What does socialization mean?

Have you been asked or have you wondered, How do homeschoolers get socialized?

Let’s begin with the actual term:

so·cial·i·za·tion  noun
  1. the activity of mixing socially with others.
    “socialization with students has helped her communication skills”
  2. the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.
    “preschool starts the process of socialization”

In the first definition it doesn’t mention mixing socially with others in a healthy way and in the second definition it assumes that from birth a parent isn’t teaching their child how to “start the process of socialization.” For example, my infant can’t bite my nipple while I’m nursing. It’s not polite! I didn’t wait until preschool to begin the socialization process. By the way what does preschool (before school) mean anymore when almost half of infants to three year olds are cared for by someone other than their parent. The theory in the tagged article is parents need to work harder to find “quality child care” not parents should work harder to take care of the child they chose to have in the first place.

Historically socialization began in the home and for half of all children under 3 I’m assuming that still is the process for learning socialization.

Before figuring out how best children should socialize, let’s start with how adults figure out how to socialize. My theory is, as government school indoctrination has grown, healthy adult socialization has declined and become more isolation punctuated by moments of enthusiasm where everyone pretends they’re doing great. Sadly church is no exception. More and more adults feel like they don’t fit in, they don’t understand the game without asking if something is wrong with the game rather than themselves. Add medication?

We occupy the structure of our dead ancestors! Doesn’t that bother you? The government school structure, set up to produce factory workers and cull out the cream of the crop, is still in place when robots are doing the majority of the factory work. Even as we saw this transition coming for decades no change has occurred except for those who pulled their kids out to homeschool. Government school isn’t a broken system in need of repair, it’s a dead system that needs to be buried in the ground so that real learning can begin to grow out of that decaying corpse.

Within the government school model, on any given day, socialization is confined primarily to those people who share your birthday. The next layer is your socioeconomic status, where some schools have excellent resources and teachers while the other schools, even when resources become available, struggle with even the concept of excellence. Imagine a school district where, on the north side kids are being dropped off by their family chauffeur and on the south side 4 year olds are walking blocks to school without any supervision. If school is what’s considered proper socialization does that mean only with people like you?

Next, everyone is told there is an arbitrary “standard” of achievement and if you fall outside that “norm” there is something wrong with you. You’re either stupid or to smart. You can’t just be you. Add some stressful testing for both the teachers and students, testing by the way in Texas means you can get an F by any other grading standard and still pass! Top that off with any problems going on at home and now be good little socialized children 20-30 to a class with one adult! Are you kidding? Adults aren’t good at forced grouping but somehow our culture has decided that kids will do great in this setting. Even at church kids are assigned a graded/aged class and adults are given subjects for various classes they can take. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Recently I was asked, “What do you say when people ask about homeschooled kids socialization?” I responded with, “Columbine.” That seems a bit harsh but it’s a clear example that government school doesn’t properly socialize children when it allows the constant drugging of non compliant children and then the adults ignore any signs. For me the absolute worst thing government school does in the area of socialization is drug children, especially boys, into thinking something is wrong with them rather than this is a tragic, dead system that they’re being forced to participate in.

Wait! Were you aware that there is also a homeschooled shooter on the books? Also medicated and raised in a home where conformity to an unreal standard was expected. So, is it the form of education a child receives that causes healthy or non healthy socialization?

What about a great private school? Even then you’re talking lots of kids to one adult and kids are smart. They learn how to bully quietly and gang up on the person they perceive as the lowest. Then because the parents are paying, sometimes $30,000 or more per year for their K-8th grade perfect child, the teacher’s hands are tied as far as consequences. The worst behaved group I’ve ever seen on a field trip where some 10-13 year olds from a fancy “circle school” out of Austin. At first their behavior had me thinking they were autistic or retarded (I just mean slow) but then I realized this group of about 20 kids where just totally out of control, talking loudly during the play, hitting and kicking each other and the chairs and the “teachers” sat quietly in their seats ignoring the whole thing!

