Home and Family, Homeschooling

Spring Learning Ideas

March 20th is the first day of spring this year.  This post is in celebration of the return of daffodils and park days. 

Spring is a great time for fresh ideas. Try something new…have an adventure.

Plant or grow something yummy or beautiful
If you’ve never gardened, that’s okay.  Read a book, or consider taking a class. Talk with a master gardener. One can often be located through your local extension office. Plant something you have never grown before. If you collected seeds in the fall, put them in the ground. Plant a tree. Learn to prune a tree. Learn about composting. Experiment with an herb garden. Learn to use fresh herbs to cook.  Plant some for their medicinal properties. Learn to landscape with flowers and other plants. If you have limited space, try container gardening.

Go on a nature walk
Look for signs of spring. Listen for bird song. How many can you identify? Look for buds and bulbs beginning to grow. Watch for bugs and signs of animals life.  Enjoy the blue sky.

Start a nature notebook
Visit the canyon, a local farm or zoo, and parks for things to sketch. Try using pencils, watercolors and other mediums. Start watching the sky. When the sun comes up. Chart the weather.

Living science
Order a butterfly cage. Start an earthworm farm. If you are zoned for it, and have the space, get baby chicks or rabbits.  Build a beehive.

Get moving
Put the television away for awhile. Start walking or get out the bikes and helmets. Learn about exercise and heart rates as a family. Teach your kids to play hopscotch, four square, kickball, Duck-duck-goose. Take up a new sport: frisbee, badminton, biking, hiking, basketball.

Spring projects
pring cleaning: indoors and outdoors. Learn to repair a bicycle. Learn to make jam. Install a clothes line and hang out a batch of laundry. Help an older neighbor clean their yard.  Clean up the BBQ.

Plan your family vacation
After all they are all educational, aren’t they?

Reading Suggestions

How the Earth Works
This is part of Reader’s Digest series. Watch for all of them. Fantastic hands-on science.

Anything by Holling Clancy Holling.

Field guides. Our favorites are by Golden Press and DK Publishing.

Look for nature books by Seymour Simon.

Eyewitness Books on weather, planets and lots of other nature subjects.

Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte

Back to Basics, Published by Reader’s Digest

Wild Days by Karen Rackliffe

Hang on mom, you’re almost there!

Finances, Gardening

Favorite gardening books

We are finally getting a taste of spring!  Warmer days, cool nights, sunshine, and buds on the tips of trees.  Time to think about the garden!

In our home, we sit down and talk about what each person would like to eat, preserve, or try during the coming growing season.  Once we have our list made, and our garden planned and drawn on graph paper, it is time to inventory our seeds and decide what new thing we will be trying.  Some years we try a new variety of vegetable.  Some years we experiment with a different growing method.  But each year many things remain the same.  We always plant peas, and corn, and tomatoes, and cucumbers.  We always work as a family.  The weeds always seem to get a bit beyond us by late August.  And we always eat well!

The amount of food that is produced from just a few seeds can be worth some thought!  We have a large garden plot and plant around two dozen different kinds of veg, but even if you have just a bit of space, you can eat well with a few tomatoes plants, one cucumber, some lettuce, a squash, and a couple pepper plants. You can even share a packet of seeds with a friend or neighbor, and split the cost if you only need a small amount.

Not sure how or where to start?  Here are some of my favorite books.  They cover a variety of options for gardening.  Enjoy!

1001 Hints & Tips for Your Garden published by Reader’s Digest

The 12-Month Gardener  by Jeff Ashton

Carrots Love Tomatoes and Roses Love Garlic by Louise Riotte

Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham

Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon

Garden Smarts by Shelley Goldbloom

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control by Barbara W. Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardens    Suzanne Ashworth

Crops in Pots by Bob Purnell