Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Had a beautiful day today so the kids and I went outside to start garden seeds in the seed starting trays.  It is still too early yet to plant in the ground but this will give us a head start.

Little Miss planted some corn and pumpkin.  She hopes to get enough pumpkins to sell some next autumn as a fund raiser for a church camp she attends.  She also planted sugar pod peas, which we love to snack on.

Pookie helped me to plant various types of squash, cucumbers, tomatoes for canning, and some grape tomatoes for salads and snacking.

After we were done, Little Miss found a few flower pots to plant marigolds, morning glory, and lavender into. 

Having the kids helping to plant the seeds was a fun project.  I intend to transplant a sugar pod pea and grape tomato plant in their yard for them to enjoy.  As soon as the weather is warm enough, we will plant some climbing green bean plants as well in their yard and maybe a strawberry patch.  I remember as a kid, going over to the family garden and picking a handful of green beans, peas, or some other treat to snack on.  Having a mini garden in their yard will encourage the fun and healthy snacking.

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With spring in the air, it is only natural here on the homestead to start thinking about gardening.  Being homeschoolers, this is also the perfect time to start a unit study about plants.  The unit study is mainly covering science only, with a bit of art and reading thrown in.  I have added this onto our current Heart of Dakota curriculum.

The main resources that we are using are:

Ecology for Every Kid by Jan Van Cleave

Organic Gardening for Kids by Elizabeth Scholl

Sprouting Seed Science Projects by Ann Benbow & Colin Mably

Kids Pumpkin Projects by Deanna F. Cook

Discovering Science Plants workbook by Franklin Schaffer Publications


Our first project is to soak about 4 seeds each from 4 vegetable varieties.  We chose pumpkin, sugar peas, corn, and green beans.  The seeds are soaking overnight so that tomorrow Little Miss can dissect a seed from each variety to compare them.  Some seeds are monocot, meaning that they have 1 first leaf.  Others are dicot, meaning that there are 2 first leaves.  She will be charting which seeds are monocot and which are dicot.  Her are project will be to draw the cross-section of a seed showing it’s various parts.  Pookie is also doing the project but will be coloring a picture of a sprouting seed that I drew for him today.

Jan Van Cleave’s book has activities that demonstrate the connection between animals and plant life through habitats.  She also has a section on the definition of a weed and what use they are in nature.

Organic Gardening for Kids teaches children about composting and basic garden skills.  There are many terms that the children will learn as well as how organic gardening benefits us.

Sprouting Seed Science Projects contains 10 chapters that go through the entire process of how seeds are scattered, growing conditions, and the process of how they sprout & grow.  Each chapter has it’s own science experiment to go along with it.  All look fun and very educational.

Discovering Science Plants workbook is an actual unit study complete with the worksheets to go along with the lessons.  I happened upon this gem at a used book store.  The front of the book has the lessons, which are all very short, with the worksheets following.  It is rated for Primary Grades.

Kids Pumpkin Projects is the book I was so excited about last year.  We found it at the library, but sadly it was too late in the growing season to reap the most benefit from the book.  It starts out in spring with kids planning out their pumpkin patch and goes through the growing season from the planning stages through harvest.  Throughout the book, there are recipes and activities that are both educational and fun for the kids and mom!  Little Miss is wanting to grow her own patch of pumpkins to sell next autumn.  This is the perfect book to help turn her “cash crop” into a homeschool project.

Little Miss is especially excited about this unit.  She is still doing the science lessons in her Heart of Dakota curriculum, but wanted to do this additional one.  Her proud moment today was learning about monocots & dicots.  She is making a poster using plant pictures to classify them as a monocot or dicot.

On a side note, Little Miss is also using this time to work on her plant color wheel that she wanted to do earlier.  The color wheel is based upon the various color families that vegetables & fruits belong to.  Each color family provides specific nutrients to our diet.  She is making a wheel that shows which family each of the fruits & vegetables we eat belong to and what nutrients they provide.

This is one of the reasons why we love homeschooling.  While she is getting a sound education through her curriculum, we also have the freedom to pursue these other areas that interest her the most.  By giving her that ability, we are able to teach her far more than if we made her “stick to the program” and not allow her to reach out to other things.


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We have been in the Catskills area of New York visiting family for the past week.  What a fun time it has been.  My Father-in-law is feeling better now that they have increased his medication dosages.  Yesterday, he felt so good that he took me for our much anticipated ride on his motorcycle.  What fun! 

It has been a trip that has me reflecting much about our chosen lifestyle.  The more that I see how the economy’s effects on family and others, I am becoming more convinced that we are being wise in our decision. 

Prices are going up.  There is no indication that they will go down again anytime soon.  I am convinced that our Grandparents and earlier generations were right.  Having the ability to grow our own food and be as self-reliant as possible is a path of freedom.

In any area of our life that we become dependent on outside sources for our needs, we fall into bondage to those sources.  If you doubt this, try going without electricity.  How would you manage?   Take a look at everything that you have in your home that requires electricity.  Appliances, lighting, heat, air conditioning, fans, computers, clocks, radio, and TV all require electricity.  How would you store your food?  How would you prepare it for your meals?  Pretty basic, but a necessity.  Now, here is where the bondage comes in.  Unless you are able to get solar, wind, or some other alternative source for your electricity you are stuck with having to buy your electricity from a single source.  You can’t shop around and compare prices with other power companies.  You are forced to buy from the local company.  This is a form of bondage.  Not the slavery of old, but whenever you have a loss of basic freedoms to choose for yourself you are in a type of bondage.

Joe and I are trying to be as self-reliant as possible.  This gives us the freedom to do things our way.  We don’t have to pay the higher costs, because we have the freedon to choose what and where we buy what we need.

It is heartbreaking to see others struggle, working full-time but still barely making ends meet.  Having to make choices between groceries or heating bill is a decision that no one should have to make.  The hard part is when they make more than the limit for getting aid, but not enough to make ends meet.  They fall through the cracks.  Many are renting their home/apartment in the city to be close to work.  Because of renting, they are unable to garden and grown their food.  Housing costs and other basic expenses are higher due to the presumed convenience of living in the city.  Yet, their income does not match the cost of living rate.  Why don’t they move to a cheaper area?  If you don’t have the money to meet your basic needs, how can you afford to move?  They are stuck.

I am so grateful that we live where we do and have the ability to live a lifestyle that allows us to be self-reliant in as many areas as possible.  Yes, it is more work, but the blessing and peace of knowing that we are able to meet our family’s needs without depending on others makes the work worth it.

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