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.