Permaculture Student Chapter 2

We started Chapter 2 Wednesday February 3, 2016 and here I am trying to come up with a plan and Paisley wants to watch the video because they can hear the opening music.



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Check out our lesson plan here. Remember it’s a work in progress

We opened with an challenge for the adults to write down the name of as many plants in their yard that they new the real name of, either latin or the local name. This kept them busy while the kids watched about 6 minutes of the video on diversity. The parents have access and can watch the videos at home too. Our adult winner could name 37 of her plants! I was so excited that I posted it on facebooks “Unschooling with Permaculture” page and Matt let me know he has like 600-800 species? We have our work cut out for us.

We were learning about diversity and the kids were cutting up magazines, gluing and coloring. This combination of activities takes a long time at this age and allows for lots of conversation.

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While the kids were making their diversity posters the adults were watching some videos on swales and discussing how each person might use that on their property.

The kids finished out their evening by playing Paul Wheaton’s Permaculture Playing Cards

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First thing the next morning my son Jack wanted to play those cards but we’re saving them for Wednesday nights so they’re special 🙂

Chapter 2 – Week 2 – February 10,2016 – stay tuned!

Permaculture Student Laying the Ground Work

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My husband loves listening to “The Survival Podcast” with Jack Spirko – “Helping you live a better life, if times get tough or even if they don’t.” Michael had a cyst on his spine a few years ago and was given the remove it or you’ll die speech along with the encouraging, you could die during surgery pep talk. Michael has become highly motivated to “live a better life,” and I’m such a good wife I would listen to the podcast when he’d text me about ones I’d like including the time stamp 🙂

One day last December he sent me the TSP “must listen” text for a homeschooling idea called The Permaculture Student by Matt Powers. I listened a couple of times, went to his website to see what he had to offer and immediately checked my bank account and bought the student set and I was ready to get started! It looked to be about Jr High in the ability level so it seemed like a piece of cake. Maybe I should change the easy/cake to easy as digging in well composted soil?

Turns out it’s pretty simple if you read it and color the pages BUT if you actually get out in the garden and DO IT, suddenly that Chapter 1 you were going to do in a week turns into a month! What a great month it’s been (after the first month of trying to figure out how to implement it:)

Here’s our journey with Chapter 1

In December 2015 when the book came in it encouraged us to do some of the things we were meaning to do! We got around to picking oranges from our neighbor’s abundance and making Marmalade!

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Here’s Alexis lifting the finished jars out of the boiling bath. She’s 9 and didn’t get hurt in the making of this marmalade!

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Alexis is listening for the popping sound to let us know the jars are sealed.

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The return of surplus and sharing our abundance with Memaw who went to the neighbors tree to help us pick the oranges 🙂

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Jack is carefully taking hot sterile jars out so Alexis can fill them.

Even though it can be a bit messy all the peeps helped pick herbs from the yard and make bread.

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Jack’s first bread is rising!

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We had to eat one jar of marmalade right away because the seal didn’t pop.

Luke led a discussion on what sustainable means and how we can use less.

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Permaculture Students need time to think about and discuss their work 🙂

So, now we’re in January and that first Wednesday night family night was so fun!

We worked on our previously started site map. We just have one oddly pie shaped acre and Luke is cutting out some green circles to represent our water collection tanks. I used large graph paper taped together so we could use the 1/4″ = 1′ for the acre.

At this point I wasn’t using the books but trying to get a handle on how it all worked. We watched the opening video on Week 1 and I had read through the first chapter and we did some coloring. It was just our family but when I posted it on facebook we had more people join us the next Wednesday!

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Jack squeezing blackberries that were leftover from the wine making to make blackberry chocolate chip ice cream!

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My facebook invitation picture to those kindred spirits willing to join us

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Home grown lemon, mint and pomegranates for our mint tea ice ring. We’ve had a very warm winter and the herbs are doing really well.

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fresh dill in the potato salad

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bread makers with rosemary, cilantro, dill and other deliciousness in the breads

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and of course a snack 🙂

So, all of this in preparation to really get started! We all know we enjoy the harvest that our yard is producing almost two years after my mom got married and moved out. Now we have to see if we can put in the hard work in order to reap a greater harvest of abundance to share with our friends and neighbors.

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.



Tending the Garden


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Was it perfect in the Garden of Eden? I always thought so until recently, well actually I didn’t think about it I just assumed so. Does that make sense? Heaven was perfect, Eden was perfect, it was all perfect until Eve ate that non-botanically specific piece of vegetation. Right?

It’s not that we haven’t had some excellent teaching along the way but until recently we didn’t have the chance to have a Dr. Dr. Dr. who reads his New Testament in Greek to talk to about these questions.  So, heaven wasn’t perfect, Satan got in, the garden wasn’t perfect Satan got in there and the two people sinned.

This is really about my actual garden and that I grew up in a garden that was in tip top very tidy shape with all the weeds removed. Like I’m sure it would have looked in Adam and Eve’s garden where everything was perfect. Except why did Adam have to work?

Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Are weeds new or did they occur in the garden that Adam tended too? In this great documentary called “Back to Eden” the guy has some cool thoughts about this subject and great thoughts about the weeds in my garden! If I manage my garden like God manages the forests and things man doesn’t tend then the closer I get to the natural processes of growing the easier it will be, which means I’ll have weeds but I’ll outgrow them with good seeds!

I’ve been avoiding my yard since my mom moved out. For almost nine years she tended the garden in our yard then she abandoned me to marry this adorable old neighbor of ours! I kept calling it her garden and telling her it was going to die but then I came across this really awesome concept of Permaculture which reminded me of the Back to Eden video and I realized I should take some responsibility for MY garden.

We’ve got a pretty busy life with kids, adventure  and community so I couldn’t see how I could get out there every single day but with the Permaculture Design I think we can make it happen.

There are some excellent Christian principals in the concept like Care of People, Care of the Earth and the Return of Surplus. There’s also something amazing about spending time in the garden that touches my soul and makes me happy, tired but happy. Our youngest three kids have really been loving it more than all the other things we’ve done so the hope is we’ll soon have an abundance to share with our friends and neighbors.

We also found a great resource Permaculture Student by Matt Powers that is about Jr High level, unless you’re actually getting out in the garden and doing the work, then it’s much harder! If you’ve been thinking about tending a garden with your kids this is a very encouraging resource.

Now if I could just get rain every day like they do in Jamaica it would be so much easier!