Tuesday, September 22, 2009

homeschool: grooming the green thumb

So, as I was writing my post the other day about wooden blocks, I remembered that I had once promised that once a week I would write about the various 'homeschool' activities we do around here.

And well, I got distracted and forgot.

(Like I often do.)

This past weekend, during our lemonade sales, my friend Mary came to visit us. While we were talking, Mary mentioned that she was really interested in my knitting posts, because she was teaching herself how to knit again. And, what ever happened to my knitting posts?

(Mary, it was really nice to see you. Thank you so much for dropping by. Here are the knitting posts I've written so far. Now that the weather is starting to get cooler - hahaha who am I kidding it was 96 degrees today, HELLO Fall Solstice! - I'll start up on that knitting thread - note the pun - again very soon.)

So where was I?

Let's see ... Charlie's cooking blog.

No, no. That wasn't it.

(But that will be soon. I promise.)

Oh yes!

Homeschool activities.

What I have discovered is that the more "real" life activities you can get your children involved with, the more likely they will enjoy it. For instance, the kids have a lot of fun washing dishes. So I'll pull up a chair to the sink, fill it midway with warm water, load it up with nonbreakable items, hand them sponges and soap and let them have at it.

We're talking MINUTES of soapy, watery fun.

I have also solicited the children's help to care for plants both inside and outside of our home. But because I think it is important that they have tools that are sized just right for them, I purchased children-sized watering cans, gloves, trowels and spades.

Does this sound idealistic?

It totally is.

But please, stick with me.

The children have a small watering can that they use to water the indoor plants each week - and I have them spritz off the leaves and wipe up any excess water that might drip on to our hardwood floors. Whenever the leaves on the plants start to turn brown or we need to cut off wilted flowers, I'll hand the children their blunt-edge scissors and they help me prune.

I believe that having children learn about plant care is a valuable life experience. Not only are you teaching children respect for another living thing, you are teaching them that with nurture and care, something can grow and thrive.

(Or, get hacked back to it's roots.)

I like having the children work in our flower gardens because it provides them a great opportunity to be outdoors and combat 'nature deficit disorder'.

Our children absolutely love examining all of the life that is teeming within the garden, just outside of our door. Worms, caterpillars, beetles and snails.

Working in the garden gives children a wonderful excuse to get dirty and pull weeds out by the hand full. But don't feel too discouraged if the weeds that they are yanking out are actually your imported herbs.

There is definitely a learning curve for children, and a patience curve for any adult that must be obtained in order for multi-generational gardening to be a success.

I love to see our children working with plants - and they love it, too.

But don't expect that gardening will be a full day activity for children.

Because like all things, after a while, they will get distracted.

And soon, they might start telling stories like, "I once caught a fish THIS big."

And you might wonder where in the world your child gets his short attention span.

(Surely it couldn't be me.)


  1. William is such the spitting image of Charlie. His expressions and all.

  2. You are such a fun mom! And teacher! See, I am so anal, all I could think when I saw your kids w/ their scissors was that it was dangerous given that they were on uneven terrain and so close to each other. I am so lame! And I really mean that. (In my defense - This might come from the fact that one of my kids has poor fine motor skills and I cringe every time I see him w/ scissors close to his siblings. Oy.)

    You ROCK!

  3. San Diego lookd beautiful this time of year. So, so the kids.

  4. *Laughs*- "or gets hacked back to its roots."

    My mom loves to garden with my daughter and bought her a whole set of child sized tools for her house. B loves it and looks forward to the growing season every year.

    Bonus= She will eat any fruit or vegetable if you tell her it was one that Sunshine grew in her garden.

  5. So, so the kids??

    What does that mean? Is that a gentle suggestion that the kids look bad??

    For what it's worth - most days, I'd have better luck giving myself a root canal than I would getting a hairbrush through the girls hair. And don't even get me started on the adorable outfits I bought for them that they won't even wear.

    I should have posted the picture of Carolyn in her hot pink leggings with the neon green skirt, faux fur shirt and red plaid tam.

    No. I don't buy this stuff. People just send it to us, because they know the kids will LOVE it.

    I need to make a Goodwill run in the middle of the night.

  6. Just saw this post on another blog I read and thought you would be interested in reading it:

  7. I'm guessing she meant "so do the kids"?

    They are adorable!