Summer Gardening - The Outdoor Classroom
- Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Gardening is an educational tool that gets outstanding reviews from educators worldwide. How much more perfect to have one for the homeschool environment! What an impact and advantage a garden can have on a family's budget, and as a resource for hands-on activities, academic studies and recess fun. Let's take a closer look at this dynamic asset.
The Traditional Garden
The picture often visualized of a garden has a quaint narrow path, bordered by an array of pastel-colored flowers, leading to manicured rows of heirloom vegetables. Tomato plants are bursting with red, and golden corn stalks tower over it all. It's full of beauty, fascination and edible delights. How does it work for education and the home? Let's imagine...
...the Garden is a University
Within, it holds volumes of knowledge about the scientific certainties of creation. It boasts of a curriculum that teaches the phenomena of life, and all within a season's time frame.
Its unique classroom environment – outdoors — initiates curiosity, exploration and discovery. It is a safe and pure place for children to go which taps their effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings.
It stimulates them to become creative and enjoy the satisfaction and confidence that comes from interacting with and producing a finished product on their own!
Tuition and Entrance Requirements
This is the best part: it doesn't require more than the price of seeds and some soil, sun, and water. Whether you have room for a large garden, a small four feet by six feet patch of ground to work, or a deck and stairwell for planters, you're set to go!
Your children are allowed to enroll here regardless of age or IQ. They are fully accepted and allowed to learn and achieve according to their own abilities.
A Peek at the Subjects Taught
Home Economics: Children learn to save money by growing their own foods, spices and craft supplies. They are given an opportunity to actively contribute to the family, generating a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Zoology: Insects are easy to observe and identify in a garden and they provoke special interest, since their behavior and life cycles have an affect on the outcome of a student's personally tended plants.
Botany: Observing plants as they grow in living motion, from a small seed right through to bearing a beautiful flower or edible fruit makes an indelible impression on the mind.
Math: It's fun for kids to search the weekly food flyers for the market price of the food they just grew. Math calculations let them see the savings they made to the family food bill or, if you really want to generate excitement about math lessons, tell the kids that if they calculate the value of what they grow, and are willing to give you a price you can't refuse, you'll buy from them instead of the store!
Outdoor Recreation and Art Appreciation: While planting, tending and gathering flowers and foods, children get healthy exercise. Their senses are stimulated as they experience the surprise and excitement of seeing the brilliant display of colors when flowers bloom and vegetables change daily in size and shape. They hear the industrious honeybee as it performs to trigger the garden's success. They feel the many varied textures of soil, plants, and produce. They enjoy smelling the flowers and love to show-and-tell the secret of arousing herb plants for their aromas. And best of all, they get to taste test from the abundant garden-food storehouse when it's at the peak of freshness; sweet, crisp, and juicy.
Character Development: Interaction with growth teaches diligence and industry, while nurturing patience, and leads to confident expectation. (You can't rush the sweet peas, but they will be ready in time).
Enhancement of Scripture: Experiences in a garden greatly enrich scriptural references and teach truths. For instance, the discovery that seeds produce the same fruits that they came from reaffirms Genesis 1:12, describing creation: "seed producing after like kind". Evolution is unsupported.
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