Gardening is more than just a fun and productive activity. It is more than just a weekend hobby or a way to add a little extra food to the budget menu. For homeschoolers and for those interested in furthering the practical education of their children, it is also a great activity for helping kids to learn. Kids who garden and learn how to feed themselves and nurture the soil around them are learning practical life skills. It makes for a “groundbreaking” education.
How so? Here are some of the ways. Gardening:
Teaches Planning and Goal Setting – Great gardens actually begin months before the digging, planting, and harvesting. It is not only a great lesson in patience, it is also instrumental in teaching them that good things come to those who have goals and plans. Help your kids lay out their garden plan and decide which plants will go where, keeping in mind that companion planting will help a garden thrive. They also need to think about ways to attract pollinators and which plants and flowers will work best. They are creating a balanced mini ecosystem and that doesn’t happen by accident.
Teaches Them to Grow Food – Recessions happen. Times get tough and we need to live frugally and on less. It is always advantageous to know how to grow your own food. Relying on grocery stores exclusively makes you a somewhat of a slave. Growing food on the other hand teaches self sufficiency and survivalism.
Teaches Math Skills – Do some simple math to determine how much money it took to grow the garden and how much you saved by not purchasing that same food at the grocery store. Kids can also calculate square footage, create garden plan blueprints, measure spacing between plants, plot plant growth, and calculate how much wood is needed for raised beds.
Teaches Language Arts – Small children can read garden themed storybooks and then plant what they’ve read about. Older kids can be called upon to research native plants species, weed and pest control tactics, and other topics such as biodiversity and permaculture.
Teaches Science – What better classroom than a garden? Kids can learn about rainfall, climate change, life cycles, seasons, insects, animals, and soil conditions just to name a few.
You may just want to get the kids involved in gardening to make them more well rounded individuals. That is an awesome goal. If you are interested in pursuing the garden as an educational tool with some sort of curriculum then I suggest starting with this school garden curriculum. Also the book The Garden Classroom: Hands-On Activities in Math, Science, Literacy, and Art is amazing. Enjoy!