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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,


25 Days of Lit in Your Homeschool: Day 13 Camp

Tent on the Trampoline

Tent on the Trampoline

What?  Even bloggers need a vacation.  🙂

I needed this one for my sanity.  I hadn’t given myself any slack since about April, which is great when all you have to do is write a blog, not so great when you also have to homeschool, farm, plan curriculum, be a mom, clean your house, and make sure your beautiful husband knows how much you love and appreciate him.  Social life?  Meh.

Sorry I didn’t warn you, dear readers.  Because I also love and appreciate you.  But it was my sanity-cation and I took it before I broke.  And to recover from reading Go Set a Watchman, which I will not be reviewing any time soon.  Because I had 10 pages left to read for a week and couldn’t bear to finish it.  Because I knew what was coming and I didn’t want to read it.  And I was right.  And  my disillusionment is grand.  And I have to give myself some time.

But I’m back and today I’m going to give you a few lit suggestions if you and your littles do a camping unit.  Some of these would even enhance a camping day if you plan a homeschool summer camp.  Why would you study camp?  Well, why do the Boy Scouts do it?  Duh.  There is so much to be gleaned from a camping lesson.  How to track.  How to bait a hook.  How to pitch a tent.  How to build a fire.  How to store food.  How to cook on a campfire.  How to find water.  (The whole family contributed to that list.)  And a good book to accompany such an amazing lesson is Always a Good Thing.


Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer

We Love the Little Critter books.  This one was one of Littlest’s favorites because it reminded him of him and his dad and all their outdoor adventures.  The illustrations in this are far more telling than the simple text, and watching Little Critter make mistakes and make up for them is always good for a laugh.


When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruus

The illustrations in this book are phenomenal, the text is a beautiful homage to nature, and the characters are appreciative of their time outdoors.  It is a perfect book for teaching your littles all there is to love about camping.

Wolf Camp by Katie McKy

This book is hilarious.  When Maddie comes home from Wolf Camp and sniffs her pet collie in greeting, the laughter is on.  The question is, what changes did Wolf Camp really bring about in Maddie?  Are those howls for real?  Your littles will truly enjoy this lively book.  And maybe get a few ideas of their own.  So try to keep them from chewing on your tires.


A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements

Talk about quickly learning survival skills… Mark’s 5th grade class is on a week-long campout.  First day out he gets in trouble with the teacher, Mr. Maxwell, and runs off into the woods.  Mr. Maxwell goes after him and together they not only get lost but have to survive.  What’s cool about this book is that not only does the adolescent learn a few life lessons, so does the adult.  They kind of have to, if they’re going to get along well enough to get out of the woods.  Plus, the story is action-packed and thrilling.  My boys couldn’t bear to put it down.


Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary

Well, Mama, did you forget that Ralph runs away to Happy Acres Camp?  I love the Mouse and the Motorcycle stories, and camp is a good excuse to read this one.  Cleary definitely knew her stuff when she wrote these amazing stories about mice using toys and lost items to furnish their lives.  And it’s adorable that Ralph goes to camp in order to meet ‘boys his age.’  I crush on that.  Cute little mouse.


Holes by Louis Sachar

Sure, Holes is set in a camp for delinquent boys, but it’s still a camp.  And the character building… I wonder if I can get my Littles to go outside and dig me a 5×5 hole.  And find me a treasure.  This action-packed mystery is sure to inspire, so hide your shovels.

On a nonfiction note, if you’re looking for activities to include in your camping unit, check out The Kids Campfire Book by Jane Drake.  It’s full of really great ideas for making a camping trip special.

Have fun.  And use an air mattress.

Love wins,


Day One: Donkeys  Day Two: Summer  Day Three: Water   Day Four: Insects   Day Five: Owls

Day Six: Bears  Day Seven: Winter   Day Eight: Poetry  Day Nine: Squirrels & Rabbits  Day Ten: Moon

Day Eleven: Autumn    Day Twelve: Plants

25 Days of Lit in Your Homeschool Day 3: Water


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We haven’t seen the sun here in 2 weeks or more.  I am not exaggerating–it has rained at least a little every day, and there has been no blue sky to speak of.  It is a strange thing indeed to be feeling the onset of winter blues in the middle of summer.  Normally, we would be at the beginning of our summer drought–a period of about 2 months when we pray for rain.  Not this year.  This year we have flash flood watches every day.  Our yard is starting to resemble a jungle because even when it’s not raining, the grass is too wet to mow. We’ve only been able to get in the pool once in the last two weeks and it spilled over the edges when we added our bodies to it because it is overfull.  It. Is. Wet.  So I thought it appropriate for our books today to be about water.  All kinds of water.  Because, come on, we’re drowning here anyway!

There are so many different ways to teach about water.  Pond studies, river studies, ocean studies, rain cycle studies…  I could probably keep listing, but you get the picture.  With that in mind, here are several books you can use to add literature to a few different types of water study.

Water Dance by Thomas Locker

We love this book.  It takes you through all of water’s paths in non-rhyming verse, using delicious words like sparkling, plunging, roaring, glistening, and spiraling.  The watercolor illustrations are so yummy you will fall in love with water all over again, be it in the form of rain, mist, mountain stream, or the sea.  This book is excellent, and I do mean Excellent, for helping to introduce the water cycle to your littles.  It gives them a visual for just about everything water goes through on our lovely planet.
The Water Hole by Graeme Base

This book does many things–it’s a counting book and a puzzle book, and at first glance you might think it suitable only for the very young.  But the illustrations are Absolutely Gorgeous, and it reminds littles of just how many species depend on water and what might happen if that water disappears. If you are studying ponds or other types of water holes, or if you are studying our dwindling freshwater supply, this book will make a good addition.  Plus, you can get this super-awesome coloring book to go with it.
Amos & Boris by William Steig

Another brilliant book by Steig, this one is about a mouse who falls overboard in the ocean and is rescued by a whale.  It’s a true lesson in kindness and helping one’s fellow… mammal.  In pure Steig style, there’s plenty of high sea adventure, and eventually our little mouse gets to repay his big friend’s favor.  This one would be a fun addition to any ocean study.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

This brilliantly uplifting adventure is sure to please any little.  Based on a true story, it tells the tale of Karana, a native Californian who lives alone for 18 years on an island in the Pacific Ocean.  In true Robinson Crusoe fashion, she makes a home for herself and builds a life.  So many things to learn from this book, I can’t even list them.  Speaking of Crusoe,
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Another tale of survival on an isolated island, this book also has a lot of chapters about the ocean itself–its dangers, its beauties, how a person can fall in love with it and want to live on it.  It’s one of our favorite books because it is so full of adventure and truly sound ideas for surviving on one’s own.  It would be a brilliant addition to an ocean study.
Downriver by Will Hobbs

If you’re studying rivers, this adventurous tale about a group of teens who steal a raft and take off down the Colorado River will be a good addition.  There are wonderful descriptions of the river and the Grand Canyon, and lots of lessons about life and growth in this one.  Even if you have a reluctant reader, this one is sure to please.

Learning about water and all its guises can make for a long lesson.  Give that lesson a bit of fun with one or more of these books, and your little will remember what he’s learned as he relates it to the literature.  You can’t beat that.

Oh, and maybe could you do a sun dance for me?

Love wins,


Day One: Donkeys

Day Two: Summer