Friday, May 22, 2009

Homeschool Herb Nerds!

I don't know about you but I'm feeling pretty guilty after reading blogs like MckMama and 4little men and girly twins. My fridge is not full of organic free range eggs or homemade raw peanut butter etc. But I sure am inspired to feed our family better.
My New Year's resolution this year was to grow a garden, eat better and feed my family better home cooked meals all the time. Well, it's what May and I'm happy to say I'm finally on week 2 of healthy home cooked meals:) This is huge people! My garden is growing and I'm (trying) to eat better and learn more about food. My new thing is herbs. I love herbs! So this week (in school) the kids and I have been hanging outside in our herb garden learning about herbs:)
Herbs are filled with rich histories. They have a variety of uses in the garden and elsewhere. The herb garden can be used as a tool for learning about history, cooking, crafts, and more.

We talked about history and the fragrances of many herbs. How they were once used to mask unattractive odours, keeping the home and even one’s body smelling fresh. These are still used today in items like perfume, potpourri, lotion, etc. We are growing herbs like rosemary, chamomile, lavender, thyme, and mint.

Today Faith is working on some potpourri sachets by placing dried herbs in fabric pouches. We dried the herbs all week and now they are completely dry. The kids are crushing them and then they will place them in the pouches and tie them with a fancy bow.
We then traveled back in time to learn about herbs and how they were used in different time periods. For example the Victorian era, the middle Ages, etc. How and why were herbs of that time important? What were their uses? This could be geared toward one specific use like for culinary purposes or for a variety of purposes such as remedies, cosmetics, crafts, food, etc.
Before there were food stores or even nearby medical facilities, people had to rely on other methods for seasoning foods or curing sickness. Many herbal remedies were also once used for treating anything from common colds and other illnesses to wounds and rashes. In many cultures, such herbal practices still exist.

I plan to take the kids to a herb garden or nature trail to go on a scavenger hunt.
I'll have them run around and try to locate herbs that have a specific smell or taste, like mint or onion. I'll have them try and find an herb that is used in a specific recipe, like oregano or parsley. I think it would be fun to have them find herbs that I give clues to like, what herb is useful for treating minor cuts and burns? This, of course, would be aloe. Can you find an herb that is used for repelling insects? Garlic and spearmint are good choices. What herb was once used as a hair tonic for covering grey? That would be sage. As there are so many different uses and characteristics of herbs, the possibilities can be endless. I'm learning so much! The only herb I learned about in school was...ok, never mind.


Brianna said...

Watch out Landen will be out finding the poison ivy to bring back to the family. Speaking of herbs we should make a mojito out of your mints :)

Loni's World said...

Sounds great. I am all for home grown food. My mouth waters thinking about how juicy all of it tastes. So much better than store bought.

I am starting with my mini sunflowers if I don't kill those, woo hoo Tomato and Strawberry here I come. If I plant anything in the yard Sauls parents will over water it lol so I have to refrain until we get our house :)

Shannon said...

You are tooooo funny! Isn't it interesting the things we learned in public school and somehow the majority of the world thinks it us the best place for our kids! ;) Amazing how useful your information is on herbs... amazing that such things are not taught in schools anymore.... amazing that we so easily rely on the store for everything now!! Do you remember being a kid and there were NO businesses open on Sundays? Life keeps changing? I wonder how it will be for our kids as they age ... and can we make the change backwards in some ways. Everything is "processed"... food, clothing, body products, etc... interesting how "progress" has changed our world.

Jennifer said...

I decided this year to grow a small garden. I mean it's REALLY tiny. But atleast it's there. Between the climber, trampoline and then the pool in about a week, we don't have the room. But, if it all grows in this crazy Michigan weather, I'll make it bigger next year. I figured the kids would learn something with a garden and maybe eat a variey of veggies they might not normally eat. Although, I fear, the only thing they'll learn is how to kill plants at a super fast speed. I inherited my mom's green thumb. But atleast I'm trying. :)

Simply Blessed said...

You are so funny. If you find any good receipes please share :)

Cyn said...

LOVE this idea and your blog!! We don't have room for a full-fledge garden, but I have planted a tomato and a red bell pepper plant. The kids also have seeds to plant a plant a piece (one a month) throughout the year ~ specific to that month! If If don't kill the tomato and peppers, I may plant strawberries this weekend! I have a recent post for FREE homeschooling resources that I posted a few days ago. Check it out when you have time!
Blessings to your family!

Anonymous said...

Oh my god your funny!!!! I lvoe your blog.....your just sucha neat person.....your children are lucky to have you as a mom, role model!

Good luck with the garden....I moved to the mountains and well tose critters love to eat.....

janenes said...

I picked this up and your post made me think of it. It's a food swap. Check it out to see if it is something you're interested in.

EveryGoodGift said...

YUMMY! I love herbs soooo do the rest of my crew. I keep big planters filled with my favorites....Italian parsley, Basil,Dill, Oregano, Chives, Mint, Spearamint, THyme, Lemon Verbena....on and On..... We make Tea with them....I can even drink it...(not a tea lover), I make homemade makes such a difference to add fresh herbs. Potatoes...They make food taste so much better. I have let the kids (well Marion took over the project) plant their own herbs...we are going to be doing a unit study/lap book on Herbs when they grow up big enough to tell what they are...(Marion didn't mark was supposed to be the kids project...but...oh well) My plans constantly get changed. :o)