So, who’s actually responsible for a child’s behavior and that child learning to socialize with others? Some teacher they have for one year? A school district they may be in for a few years? Or their parent who chose to have them and will, in theory, still have them once school is over at 18.

Pathology is rooted in the family and your lack of interest in your child is the number one thing that will cause them pain. Not your interest in your child being your “mini-me.” I seriously hate that phrase! But in you seeing them for who they really are. Your child’s success will be due in large part to your commitment to their growth as an individual and the freedom you give them to find out who that is and not some ideal you want them to be.

There is no perfect system but for all of humanity the family has been and still is the central determining factor in a child’s success or failure. That may mean a variety of things that don’t fall into the idyllic nuclear family that has existed for only a minority of people throughout time. For a child, it takes only one person who truly sees them, who will teach them to negotiate their way through the world, and help them do things badly that they’re interested in until they can go off on their own to master that task.

Homeschooling is the one opportunity that can maximize your child’s freedom to be themselves. Add a few siblings so they have to negotiate and socialize each other or some close friends that you see often. Then pay attention! Watch them, correct their play, and expose them to things that seem to hard or make them anxious a tiny bit at a time so that they can be bold in their journey through life. One of our adopted kiddos was terrified of everything, as stiff as an old man walking into any new building or at the start of any new activity. Just 4 years old and terrified of everything.

Me, “We’re going on a camel ride,”

He says, “that’s scary,”

I say, “You don’t have to ride the camel.”

He says, “No, I want to ride it.” He held on to me so tight.

It’s been the same with everything in the year that we’ve had him. He looks at the new adventure with fear in his eyes, I tell him he doesn’t have to and he responds with I want to! His hands have relaxed and his legs are no longer stiff, just a bit stiff in the shoulders now on our adventures to ride small trains, go tubing down a small rapid or petting a snack. As hard as adopting is and assimilating 3 small boys into our family, it’s so worth the effort so that I can be reminded of the lesson of doing things even when you’re afraid. Watching him assess the new activity, look at me to make sure I’ll be there with him and then step out and touch the world, it’s a miracle for me every time I get to be part of that moment.

Stop worrying so much about Johnny reading by the time he’s 8 and teach them more about the beauty of doing things badly, trying new things and touching the world. Allow your child to hang out with people who share their interest rather than their birth date. Let them be in fourth grade math and twelfth grade reading but struggling with spelling, without being made to feel like something is wrong with them. Free them from the tyranny of being the same as everyone else.

What I love best about homeschooled children is how weird they are. When I was a younger mom, in the early 90s, there weren’t that many homeschool families and the groups were very Christian based (not saying that’s bad) which made for alot of conformity to a perceived standard. Now with the growth in homeschooling there are unique families with unique children and so many reasons that people are homeschooling and it’s a delight to listen to an enthusiastic child’s ONE topic of interest like dinosaurs or insects or history.

Government school is old and willfully blind to the harm it continues to perpetrate on the next generation. In order for you child to live a heroic life they need a hero who will rescue them from the belly of the beast and set them free on a journey of their own making. Stop underestimating the malevolence of the bureaucracy designed to perpetuate itself while gobbling up your children at it’s altar.

 

 

 

 

Forced Seating

We actually had a kid go to government school. 9th grade, one year, one kid once. This broken kid showed up at our home at 10 years old and hated my guts. ALL moms were going to reject him so his main goal was to not get hurt by this new mom. Due to all the moves and trauma learning was of no interest to him for those first 5 years. So, off to indoctrination camp so I could be freed up to enjoy the two younger siblings we adopted with him.

He left the house at 6:15 and didn’t get home until after 4. The 40 minute bus ride on a 17 minute journey was the beginning of a day of sitting. Then sitting in class and sitting in athletics class when he wasn’t cooperating, sitting in his agricultural mechanics class because they were lectured and shown videos instead of making things.

Sitting is the new smoking! At least as far as it’s something you can do something about. I’m guilty for sure, but my kids aren’t.

