Homeschooling and Gardening – What Your Child Can Learn and Grow in a Garden

The experience of growing a garden can help home school students learn a great deal. A garden can be very rewarding and also very frustrating. Growing a successful garden doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some things that your home school student can learn from working on a garden:

1. Practical demonstration of how plants grow – You can read all you want about plant cycles in a textbook, but until you see it happen before your eyes, it doesn’t always make sense. Maintaining a garden shows children how a seed grows into a plant and how weeds grow right along with plants. They see a demonstration of how weeds can choke out a plant if they are not properly cared for.

2. Problem solving skills – When your plant doesn’t grow or you see holes or bugs all over your plants, you need to figure out what to do. This might cause motivation for further research on how to take care of the problem.

3. Growing plants can take some patience and perseverance – Sometimes it’s hard to wait for that seed to pop out of the ground or for the fruit to appear on their plant. Sometimes those pesky weeds keep coming up and need to be pulled and pulled again. Sometimes you need to keep tending to the plant that gets bugs or diseased. Regular maintenance of weeds is required to have a successful garden.

4. Gardening can be good therapy – After working hard and maintaining a garden it can be a wonderful experience to just go out in your garden and walk around to look at the plants and the wonders of God’s creation.

5. Multiple grades can benefit – A two year old and a 100 year old person can learn from and enjoy a garden. A small child can help plant and cover seeds over with dirt along with picking a few weeds. An older child can pick quite a few more weeds and learn about how the flower turns into the harvest. All ages can help with harvesting and processing the food that was harvested.

Even children living in a city can benefit from gardening. All you need is some dirt, a seed, water and sunlight. Try some easy plants first like: carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, and many more. Sometimes maintaining a garden can teach your child much more than they would ever learn from a book. There are many benefits for both parent and student.

It’s All Too Much – An Easy Plan For Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff by Peter Walsh

After reading and enjoying “Enough Already!” by Peter Walsh, I purchased his earlier book, “It’s All Too Much.” I enjoyed this one too. The book’s subtitle is “An Easy Plan For Living A Richer Life With Less Stuff” and I found that to be just what this book was.

I think one of the most important lines of the book comes near the end when Walsh writes, “Getting organized for the sake of getting organized is a waste of time. Getting organized because it helps you live a richer, less stressed, happier, and more focused life, now that’s a goal worth pursuing.”

Walsh presents practical advice on getting rid of stuff, but also encouraging words to live a life that fulfills you and not one that is burdensome and stressful due to having too much. Walsh instructs you to think about the life you really want, including the home that will enrich your life and be a pace to live, not just store things.

The beginning chapters in part one, The Clutter Problem, provide a starting place to analyze your home to determine if you are a clutter junkie, and what excuses you have been using to not get organized and take control of your stuff. Then Walsh has you imagine the life you want to live and determine what your ideal home would be. Once you have laid this basic groundwork and are motivated to do something about your clutter, you progress to part two of the book, Putting Clutter in Its Place.

The first step of part two is the kick start. Walsh helps you tackle the surface clutter and get started with your de-junking with a quick and dirty sweep of your clutter. He offers practical advice and suggestions to week through things that may be bogging your home and life down. He combines this with motivating words to help you get started and stick to it. He then instructs you on making a chart of all the rooms and areas, or zones, of your home to design a plan to systematically de-clutter and organize you entire living quarters.

Walsh then includes specific chapters on various rooms such as: Master Bedroom, Kids’ Rooms, Family and Living Rooms, Home Office, Kitchen, Dining Room, Bathroom, and finally the Garage, Basement, and Other Storerooms. Each of these chapters include suggestions and tips to help you maximize your space and become more organized and less stressed over stuff.

The final steps and concluding chapters provide strategies on Maintenance, a Cleanup Checkup, and New Rituals to keep your home de-cluttered, stress free, and a place to enjoy living.

The material in this book is not earth shattering or completely new. You can find some of the same suggestions and similar strategies in other organization books. However, Walsh presents the information in a casual motivating style that is enjoyable to read. I put Peter Walsh up there with my all time favorite De-junking and Cleaning Expert, Don Aslett.

I’ve never been as cluttered as some of the people that Aslett and Walsh write about, but maybe that is because I periodically read books on de-cluttering and organization to help keep me on the path. I’ll admit, my biggest weakness is paper clutter than sometimes accumulates too much, and then I have to take the time to sort and get rid of stuff. Each time I read a book such as this, it not only helps me help others, but I also become a bit better at staying organized myself. The motivational shot works.

If clutter and stuff are a problem, I highly recommend “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan For Living A Richer Life With Less Stuff” by Peter Walsh. It is easy to read, motivating, and full of practical solutions to clutter and stuff so that you can enjoy life more, and that is really what life is all about anyway. Isn’t it?

Container Gardening Ideas For Your Home

Many gardeners have given up on the idea of a garden because they lack space, time or lots of experience. But if growing plants is an interest of yours container gardening could be your answer. Container gardens will allow you to enjoy “playing in the dirt” without investing a lot of time or money. You can get very creative in container gardening using vegetables, decorative grasses or flowers and herbs. You can plant a container garden with any plant that would grow outside. The trick is to come up with some creative ideas for your container garden.

You should do some research at your local nursery or on the internet to choose the plants you wish to grow to help you come up with some ideas. Try to use plants that complement each other and have the same basic needs for water, air and light.

A container garden idea that has taken off recently is the landscape container. Some people plant a simple evergreen tree in a container with good drainage to place at their front door. Or you could plant an assortment of flowers for a bright and beautiful vista. If you do plant flowers, add plants that spill over the sides of the container to add more visuals and interest. What ever container gardening idea you can come up with can be placed on a deck, patio, and balcony or by the front doors. Put them somewhere that your family and friends can enjoy.

You can grow vegetables in containers but choose wisely. Vegetables like squash and pole beans need lots of space, while tomatoes need a deep pot. When you grow your own vegetables you will have tasty produce not the bland stuff that is in the grocery store. Nothing tastes better than a tomato right off the vine. There are many chefs and good home cooks that grow their own for just this reason. Don’t forget to pot some herbs, they are pretty plants and add zest to your meals.

But don’t just stick to vegetables and herbs; why not add fruit trees too? Instead of using an evergreen tree, pot a fruit tree instead. There are many dwarf varieties available that work best in pots since with pots there is less soil therefore less nutrients to draw from. If you live in a year round warm climate citrus trees are perfect. In other regions, stick to pear, apple and cherry trees. Another good container gardening idea is to grow strawberries. With strawberries climate does not matter since you can bring the container inside. Fresh strawberries are amazingly sweet and delicious. Imagine how good a bowl of fresh strawberries will be, strawberries that you have just picked.

Remember that container gardens dry out more quickly than traditional gardens. Be diligent about watering your plants if you don’t want your container gardening ideas to wither and die. Container gardens must be fertilized too. Keep a small notebook handy so you can write down the needs of your plant so you will always know when to water or feed. Keep an eye out for pests. If you find a container that has an infestation, isolate it immediately and treat it with a natural pesticide. You don’t want harsh chemicals on fruits, vegetables or herbs. A good natural pesticide recipe is:

In a jar, combine 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1 cup vegetable oil. Shake vigorously. In an empty spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons of this mixture and 1 cup water. Use at ten-day intervals (or more often if needed) to rid plants of whiteflies, mites, aphids, scales, and other pests.

 

So, do some research, come up with your own unique container gardening ideas, gather your materials and get to work. The fruits of your labor will be amazing.

Happy Container Gardening!

Copyright © Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.

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