Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Granny's Garden "Homeschool" kickoff

Today the back gardens at the elementary school were buzzing with lively children. 26 homeschooled children ranging in age from 3 to 16 met to work in and learn from the beautiful gardens of Loveland Elementary School. I know, I know, homeschoolers in a school garden sounds so odd and I really can't help but find some irony in it all. We started out by touring the gardens and then divided the kids into 4 groups. The kids then picked a name and color for their group.

Here is a copy of an email I sent out earlier this week to all the garden group families:

Welcome everyone to the inaugural year of the Granny's Garden Homeschool Program! Our first meeting is next Wednesday, September 14th starting at 1 PM.

We will be meeting in the gardens on the hill behind the elementary school. Follow the driveway around to the back of the school. For those unfamiliar with the school's location, it is located on Loveland Maderia Rd next to McDonald's. To get there, you take I-275 to exit #52 (Loveland Maderia Rd) and turn LEFT onto Loveland Maderia Rd. Follow it a couple of miles until you see McDonald's and you have found the school!

Please bring your $10 fee per child to the first class. If you need additional time to pay, or need to break your payment over a few classes, just let me know!

There is a scarecrow building contest going on right now involving many of the classes that use the gardens. The scarecrows will be auctioned at the fall garden party (info on the fall garden party and scarecrow contest is at the homepage www.grannysgardenschool.com ) . I thought it might be fun to have the kids make some scarecrows after the first class. If your children would like to participate, bring any items you would like to use on the scarecrow to our first class! We would probably spend about 30 minutes or so following the class to make the scarecrows.

Below are the details about the garden program:
Homeschool Garden Program
Fall: Sept 14, Sept 28, Oct 12, Oct 26
Spring: Mar 22, Apr 5, Apr 19, May 3, May 17, May 31
Time is from 1 PM to 3 PM
Cost will be $10 per child for the entire program (basically it is $1 a week!) payable the first week of class
Organizer: Laura Riesenberg

Laura writes: Join Granny (aka Roberta) in the beautiful gardens on the grounds of Loveland Elementary School and experience Granny's Garden School. Through the course of this summer, Roberta and I have become quite close and she LOVES homeschooling families and is eager to work with our children. She has set aside 10 afternoons for our children to work in and learn from being in the gardens (and is hoping we will all decide to continue into the summer). The kids will have their own garden set aside for them. Each session will include gardening activities and some kind of related craft. All ages welcomed and encouraged. Roberta even said she would love to have some of the older kids plant and harvest veggies and then have their own produce stand next summer (talk about the perfect economics class!). The program will probably evolve as we go along, but here are a few ideas we have for this fall. You can check out her website at www.grannysgardenschool.com for an idea of what kinds of things go on at the garden and how beautiful they are!

Week 1: topic: Introduction to the gardens.
craft: pressing flowers/drying flowers

Week 2: topic: Gardening, collecting seeds
Craft: seed packs...then at home, younger children can draw and color a picture of the flower and write the name of the flower on the packet. Older children can research growing information to include on the packet, i.e. depth to plant, height and size of plant, etc.

Week 3: topic: Preparing the garden for winter/planting spring bulbs
craft: Rooting cuttings from the garden and planting to winter off inside.

Week 4: topic: Possibly harvesting produce from the gardens, digging dahlias for storage, composting
craft: baby scarecrows

Possible Spring topics:Planting an early garden of lettuce, peas, radishes, onions etc.
Starting perennials and annuals from seed.
Possible spring crafts: painted garden rocks, painted flowerpots, cutting jars, pressed flower cards/bookmarks, hummingbird feeder

If you are interested in this program, please contact Laura at theriesenbergs@cinci.rr.com

Follow up from Granny (During our first lesson, we pressed and dried flowers so Granny sent out the following):

Link to pressing flowers page
http://www.grannysgardenschool.com/Activity_Pressing_flowers.html

Link to hanging flowers to dry page http://www.grannysgardenschool.com/Activity_Using_Dried_flowers.html

I really like having parents to work with the kids, however, it was obvious today that sometimes we have too much of a good thing. Today we broke the group into teams. I will leave it up to you all to come up with a way to identify the each team between now and when we get together in two weeks. This is what I would like to do when we get together in two weeks.

We will stay with the teams we designated today, with changes as may seem necessary.

Have an older child assigned permanently as the leader of each of the four groups.
This is truly a leadership position and the child will have regular responsibilities that will be laid out in another e-mail.

Each week one of the other children in the group will serve as assistant leader.

Each week two adults will be assigned to work with each group during their gardening time.
The ones who are not garden volunteers that week will be assisting with the craft/take home activity for that day. If you prefer garden or crafts, you may decide to do that activity all of the time.

This will allow us to provide a much better learning experience for the kids. It will allow time for exploring and learning something that can not happen with the herd approach. I welcome your feedback. Help me to develop a program that fills your needs.

Thanks
Roberta

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Asparagus this BIG
They grow up to 15in long and 2in wide.
growing asparagus

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