Some interesting studies are being done on children sitting for long periods of time. BothVascular affects, and  bone formation – these are some starter sites for you to do your own research on how sitting has long term negative impacts.

So, your kid is sitting on the bus, at school on the bus and what do they want to do when they get home? Play video games! Help! Sitting is a struggle for homeschool parents also.

ADHD is the victim, not the culprit of  the sitting crisis. Humans are designed to move and children need as much movement as possible to fully develop. What the system calls a disorder (ADHD) in children is actually a disorder in the system not the children.

So, last year out of the blue our adoption agency called and said they had three brothers 2, 3, and 4 who’d been in 9 placements in two years and they needed that forever home. Being older I was sure when I called my husband at work he’d say no BUT he said, “Of course we’ll take them.” These little brothers came with a long list of therapists including a physical therapist who saw the 3 and 4 year old twice a week. After a few weeks she asked me what we were doing different. I asked her what do you mean? She said they are so much better, the three year old can now ride his bike jump and climb on the play structure in the yard. His label is “low muscle tone” but when I looked it up it said gymnastics was a good sport for this issue. Is that a disability? This kid is also amazingly flexible! It’s simple really, we went outside and played without any special therapy except what the therapist had assigned for us to practice.

The sweet therapist had been with the boys almost 2 years after the bio family broke some bones and they got removed. She really loved the boys and did everything she could but if the daily life didn’t include playing outside her ability to help the boys was limited to 1 hour twice a week. These little guys were so weak when we got them and unable to help themselves climb, swing, jump etc but just 3 months in they were doing great.

However, being weak wasn’t considered the problem with these tiny brothers or the reason they were moved constantly, it was their loud, angry and destructive behavior that was considered the problem. Guess what went away with outdoor play?

Why can’t these kids just sit still and behave?!!! Because they’re kids you moron!

As we approach the one year anniversary of our “Gotcha Day” what adopters refer to as the day they got the kids, I’m amazed at the difference in these boys. Our now 4 and 5 year old are swimming and the 3 year old would be swimming but he has to wear his float until he’s fully potty trained 🙂

So, what’s the solution? If you’re like us you get wrapped up in your day, doing math, listening to kids read or doing flashcards, all the things that need to get done in a homeschool day. We literally set the timer and put our stuff aside and play OR if someone is getting antsy they can go play. Everyone doesn’t have to learn to read at 4 years old, everyone doesn’t have to do everything in the curriculum you bought. Everyone does need time to play, run and climb.

Our outdoor activities have to fluctuate with the seasons. When it’s cold we take afternoon walks when it’s hot we go swimming or to a splashpad. The beauty of homeschooling is we can play outside in the morning when we know the day will be scorching hot and do seat work during the heat of the day. At school if your class has recess at 11am that’s great in the winter but in the summer are the kids really going to run around and play? That’s if the ADHD labeled kid isn’t left in the classroom because he wasn’t behaving while being forced to sit for hours. Now that’s a stupid solution to a problem.

The main point I’d like to make is that movement is the answer to most of the childhood learning and behavior issues not medication.

Our oldest adopted kid was labeled and medicated to sit still and medicated to help him sleep at night. Why doesn’t that seem like a stupid idea to doctors, teachers and parents? Maybe because there’s very little money in healthy habits?

I’m at a seating by choice stage, not forced and I can feel the negative impact. I’m always feeding people, sitting to listen to them read, do flash cards etc. So, now I have to get moving myself because at 55 I’m going to need to be in better shape to raise a 3 year old 🙂

 

 

 

What Grade Are You In?

Why is this a question that people assume homeschooled kids should have an answer for? Aside from government education camp this question is irrelevant to an individual’s life and actually even in that system, grade level doesn’t correlate to age for all students. It’s a sorting and tagging question that has more to do with funding than age or ability.

If you’re 8 and in the third grade but you can’t read, have ADHD, autism or any of the other “disabilities” you bring in extra funding to your indoctrination center. If you’re 8 and in third grade but are reading at a college level you get to go to the “gifted and talented” class which also brings in more funding for your center because these two groups need specialized teachers. Really? I can’t google that and teach my kid or show them how to learn something on their own? We live in an age where 90% of what we want to learn is available free online.

