Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jewels of the Earth

                                                                Gardening is something I have always wanted to do, but never really had the time to do before, or at least do well, but nothing like a move across the country away from all your loved ones and social obligations to free your days right up! No, but honestly, now that my daughter's school day ends at noon, I can spend a lot more time taking up new hobbies. The garden initially was a mess and was a project in itself just to get clean and ready for planting, but the process has been amazingly rewarding for all of us. Ameera and I decided we would create a space for planting flowers as well as fruits and vegetables. We already had a raspberry and blackberry bush that was fully mature and my 18 month old thoroughly enjoyed picking all the berries off the bush and stuffing his face with them. Although it is October, there are still plenty of winter vegetables that can be planted for spring harvest. I also thought it would be fun just to experiment a bit with different plants to show Ameera which continued to grow, which died, or which just remained as they were in the ground and did not grow nor die. So, we bought various plants of her choice, including lettuce, strawberry plants, pepper plants and various flowers and pines to work with in her miniature garden It is the process, not the product that is most important in my book.

 The process of digging the hole, planting the plant, watering and then cleaning up the debris is really what I wanted her to be familiar with. And she would often look up at me and with a sigh say, "Mama, this is hard I am getting tired." Which is the exact feeling I wanted her to acknowledge in this process. That growing is hard work, and not just growing, but maintaining, looking after, watering and overall caring for nature and the environment are all important lessons for children. It is becoming increasingly hard in this world to provide kids with real experience working with nature. They don't understand where their food comes from, or the process that is involved. I am no expert either, but these small steps will build the foundation for appreciating living and growing things for all of us. Ameera has begun to develop a sense of ownership in her garden now that she has been working on it for sometime, and now requests on her own to go out and plant or do other garden activities, which for me is the icing on the cake. At first she would get distracted easily, and was reluctant to get her hands dirty, but after a while, her attention grew more and more, and I bought her some gardening gloves and tools to work so she feel better about getting dirty. She now has no problem working with her bare hands in the garden. For other interesting, creative and fun activities to do with your kids outside you can check out this website: I really loved the ideas here and thought they were very original.

Over the past few years, I began to feel bothered by the fact that kids in general these days spend a lot of time indoors. School hours are becoming longer and longer with little to no time for outdoor play or recess. Field trips are not what they used to be anymore and homework for the little ones is becoming more than they and parents can handle. It was a bit disheartening; as I have always felt that kids really need to be outdoors more than anything else in order to aid in their developmental growth. There is just something magical about being in the fresh open air, and watching your kids and how they interact with nature. I have made it a point to make sure my kids go out every single day, at least to the garden for a period of time if I can't physically take them out somewhere.
The end result of our work is displayed here; it's not much, but it is something to call her own and she is proud of it. I feel as the process of my homeschooling continues that I am becoming more inclined to to incorporate outdoor activities , particularly ones that involve being in and working directly with nature. I guess we will see where this interest takes us. 

1 comment:

  1. Aww Christina <3 Lovely wisdom! So glad everyone is settling in at home!
    -Aliyah & Ismael