Animals are an exciting part of the gardening experience. We are blessed to have a garden large enough for many creatures, great and small. We also have a number of exciting wildlife around our place to enjoy. Here are a few of our backyard residents.
There are a lot of ways to incorporate animals into your gardens and your children’s lives, though, even without the luxury of having a lot of garden space.
Worms are fascinating to observe. They munch through food scraps and create fantastic fertiliser for your plants. Want to build a worm farm? Instructions are readily available online. Alternatively, you can buy a complete kit with worms and all requirements from hardware stores, gardening centres and sometimes your local farmers' market.
Worm Observation Experiment
Worm Farm from Recycled Materials
Bird feeders are a second option for those with limited space. A simple bird feeder can be created using a pot plant saucer and some string or wire, and hung from a...
I've just come to the end of a free yearlong Permaculture course. It was delivered to me in weekly modules containing excellent videos with Heather Jo Flores and other inspirational teachers, beautiful artwork by Kt Shepherd and SO MUCH content relevant to people living a variety of lifestyles.
I don't normally review or recommend curriculum. It seems strange to say it, but actual curriculum products have been a tiny part of our homeschooling journey. There's one resource I did use for all six of my homeschool graduates all the way from Year 1 to Year 10. It was super-affordable, Australian, took only minutes to complete each day, had Teacher's Guides (Primary and Secondary) with all the answers so I could check answers quickly, and covered all the basic maths skills.
We complimented our studies of Maths with lessons in Khan Academy, other free video Maths lessons online, games, sitting and explaining concepts a few different ways, and developing handwritten worksheets, and manipulatives such as rods, blocks, counters and rulers. Mostly, though, we simply used these books, and I'll be using these books again, with Zeah from next year, when she is five.
Take a look at the New Wave Mental books here.
I first heard of John Holt when our eldest child was around 4 years old. There was a bookstore closing down in Sydney, and I bought a few titles at a bargain price and immersed myself in his wisdom. As often occurs when we are trying to absorb new information, it wasn’t the best timing and I made excuses for why Holt’s ideas were not for us. My background studying primary teaching may have influenced my initial reaction to John Holt's message!
As we trialed different methods of home education, I was more able to grasp Holt’s philiosophy of respect and freedom. Re-reading books such as Learning All the Time and Teach Your Own every few years has allowed me to continue to trust my children’s capacity for learning and creating.
There is room for John Holt’s philosophies in any home school, it's not just inspiration for unschoolers. We are eclectic learners – using some...
Few things in nature hold as much magic as seeds. With a small fistful of seeds, children can observe the full life cycle of plants. They can observe how plants reproduce from watching plants flower, go to seed and germinate.
To save seeds from your garden or wildflowers, collect them at maturity during the late morning on a dry day. Clean them to store in a cool, dark, dry place for re-sowing. If you have enough seeds sprinkle them around the garden to see when they come up again. Collecting your own seeds will save on seed costs, create a connection with nature through the seasons, and improve your gardening success rate as the seeds adapt to your locale. For more detailed instructions on cleaning seeds to store and save, look to resources such as The Seed Savers Handbook.
Various types of plants have different methods for sowing and saving seed:
Annuals usually grow from seed through part of a year, then seeds are saved and stored or lay dormant in the ground until the...
I only recently came across Twinkl. Someone shared a link to a resource on Facebook, and I went to check it out. I discovered that Twinkl had heaps of fantastic resources suitable for Zeah (4) which I could print and use straight away to compliment our learning about Australian Animals.
Twinkl are currently offering everything on their site for FREE because of Covid-19. There are hundreds of thousands of resources, including a Home Learning Hub for use during school closures for children aged 3 to 16! They always have a whole section especially for homeschoolers here - it includes not only subject areas, but themed resources (one of my favourite homeschool methods). Twinkl also offer specifically Australian resources, resources in various languages, a wellbeing section, resources for students with special needs, and a cool Twinkl Create tool for making your own resources specific to your family's...