Here’s an actual conversation with my 11 and 12 year old.

Man, “What grade are you in?” (he knows we homeschool)

Kids – blank stare

Me asking the man, “Grades are a false construct to sort children for funding in government schools. What grade are you in?”

Man – blank stare – then, “I guess I’d be in 43rd grade.” he subtracted 5 from his age 🙂 “I never thought of it like that.”

From kindergarten to 12th grade you’re tucked into a system that has no relevance outside that system. Maybe something is wrong with that type of system?

Should children be sorted by ages? This isn’t just how government schools decide kids should be placed neatly by born on date but churches and ironically even homeschool co-ops. How old are you? Eight? Okay you are assigned to group three.

How do adults organize themselves when they have the freedom to choose who they associate with? By ability, interest,  jobs, projects etc. Go into a gun store or a quilt shop and spend the day. You’ll see people of all age groups wandering in and having discussions about a topic they love. Some to impart what they’ve learned to those interested in learning and the people new to the activity get to learn from people who actually love their topic. This is true learning and teaching, when both sides are interested. The rest is force and yes I force my kids to learn certain things.

Why can’t we allow children the same freedom? If children had the freedom to associate with the people who lined up with their interests the severe bullying epidemic would decrease dramatically. “School environment” is currently the number one reason to pull your kids out of school.

When a person of any age is forced to participate in a group and they have no skill they’re going to get harassed. It’s part of our evil nature to pick on the outsider to make ourselves feel better. When 30 kids are in this situation with one adult the harassment can be brutal. Especially when those “kids” in highschool are 19 or older.  One teacher can’t watch all of those kids and see each harassment that for some kids builds into years of psychological terror about going to school. For which their parents say, “You have to learn how to get on in the world with other people.”

In San Antonio we have “post highschool, highschool” for kids over 19 that haven’t graduated. It’s a self paced, flexible time schedule for working students and they help them “recover credits” so they can graduate. Hmm, if that works why don’t all highschools offer a self paced learning option starting at 9th grade? After dropping out of highschool a number of times for various reasons (mostly boredom) I finished 2 years of highschool in about 3 months, primarily through testing out of subjects I already knew. Like two years of highschool history done in a week based on multiple choice, true/false tests that I only needed to get an 80% on to pass. At 18 this further ingrained the stupidity of the government school system.

Maybe ask yourself if you would enjoy the day you’ve subjected your child to? Would you like to ride on a bus full of people who ignore each other while on their head phones? Would you enjoy being told when you can and can’t go to the bathroom? Would you enjoy being seated next to someone who harasses you? Would you enjoy being terrible at math everyday because you’ve been forced into the “age/grade” category? Would you enjoy being in a reading group where you’re super excellent but all you hear is you’re bad at math? And then if you complain that must mean something is wrong with you, you’re not fitting in, now you get labeled and medicated!

Children desire freedom just as much as adults do. They want to be with people who enjoy what they enjoy. Just like you. Don’t rob them of that by forcing them to get stressed out in their born on group!

The joy of homeschooling is watching happy homeschool kids play. On a given co-op day at our house kids will be swimming, playing legos, tinker toys, riding bikes, chatting, running around being goofy and it fluctuates during the day not based on age but based on interest. While there is some age separation its based on interest and ability. For poetry memorization all ages gather to listen, unless you’re 2 and aren’t interested in being quiet 🙂 For latin challenges it’s divided by ability, so if you want to be with the “older” kids you have to study harder. Older kids could be one 8 year old who’s really good at memorizing up to 16.

What grade are you in isn’t just a challenge for government schools but also for homeschoolers who are so indoctrinated we think that’s a must! How do we turn this tide away from grade stamps to initiative, ability and interest groups?

Yes, there are things your children need to learn about life and educationally speaking like math and writing but can you design a better process for them so they can learn the basics for the things they have no talent for and excel in the areas they enjoy?

