7 Ways Homeschooling is Like Gardening
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If you’re anything like me, you like to spend time in the garden. Recently I realized there are some aspects of gardening that remind me of things we have to deal with on our journey as homeschooling parents. Here are seven similarities I’ve discovered—
Weeding (or dealing with the problems of homeschooling) takes constant attention:
It doesn’t matter what kind of garden you are tending, you can’t deny the existence of weeds. There are many ways to stop or slow them down, but weeds are just part of the package deal. They are something you have to deal with. If you don’t, well—they’ll take over your entire garden.
The same is true in homeschooling. Weeds (or problems) can rear their ugly head, and you have to pluck them out right away. Whether those weedy issues are a child you’re just not on the same page with, a homeschool co-op that isn’t working out, or a mama who is overwhelmed, you’ve definitely got things to deal with! Once you take care of one issue, another is usually taking root in the corner.
Take heart, mama. Weeding is time consuming, but totally worth it in the end.
Gardening (and homeschooling) is best when you “get dirty”:
You could pay someone else to plant and tend your garden, but what would be the personal reward? Gardening is definitely the best (and the most fun) when you get in there and get the dirt on your hands and under your nails.
Likewise, homeschooling is best when you’re involved. Not in an obsessive, overbearing way (remember—nothing grows in the shade of a tower) but in an I’m here to help or here’s a super fun thing we can do or let’s figure out how you can explore this interest as deeply as you wish sort of way.
Get your hands in there! Don’t be afraid to get in the dirt with your kids while they are exploring. It makes for a more fabulous experience.
You can only control so much about your garden (and your homeschooling journey):
When gardening, you have to deal with weather. You aren’t in charge of how much sunshine comes each day, how much rain you get (or don’t get), and whether or not a windstorm whips through and knocks everything down.
Sound anything like homeschooling?
It’s sometimes stressful to think about all the things we’d like to control (but can’t) about our children’s lives. As homeschoolers, we sometimes think we’re raising our kids in a more controlled environment where we can let in what we want and keep out the rest.
Which may be true. But maybe it isn’t.
Regardless, kids are still kids and each one is an individual. They come with their own likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. You have no control over whether your child will have to deal with things like learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, or food allergies.
Personalities? Attitudes? Nope. You can’t control those either. Isn’t this fun?
You really shouldn’t compare your garden (or homeschooling journey) to anyone else’s:
The performance of what we care for is often cause for competition. In gardening, we wonder why our neighbor’s petunias aren’t drooping like ours or why their bean plants are tall and green when ours have barely sprouted.
This happens all the time in homeschooling. We’re quick to compare how our homeschool stacks up to other homeschools around us. We worry that our kids aren’t doing as well in math. We’re proud that our kids are doing better in handwriting. We wonder if we should be taking more field trips. We wonder if we should switch to the curriculum that other family is using.
Homeschooling mamas of awesome, we’re not all working within the same situation. Just as gardeners have different tools, seeds, and soils to work with, homeschooling families are dealing with differences as well. Our children’s personalities and abilities, our family situations, as well as our purpose for homeschooling in the first place, all dictate that our experiences will be (and should be) different.
Everyone has advice about gardening (and homeschooling):
Ask any gardener for advice about how to best grow a specific plant, and they’re likely to talk your ear off about what worked for them. Everyone has an opinion on how to grow something better than how someone else has chosen to do it.
Sound like homeschooling?
From the moment that someone reveals they plan to homeschool, the advice starts and almost never stops. We hear about the curriculum we should or shouldn’t use, the way we should or shouldn’t set up our day, what method we should follow, what homeschool group we shouldn’t join…it’s enough to make your head spin!
Remember, homeschooling mom of awesome, that you’re doing this for your family, not the family down the street. Take what advice works for you and scrap the rest. It’s totally okay.
Gardening requires a lot of patience. So does homeschooling:
Gardening requires a lot of hurry up…and wait. There is a lot of preparation for the garden but then you have sit back patiently and
hope that wait until the magic happens.
In homeschooling, we struggle with things like will my child ever learn to read or are my kids really learning anything while they’re playing on the computer or is my kid ever going to actually care about his future. We put so much into our children’s education. It’s great when the results are instantaneous, but sometimes we’re left wondering if we have completely wasted our time.
Will that seed we planted ever really take root? Only time will tell.
Gardening (and homeschooling) can be a lot of work, but is totally worth the rewards:
When first time gardeners jump into their work, they are surprised by how much, well…work is actually involved in growing a plant. It’s not as simple as sticking a seed in the ground and hoping it grows.
Interestingly enough, it’s the same realization many people come to after they jump into homeschooling. There are a lot of struggles and worries and work involved. But, stick with it! Just like that beautiful rose bush or plump juicy tomato, we know that in the end our hard work will provide us with sweet rewards.