If you’re looking for a way to get your kids excited about learning, why not try gardening? Gardening is a great way to teach kids about science, math, and even history. I’ve got some tips and tricks for incorporating gardening into your homeschool curriculum, and your whole family will benefit.
I’ll also provide a few printable worksheets that you can use along with your kiddos to plan out a garden and learn about plants and seeds. So whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been gardening with your kids for years, this post is for you!
Homeschool Gardening: Why it’s important
There are so many reasons why gardening is a great activity for kids (and adults alike). For one, it gets them outside in the fresh air and away from the ever present distraction of screens. The vitamin D that comes from the sun is reason alone to get into gardening, but there are other benefits as well.
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There’s nothing quite like watching a plant grow to give kids a sense of accomplishment. Seeing that first seedling pop through the soil may be just the ticket to encourage your student in a lifelong love of gardening.
Gardening also teaches patience and responsibility. Kids will learn to care for plants by watering, weeding, pruning, and harvesting. They’ll need to be patient as they wait for seeds to germinate and plants to grow. And they’ll be responsible for the care of their plants from start to finish.
Are these benefits limited to those families who homeschool and also garden? Absolutely not, we know many families who choose traditional schooling who garden at home or whose children have a class garden. I do think homeschool families have a unique opportunity to reap much of the benefit of their home garden though, as they can take it from seed to kitchen.
Incorporating Gardening Into Your Curriculum
One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can tailor your curriculum to fit your family’s interests and needs. If you have a gardener in the family, why not make gardening a part of your homeschooling journey?
If a grandparent or other family member is already an experienced gardener, consider making this a fun time for your child by spending time with that person and gardening. Or if no one currently gardens, this can be an adventure you embark on together.
You can grow a garden just about anywhere – in the ground, in raised beds, in containers on a patio or balcony. You can even start seeds indoors if you don’t have an outdoor space (see my tutorial for an easy DIY Mini Greenhouse!). No matter where you live or what kind of space you have, there’s a way to make gardening work for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, try incorporating some of these gardening activities into your homeschool:
- Planting a seed: Have your child plant a seed in a small pot or container. Talk about the needs of plants (sun, water, rich soil) and have them water the seed daily. They can keep a journal to record how tall the plant grows each day.
- Planting by the moon: Research which plants grow best when planted during certain phases of the moon. Have your child plant a few different kinds of seeds and see if there’s a difference in growth.
- Soil comparison: Have an older child? Encourage them to test and see if soil really is an important factor. Use two different types of potting soils to see if more expensive soil is superior to cheaper soil or even the native soil in your yard.
- Community garden: Much like a community garden where people rent plots, consider giving each child a small raised bed or container and let them choose what to grow and tend. Make the goal to grow something the family can eat or enjoy.
- Plant Talk: Does positive talk actually affect how a plant grows? There have been studies regarding this and even an episode of Mythbusters. Give it it a try and see if a plant thrives under positive talk!
- Business-minded garden: Do you have students with an entrepreneurial spirit? Consider helping them plant blueberry bushes or another high yielding crop to sell during the summer. Our daughter did this with herbs. Each herb bundle was $1, and she loved tending her herbs and making some money on the side.
- Self Sufficiency Trial: If you’d like to really make the garden into a family sustaining venture, consider planning a garden with the intention that for a period of time (day, weekend, week) after the veggies are established, your family will only eat what they grow or can barter for with garden goods. It would give great perspective on what it takes to really feed a family.
Gardening Resources for Students
If you’d like to get started with these free printables for your students, just use the box below to have them sent directly to your inbox. These are great resources for learning about seeds and how they work, as well as giving your students a guide to plan their first garden.
Some of our favorite resources to have on hand that may not be free, but are totally worth it, are:
- Secrets of the Vegetable Garden (Shine-a-Light Book)
- Earthbox Junior Garden Kit (I love Earthbox, and you can see my review here!)
- Junior Master Gardener Class- Check with your local Cooperative Extension office to see if they offer this excellent class that teaches kids all about gardening.
For more resources on fun garden activities for kids and great gardening books that will complement any homeschool gardening plans, then check out these posts:
As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate gardening into your homeschool. No matter what your interests or needs are, there’s a way to make it work for you. So get outside, get dirty, and have some fun! Your kids (and you) will love it.