Remember you decided to have your kids, live like you actually wanted them.

Termination

Yesterday the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio terminated our home as an adoptive home and have placed in jeopardy the sibling group of 5 we were supposed to bring home this Friday November 10th to be part of our forever family.

Here’s their three sentence letter:

Laprise_Termination

What we did wrong was ask questions and we see a systemic abuse of families who ask questions. On more than one occasion we’ve been told the following by staff at the Children’s Shelter.

This conversation is over

Stop asking questions was implied repeatedly

You just need to comply

Don’t stir things up

Sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut for the children’s sake.

Well, for the children’s sake, and not just these five, we want to open our mouth and speak on their behalf and all those families working to adopt and foster children who are abused by the Child Placing Agencies that are supposed to be helping them help the children.

When will they put the children’s needs first? Not until we all raise our voice in defense of the defenseless. The children have no money and no voice but ours. Will you speak up with us on their behalf?

Adoption isn’t new to us and we don’t “need” more children. We have four grown biological children and we adopted a sibling group of three kids eight years ago. It was hard but the hardest part was the lying and deception on the part of our then Child Placing Agency – Pathways. A year ago, with our three adopted children doing so well we decided to adopt more kids for no other reason than we love kids and are willing to help.

When we first went to the Children’s Shelter it was amazingly different than our previous experience. The staff was friendly and helpful, the training was excellent. When the director was fired around April 2017 everything changed BUT these agencies know that it’s hard to change agencies because you’ve already done a huge amount of paperwork to get licensed through the agency and so many of them once you’re “in” treat you extremely poorly.

Over the course of the summer while we were waiting to be matched up with a sibling group we opened our home to respite care every time the Children’s Shelter asked. I believe six kids over the summer came into our home. It was awesome for the kids we already have to experience new kids in their space and we were really glad we had that opportunity.

On Tuesday October 31st Michael and I went to a refresher course, you have to take courses regularly to keep your home license active. This refresher course is called SAMA. It is designed to teach you how to deescalate a situation with a child mainly through verbal conversation. One section teaches how to use physical force to protect yourself and the child in the event that the behavior escalates. One of the moves is called “Follow to the Ground.” During the class the instructor said if anyone didn’t feel comfortable or had issues with doing this move they didn’t have to do it. I wasn’t feeling really good, it was a refresher course that I’d already done, Michael was there to do it also and in our 30 years of parenting and working with kids I’ve never taken a kid out. We left the class that Tuesday thinking we were in complete compliance with our licensing.

On Thursday I received a phone message from Allie Hennis at the Children’s Shelter and because we were super busy getting ready for our first whole weekend with the 5 kiddos at our house I didn’t get around to calling her back. Her message didn’t indicate any urgency. If I can figure out how to post it here I will later.

On Friday morning we were so excited and after lunch my daughter Alexis (11) and son Jack (10) and I got in our giant marshmallow van and headed to HEB for some last minute items, our son Luke (18) and daughter Jessica (27) were at home getting things ready and making dinner. Michael was working from home so he could be there when we got home.

At 2:30 on Friday November  3rd, when we left HEB my daughter Alexis put up her hand to high five me and said, “We did it!” If you knew Alexis’s story of abuse before she was three and here fear of the shelter experience, you’d understand her passion for bringing these kids home to be safe. Almost immediately after that Allie Hennis called to tell us we couldn’t pick the kids up for the weekend because our home wasn’t compliant. Our lack of compliance was based solely on my not doing the one single follow to the ground move at the Tuesday class! Seriously!

When I tried to explain that the instructor didn’t say anything about not being compliant, was there a rule on how much of the class needed to be completed in order to be compliant, could I retake the course Saturday and still get the kids? She was totally uninterested in any pleas about what would be best for the children because she is in charge of compliancy and she’s read the chart and is just a box checker. No heart! Her final words were, “This conversation is over.”

