Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Make Your Garden A Learning Place

Schooling in home and garden

A recent finding, Homeschooling on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic, published by the United States Census Bureau, shows that homeschooling has surged in the wake of the crisis du jour“The global COVID-19 pandemic has sparked new interest in homeschooling and the appeal of alternative school arrangements has suddenly exploded.” 

From 1999 to 2012 the rate of homeschooling remained steady at about 3.3%. That changed significantly in 2020. In spring of 2020, "5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling."

"By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12).” That represented “true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school.”

Even with many school districts resuming in-class learning, many more parents are not sending their children back, electing instead to continue homeschooling. Reasons might include health, safety, transparency in education, philosophical and theological differences, quality of learning. They are now free to explore the many resources available to them. Some can be found in the garden, even if confined to a patio or balcony.

What courses can be found there? Well, I count botany, biology, zoology, horticulture, chemistry, meteorology, geology, food science, math, history, economy, art and design, music, reading, writing and journaling, religion, social and technical skills, to name a few. I bet that an entire garden-centered curriculum could be developed that integrates all of those disciplines. My recent blog post, Take Your Kids On Nature Walks, touched on this. Classes can be indoors or out, casual or structured, but always mindful. Inquisitive parents and students can delve deeper into any of them. The various disciplines can be easily adapted to any age or competency level, and students can advance based upon their mastery of the subjects. No child need be left behind.

Where to begin

If you’ve never homeschooled before, beginning can be a real challenge. Break it down into manageable tasks. 

A quick DuckDuckGo search revealed the following resources:

This article, of course, is not exhaustive, nor is it meant to be. But the surge in homeschooling is a welcome sign that the educational status quo is not cast in stone. Better education is possible. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, other relative or concerned friend, I encourage you to explore the possibilities, join and be a part of the movement.

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