Gardening Can Change the Way Your Child Looks at Education
Article by Lily Ann
Spring is here. As summer approaches and school time is getting close to the end, many children are getting restless and tired of school. They are looking forward to a great summer vacation. How can parents encourage their children to continue their studies?
Gardening is a very effective way to continue your child’s education. Children can use skills learned in school to research plants, how they grow, what care they need, which plants will do good in your zone, how people use plants (food, landscaping, etc.), and why plants are important to life. They will get real life experience of how food is produced. You may not realize it, but if you live in a city your child may think that food just comes from the grocery store. You can help your child get a real education outside of the text book.
Involve your child in every step from planning to harvesting. It will give him a practical application of every subject that he is taught in school. Gardening is a science. Together research different plants and gardening techniques. Read seed packets, gardening books, planting guides, and seed catalogs. Write about what you have learned. Use spelling skills to spell words correctly. Use mapping skills and math to plan out the garden plot. Provide hands-on experience of preparing the soil and planting and caring for the plants. Finally, reap the rewards with the harvest.
First, make a list of plants that would interest both of you and choose ones you will plant. Look at other gardens, in gardening books and catalogs. Read about each plant to see which ones will do good in your area. This is important because you want you child to have a successful experience. Be careful when ordering from catalogs. For example, if you live in in Washington State and you order an Orange Tree that grows wonderfully well in California you won’t get good results. If you live in the desert, you’re not going to grow a tropical plant. For the best results, go to a local nursery.
Using your child’s math skills measure your garden space. Research each plant to see how tall and wide each one grows. Use your child’s writing skills to record this information. Be sure he uses his spelling skills. Rule out any plants that are not going to fit. The child will then use mapping skills to draw a map of the garden and where each plant will grow. Let him use his artistic abilities to create a garden landscape.
If you live in an apartment with no available garden spot, use pots on the deck. You may even consider indoor gardening. Read about shade loving plants and different ways of indoor and container gardening. The child can still use mapping and math skills to plan out where each pot will sit. When choosing potting soil, let the child read labels and instructions. He can use reasoning skills to decide which soil is best. Comparing prices and calculating the total cost will use his math skills.
Next, prepare the soil and plant. Let the child learn the value of work. He works his mind to study soil preparation, ph balance, and mulching. He works his body to physically turn the soil, spread fertilizer, and put the seeds in the ground. Again, he uses math skills to plant each seed and plant at the correct depth and spacing. Can you begin to see how all the skills he is learning at school come together with real meaning?
The child learns responsibility when he cares for his garden every day. He will see the results of neglect if he neglects his duty of watering, weeding, and feeding his garden. He will continue to use reading, writing, and arithmetic to figure out how much water the garden needs, when to feed the plants, and how to give each plant the correct amount of nutrients.
Finally, the child will reap the reward of the harvest. He will enjoy delicious home-grown vegetables or a spectacular display of blooms (or both). Best of all, he will have used reading, writing, math, science, spelling, phonics, dictionary skills, and many other skills. He will be more prepared for the next year of school because he hasn’t forgotten his lessons over the long summer.
Plant a garden this year and watch your child grow.
About the Author
Lily Ann is a homeschooling mother. She and her children enjoy growing a large garden each summer Visit Gardener’s Pride for more gardening information. Visit Homeschool Fun for more homeschooling information.
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