I was in shock and shaking so bad when I hung up. I couldn’t get a hold of the children’s caseworker because it was late in the day and our caseworker from the Children’s Shelter, you know the place and people who were supposed to be assisting us in our adoption, had no help to offer. As I drove on toward our meeting with the children at the shelter they’re currently at, my mind was racing with, how do we get someone to hear our story at 3:30 on Friday afternoon? I called my congressman’s office and his aid got to work that day and is continuing to work on behalf of these kids. When we arrived at the shelter the staff there had all the kids stuff packed, everyone was so happy that the kids were going to come stay with us for the weekend. The kids were so happy to see us with hugs and squeals of delight.

Then I got to be the one to tell them that they couldn’t spend the weekend with us. I can’t even describe how horrible that moment was, breaking bad news but wanting so much to enjoy what time we did have with them.

We were allowed to take them for each day over the weekend but no overnights. So instead of 200 miles of driving that weekend we put in 600 miles. The kids were so awesome while we were playing at the house and the only time we had problems was when it was time to get in the van to go back to the ranch. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great children’s ranch and the kids like the staff there, it’s just not home! It’s not that forever home that the people working in CPS keep telling kids they’ll get someday.

So, I’ve spent the last two days calling everyone I can think of who will help me. We still don’t have a commitment that the kids will be here forever on Friday as they’ve been promised. Yesterday Allie Hennis and Yvette Sanchez from the Children’s Shelter met with us. They offered no apology, admitted to no mistakes and in a very short meeting they simply handed us our termination letter. After speaking with DFPS I know that an agency can fire you for no reason given. So, there’s that nice thing.

I called our congressman’s office and the children’s caseworker and they were both shocked at the outcome of the meeting. The kid’s caseworker’s supervisor called the Children’s Shelter to ask if they had any concerns about the children being placed in our home or for the children’s safety in our home and they said no.

We got fired/terminated for asking to many questions and asking for clarification on their “compliance” rules. I’ve called a number of CPS workers over the last few days trying to find out what the rule is for passing the SAMA course which is required for all workers and have found only one who even knows what it is.

We’re asking for your help in raising a voice for the children in state care. We can’t bring these kids home this weekend unless the Children’s Shelter reinstates us until we can be licensed with a new agency. I wish I could convey the lack of trust these kids have in everyone around them or how much we want them to trust us, that we’ll keep our word.

Here’s what we believe will make an impact on how people are treated in the future.

Let’s keep it really simple and just state:

Please put the children first, reinstate the Laprise family!

You can call the Children’s shelter at this number 210-212-2500

Allie Hennis at 210-212-2579

Congressman Kuemple’s office 512-463-0602

Our congressman’s office has been awesome in helping us with this but we’d like them to see how many people care.

Email to the Children’s Shelter’s Public Relations Officer Anais Biera Miracle at abiera@chshel.org

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheChildrensShelter/

If you have time for a meme with our simple phrase that would be awesome.

#For the Children – I’d do that but I don’t know how

 

 

 

 

Permaculture Learning Tools for Kids

Gathering Resources

If you’re a parent and your goal is to learn more about the Permaculture practice but you’re also trying to homeschool and get all the things done in a day that goes with training and raising a family I hope you’ll join our family as we learn to combine the very adult world of Permaculture information with a fun hands on experience for children.

While I never finished Permaculture Student 1 because Matt Powers keeps on coming out with new and exciting things to use in our learning adventure, I thought I’d go ahead and post a few things we’re using as we learn more about Permaculture and how I can get through all of Matt’s great information and scale it down for my kids. Our oldest is 29 years old and he actually introduced us to the Permaculture concept a few years ago via Bill Mollison’s Permaculture handbook. We’ve been on our homeschooling journey for so very long now and this is the first time in this adventure that I’ve decided to put what I want to learn in front of my kids so that we’re learning together and it’s been amazing!

Personally I have so much to learn and the Bill Mollison book is way over my head. Quite frankly so is Matt Power’s Permaculture 2 highschool text  BUT it’s more manageable and while I’m teaching my kids I’m learning the pieces that I’ve missed along the way. So here are some tools we’re using to make this fun and scale it down for younger learners while I still get the full benefit of the deeper information.

