Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homeschooling and The Garden

Lately, just like everything else, our homeschooling has been focused on the garden. My kids know more about plants and where their food comes from than most adults. I alternate between finding this amusing and a little bit scary. But whatever else my kids do or do not learn from our educational endeavors, they WILL be able to feed themselves. Always.

Currently, we are studying the Grains of the World. Their history and origins, as well as cooking with them and growing them. One of my 4X4 ft beds at the top of the garden has been set apart as a school garden this year, and in it we are growing rye, red wheat, white wheat, barley, oats, millet, corn, and rice. Yes, I am attempting to grow rice. Who knows if all of them will grow in this climate, but even if they fail and die here, that will teach us something too!

On top of the garden that is set aside for school lessons, last week, each of the kids made their own 6X4 ft garden bed. They put them together on their own, and filled them with the new soil on their own.

They each have a garden notebook they are keeping growth notes/charts in, their garden journal and any plans or dreams they have for their garden beds. They each made a detailed garden plan showing what they want to put in their beds. They have big plans to have a street side vegetable stand outside our house this summer with the things they grow available to all who come by... for a modest fee, of course.

Because of their limited space, they are very careful about their plant selections. Alex is all about using his space to make the most money possible. He is turning into quite the entrepreneur. He chose a variety of tomato (with my help) called "Mortgage Lifter" which apparently produces the most pounds of tomatoes per vine and still has a decent flavor. Cyan, not being as interested in making money as Alex currently is, chose a tomato variety called "Sweet Pea" which is a tiny current tomato that is ripe when it blushes pink, and then filled the rest of her bed with things she likes to eat and flowers she wants to sell.

It is a mix of my two favorite things... homeschooling and gardening. I am just thrilled to be able to play in the dirt alongside my kids, and teach them about the food we eat as a family. Who knows? By the end of the season, I could be buying Alex's Mortgage Lifter tomatoes to add to our family meal. ;)




SF said...

Love it, love it, love it!!!!
Thanks for this wonderful inspiration. :) ox

Katie said...

Oh my word, what fun! Adding that to my journal of ideas for when JH is older.

Shaper of Little Souls said...

That is fabulous! I see your jars in this post. I would love to know more about it. I assume that is how you start the seeds? How long do you keep them in there? And how do you get them out without damaging the sprouts?

sharonsaad at gmail dot com

Frannie said...

I love it. You've given me so many ideas for future homeschooling projects. thank you! I would also like to know about those jars....very intriguing

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Hey there ladies! All of the things I did to make this project work were explained on my homeschooling blog, so I am going to direct you over there just so I don't end up repeating myself. :) But it has been an awesome project so far. I am crazy excited about what we will end up finding.


Hope you are having a fantastic day!



Anna said...

What a great project. I bet Cyan makes a pretty penny with those dainty tomatoes -- there has to be some foody near by, right?!

Anne said...

Wow it sounds wonderful!...:)
Love the picture of the jars.

ColorSlut said...

What a fantastic learning experience for them!

Shirley said...

Awesome! Good luck with all the grains! Although with all the rain we get you should be able to grow rice. LOL! They used to in the flooded fields back home in Charleston.....

Jody said...

Beautiful, Val.

Anonymous said...

Hey. Thanks for the comment on my blog. It sounds like Devin and Alex are the same height now! Devin is so crazy tall now, its weird! He has a mustache now and his voice is pitchy. So funny to listen to!

I, too, cant believe we've been friends for 9 years! Where does the time go?!?!

Glad we know each other. Glad you are in my life, even if its through a blog! Glad to have met you and your family. You are a true inspiration to me, every day. Just so ya know.

Gina said...

This all sounds awesome!

I teach a bread baking class to high schoolers at Church. I would love to know about the little cups and where you got the seeds to get the sprouts. My kids would love that.

Please post more on how you did all this - concerning grains. Very fascinating!

Jenny said...

What awesome ideas. It reminds me of a program my kids did with 4H. A local grocery store supplied all the seeds & plants. Then the kids grew their own veggies and sold them back to the store. It was neat to see how much work went into growing tomatoes and how much money they made. Thought it might inspire you to look for a similar program. Happy gardening!

Val in the Rose Garden said...


That's such a great idea! I don't know if we have a program around here like that, but I'll keep my eyes open. :)



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