When learning about plants, like most other subjects, regular observation and participation is the best teacher. For a child (and most of us adults) there is no better incentive to garden than harvesting food to snack upon!
When creating a snack patch for children, consider creating a low, narrow garden bed or use pots so that they can reach to sow seeds, water plants, remove weeds and eat their crops. Garden beds can be made from recycled objects quite inexpensively. Starting with a small area or a few pots, even one planter box is enough to assist the child in developing an understanding of producing food from seed to table.
Other useful items include small garden tools, a watering can, and a basket or bucket to collect produce. Hats, garden gloves and boots offer protection for gardeners of all ages.
Examples of food plants which are quite easy to grow and fabulous to snack on include snow peas, green beans (climbing or bush varieties), cherry...
Nature really is the ideal muse. It has been an important part of our home education journey for over two decades. My favourite things to do in nature are: walk, take photos, harvest wild foods, swim in lakes and rivers, beachcomb, collect tiny treasures for our nature shelf, gaze at the clouds (or the stars, and the moon), grow food, create ephemeral art and observe animals. My other favourite thing is sharing these experiences with my children, and their friends.
I hope you have an opportunity during the current situation where it's difficult to get out and about, to still be in nature, in any small way, every day.
Nature Play Australia exists to support educators and families to increase the amount of unstructured play time children spend in nature. They offer various tools, projects and resources nature play. Click on Locations on their site to access information specific to your state. And there are extra resources here to support families...
How Homeschooling Changes Everything
Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon is a book I bought to share with our local Home Ed Reading Circle last year. It's a large format paperback, of around 300 pages. Because of its presentation and title, I was expecting it to be another book about the benefits of home education. It's SO much more! The contributions from home educators all around the world give a beautiful, heart-felt insight into the culture that is homeschooling. It's simplicity is inspiring!
The chapters in Part One are a great guide to the content of this book:
Natural Learning Happens Everywhere
Nurturing the Learner
Work, Play & Other Essentials
Connecting With Others
Collaborating Benefits Everyone
Homeschooling Changes Everything
The whole of Part Two is a well-presented series of chapters outlining the possibilities for learning in each subject area as well as talking about travel, field trips and full-spectrum learning.
In my 20+ years of...
'Together we have come to realise that for most men
the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.' Ivan Illich
I’ve long been interested in the philosophy of education. When studying education at university in the early 1990s, I loved learning about Paulo Freire, famous for the quote, "Education is politics. It can be used to liberate or domesticate a people." There was much talk and reading during that first year of my degree about individualised education and we were almost led to believe that there was an educational revolution happening. Apparently, when we walked into classrooms in less than four years’ time we would achieve amazing things in ways never possible before. Many of us had completed high school only months earlier and were doubtful that what the lecturers were arousing in us could ever be put into practise.
About a quarter of the students studying education dropped out before the first semester ended....
Harvest your bounty and dry some seeds to plant in the Spring. Children can draw on the labels and sort seeds into tiny containers or packets. Their small fingers crunch dry pods as they discover nature’s treasures.
The colourful autumn leaves hold the last rays of summer sunshine. Use these leaves for making prints with paint in hues of yellow, orange, red and brown. You can also try fabric paint on calico for bags, cushion covers or wall-hangings.
Collect a basket of nuts, seeds and twigs to create mobiles, critters, puppets, collages on boxes and other items. Playing with nature’s gifts will inspire you to their varied uses.
Interesting effects can be created using these items and autumn leaves to create imprints or patterns in clay. Roll clay into a 5-10mm sheet. Create imprints and cut them out using a plastic knife. Pierce holes if required. Dry slowly by covering creations...
A garden is a place to play, learn, explore, work, relax and connect with nature and each other. Supervised babies and toddlers usually enjoy time touching and eating things in the garden. Talk about your surroundings as you show them things. Being outdoors provides health benefits and promotes calm, and growing some of your own food is the ultimate way to interact with the earth. Gardening is dirty work, though, so avoid any fuss about mess by wearing appropriate clothing for the job.
Preschoolers are often enthusiastic gardeners. The magic of propagating seeds appeals to their sense of wonder. They are usually eager to help – especially if moving dirt, using water or harvesting are the tasks at hand! Working together, they will soon learn how to grow their own plants and care for these themselves. Edible gardens often inspire picky eaters to try a wider variety of foods.
Life cycles, cacti, bonsai, cooking, craft, and wild creatures will fascinate many older children. They...
Homeschooling mum of seven, Belinda Moore, describes what a homeschooling lifestyle is really like.
Over twenty years ago I first heard about homeschooling. It was in the days before home internet connection, so all I had at first was a phone number of a Christian curriculum supplier in another state. From there I found the nearest contact person, who lived about 250km away from me. From there I made another phone call and we received a newsletter in the mail full of personal stories, drawings, articles and inspiration. All the while I was thinking that this wasn’t the path for us, but as a parent and educator, I was intrigued.
Time passed and more snippets of homeschooling information and serendipitous contacts came into our lives. We managed to visit with the homeschoolers 250km away - and that sealed it! Theirs was a lifestyle we longed for; time with our children, free of the constraints of an education system we weren’t confident in, learning from...