Games

On this journey we’re using some fun resources like Paul Wheaton’s Permaculture cards.

We’ve been using these for awhile and today they started recognizing the things we have in our garden. We ate mulberries today from our dwarf mulberry tree which is doing really well after just one year. We planted it by our lemon balm since it belongs to the same guild and they like each other a lot. In the deck there is information about Mulberry trees, guilds, the famous trail blazers in Permaculture etc. Anyway, if you’re at all like me and playing cards with kids that take a long, long, long time to think about their moves gets you a bit restless, these are super fun to read outloud while the kids are thinking! Repetition builds memory and these are perfect, except I think Paul Wheaton should be in the deck even if it’s as the joker. 🙂

Something as simple as playing a game like this allows for teachable moments on math, ascending and descending order, manners and game playing etiquette along with permaculture terms and the people who began sharing their knowledge about the subject.

There are many other Permaculture games out there now and we’re trying to add that to our homeschool budget for the future.

Coloring Pages!

Another cool tool we’re using is the Erik and Lauren Ohlsen coloring book series. With the proliferation of youtube permaculture videos to watch I’ve found the more technical ones that might lose their attention will keep them listening if their hands are busy. We also try to watch them after a busy play or gardening time so they’re a bit tired. We rarely watch tv while eating but I’m finding it very helpful to watch some educational stuff during lunch now. They also can color while I’m reading aloud from the textbook. This way I know I’ll read the whole thing and they ask the best questions! I know they’re listening 🙂

It was really time consuming to search the google universe for the exact coloring page to keep them busy but with this series I can page through and find the one I think fits our theme best.

Our Garden

Lunch with things like this beautiful spinach from our garden. We added cilantro too!

There is no substitute for learning permaculture from the garden. It’s a must even if you’re doing your food growing in recycled buckets on a patio.

Reusable Montessori Resources

I’ve also made and laminated some items from the Montessori Print Shop

I’m pretty good at the animal classifications that fall under the Chordata phylum  but all the living animals haven’t ever interested me. After reading Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway I became so fascinated with the creatures in the soil and then listening to Matt Power’s talks with Dr. Elaine Ingham sparked my interest even more and I knew if I taught my kids about this I’d be sure to gain greater understanding of the soil food web happening right beneath our feet!

So here in the picture above we have the control chart, which means it’s the “answer key” that the kids begin using to learn the names of the Class, Order, Phylums, and then they’ll move to a blank graph as they learn where each living thing falls in the plant and animal classification systems. This is becoming a really great tool for looking at patterns in nature and defining what those are by bringing in bugs and leaves then talking about which group they’re in and why. It’s a treasure hunt 🙂

We use other fun things like the Good Bug/Bad Bug Montessori activity from Carrots are Orange, and gathered some bugs from our garden. Then there are fun things like this too! Where does it go in the classification system? Where does it go in the beneficial vs pest category?

AND don’t forget dirt! Lots and lots of lovely soil to plant things in like this terrarium that is teaching us about ecosystems 🙂

Story Time

There are an amazing number of new stories out there that teach kids about permaculture and have a great homeschool, family learning feel. We like:

Farmer Phil’s Permaculture

The Magic Beans

The art in this story is all done in water colors using plant based paint!  

Eric Carle

These are adorable classic stories about the garden and hard work!

Outside!

There’s no substitute for hands on learning and actually getting out and discovering the sound, sights, touch, smell and taste of the world around you but on those to wet to play, super hot sun, or freezing (50 degree) Texas days it’s great to have tools that are reusable and fun.

Then there’s this:

Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game is a cooperative game that is super fun. The goal is to go up the hill, pick two buckets of huckleberries and get back to Grandma’s house before the sunsets WITH your whole team. You’re only as fast as your slowest hiker explains this game really well. Some kids find it hard to think in terms of the group winning 🙂 

Creative people in the Permaculture space are putting out new things all the time to enhance children’s understanding of the real world around them.