The following is a post by contributing writer Michelle of Lagniappe Academy.
Before we began homeschooling, the idea of starting a garden never entered my mind. It sounded like work. Lots of dirty, sweaty, bug-filled work. Then, I had two dirt and bug loving little girls, who changed everything.
My children have always been interested in starting grand projects and connecting with nature. Once we began homeschooling, I realized that they would probably enjoy having a garden of their own to tend and watch grow. We had a yard, time, and curiosity . . . a perfect combination for gardening!
If you’re still afraid, like I was, that gardening might be more trouble than it’s worth, consider the many benefits (character-building and educational) that gardening can provide for your children.
- Connect to Nature and Feel Good – Scientists have discovered that contact with certain bacteria found in dirt can increase serotonin levels. Dig your way to happiness!
- Exercise – Dig a hole in the yard or carry several bags of dirt on a hot day and try not to sweat. I dare you.
- Develop Patience – Teach your kids that good things are worth waiting for.
- Care for Living Things – This is an important skill to develop, and at least with a garden you don’t get stuck with a hamster in house.
- Cause and Effect – Don’t water your plants, they die. Care for your growing plants, you get great food to share with your family and friends.
- Make Dinner from Something You Grew – There is no better way to encourage a picky eater to try new things than toask them to pick something from their own garden. Plus, your entire family will benefit from the fruits of your labor.
- Planning – Encourage your children to think ahead by letting them help you decide whichplants to try, where to place them, and when to plant them.
- Math – Create a budget for supplies, measure plots and plant spacing, count seeds; record planting dates on a calendar, chart growth with bar graphs or other models.
- Biology – Learn about plant structure, reproduction, and growth; investigate companion planting techniques and why they work; encourage beneficial insects; or make homemade organic pest sprays.
- Chemistry – Learn how to test soil chemistry and learn to amend your soil to suit your particular plants.
- Recycling – Create a compost pile or make your own seed pots from newspaper, egg cartons, or egg shells.
- Create a Garden Journal – Use a notebook or sketchbook to keep records of which plants grow well where and when to remind yourself what to do next season. Your children can also draw, paint, or take photos of plants to include in your journal.
If you’re thinking a garden would be a great addition to your homeschool, grab a pot or two, some dirt, and a pack of seeds to get started! I’ll be back later with other simple ways to begin and ideas for some fun and easy themed garden ideas to try with your kids.
Michelle is a wife, mother, writer, and Cajun who prefers everything extra spicy. Follow along at Lagniappe Academy for more of their gardening and homeschooling adventures.