Permaculture Student- Our Design

The design principal in permaculture was the first thing that drew me in. Everything in life can be designed to suit the needs of those involved and as an old time homeschooler that’s starting in with the first grandkids I’m wanting to design a homeschool plan more in tune with nature. The nature around us and the nature of children.

So, here’s our design for using The Permaculture Student by Matt Powers – I hope you can gather some fun and useful ideas and then design a process that works for those around you.

Now that we’ve finished up chapter 1, and when I say “finished” I really mean that we’ve scratched the surface of the concepts taught in chapter 1 while trying to get out and do each activity. That’s taken us about a month of working in the garden, group class time on Wednesday nights, watching videos and assorted other work. Our group is 3 to 78 so it might look a little different than yours.

Here’s our four starter families:

1-Two cute old people who are enjoying thinking differently about the garden they have and adding the layers to their just over an acre property.

2-Our family that has a great start on permaculture thanks to the years my mom invested in trees and mulch on our one acre.

3-The Pond family – they left the big city a few years back and now have a garden and ducks swimming in their pond!

4-The Soon to Be family – they close on their six acre property any week now and man do they have swales to work with! Already paddocked sections, out buildings and water run many, many places! We’re all very excited for them.

I’m working on a lesson plan that’s a little sketchy at the moment but we’ll adapt it as we go since the plan is to cycle around through the course repeatedly until one of us is ready for the official PDC! We’ll be taking many weeks to work through each chapter.

Here are a few items we’ve got going:

1-Having a family time on Wednesday night with a potluck from our abundance which at the moment sometimes means fried chicken from the drive through window because we’re just starting out 🙂

2-Have a weekly game, activity, coloring page and watch a video together or just part of one since our little guys have a short attention span as do I.

3-On Wednesday night we’re having about 20-30 minutes of kid focused time, then they go complete an activity.

4-The adults will have a similar topic from the “Introduction to Permaculture” text by Bill Mollison w/Reny Mia Slay as we learn more about permaculture.

5-We’ve set up a work day each month where we’ll got to each family’s property and help them knock out a labor intensive job.

6-We’ll have ongoing permaculture projects at our own homes each week. Like checking our soil samples.

As we cycle back around through the curriculum, we’re planning on adding some other fun science elements: Fall -Chemistry/Physics, Winter – Anatomy, Spring – Flying Creatures. We’ll be using resources that we already have in the Apologia Young Explorers Series. But this time when I use these textbooks I’ll have a much clearer application for each topic right in our yard!

It’s never to late to change up the design or begin a design of your own.



Designing Life

It’s not genetics or eugenics – it’s about what we actually have control over in our own lives. You and I designing a life we’d love to live. Think about it in this simple way:

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I’m not saying, don’t pay attention to the global macro world, or that you or your child didn’t end up with a genetic complication that is difficult. I am saying, if you live a thoughtful life; which means actually thinking about what you do based on a firm moral foundation, in light of a continuing understanding of the history of mankind, with a thought for the future of humanity (your children in particular) and the telos, the literal end of your life on this planet, then you’ll be working on the things you can change.

There is however, this thing we cannot change, even though our culture says it’s flexible and varies with the opinion of the day. There are, in life, a set of firm moral principals that humanity has operated on successfully throughout the ages, cultures and as individuals.

C.S. Lewis says it best here:

“The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or…ideologies…all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they posses.”

Can you look around you and see the “swollen to madness” level our culture achieved in a seemingly short time? We seem to have convinced ourselves that we don’t need a moral foundation. When I heard this quote,  “We’ve exchanged morality for psychology.” it really struck a chord with me. It seems to explain why our world is in such a mess! We can’t undo this moral value system and function as a society because the moral foundation isn’t about how we feel. Good and evil aren’t based on my feelings about them, they are what they are. I’ve been waiting to come across someone that says there is no moral absolute, everyone gets to decide for themselves. In my imagination I slap them in the face and tell them I decided that was okay. Which we all know instinctively is NOT OKAY! So, we can’t change genetics, we can’t change basic moral structures, then what is the first thing we can change?

It’s the choice to select the spring board that we use as our moral foundation because out of that flows the abundance of the heart and life of a person. Our family has chosen Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man distinctly NOT satan’s brother, not just a good man or a great teacher but our personal Lord and Savior. Every decision we make comes out of our limited knowledge of the call to follow Christ and to be an example in word, in conduct and in faith. We are not flawlessly perfect and that doesn’t make us hypocrites, just imperfect. We are constantly seeking God for His unique direction for our lives and the main thing we’ve learned is that a God directed life includes inviting people into our lives. Success isn’t about toys, money, vacations, or houses but rather the depth of genuine relationships we share with others.

How do you find those people? As much as I like the idea that I can  “rail against the machine”  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are just too many stinkin’ people who go along to get along and it’s best if I just stay outside the machine, with those who are already there with me, and call others to join us. George Orwell might refer to us as the “grey people” who don’t participate with Big Brother or for the younger crowd here you could say we were born divergent. I think I’m looking for a life designed more after St. Patrick’s ecclesiastical monasteries where people gathered and there was a rich life of learning and teaching about real things.

Designing a Life is a term I’ve heard my brother Les Herron use for a number of years and it’s been rolling around in my brain (a very busy constantly thinking brain) and when I combined that with Dr. Larry Hunt’s lessons on Greek, Hermeneutics, and Homiletics I realized what we were doing and what we wanted to be doing weren’t the same thing. Not that we’re doing bad things per se but we weren’t heading in the direction we intended to go because we were allowing the daily choices to overtake the end goals.

It’s not that we haven’t constantly adjusted our lives based on jobs, locations, interests etc., just not with the end in mind. As we gather speed toward that end we’re rethinking the design. Our very first grandbaby is 2 1/2 so one of our main changes is based on the idea that we want to be around for her for a long time. We realized we had a very serious design flaw in our life which was eating too much junk and not staying fit, which leads us to a series of other questions about how we do life.

How can we eat better? Organic and clean food is expensive! Yet once we decided to do that we started comparing and you see that if you cut your food intake in 1/2 you can afford the 20% increase in the price of better food. You realize that one 12 oz clean soda for a treat is actually cheaper than the 32oz coke at What-a-burger. So you start exchanging those things. Do you see that? Designing the daily choices to fit into our Life Design.

Are you like us? Thinking this wasn’t the life you intended, too fat, too in debt, too lazy, too . . . . Not that it’s all bad, you’re just not as good as you wanted to be, you don’t have the friendships you wanted to have, you’re not enjoying what you do have. . . . . .

Join us as we continue through the process of Designing a Life We’d Love to Live