Day.  Today the reason I love homeschooling is that we can laugh while we learn.  What a fantabulous way to spend a morning.

Love wins,

KT