We recently received the book "The Garden Classroom". The cover describes the book as having "hands-on activities in math, science, literacy, and art" and says it "contains creative ways to use the garden to inspire learning for children ages 4 to 8". I would say this book provides ideas for creative and imaginary play and outdoor/nature projects for kids. It does not contain curriculum or full lesson plans as one might expect from the word classroom in the title, but does show how learning is possible through fun activities and it is fully usable by any family, homeschooling or not. Although this is not a complete review (because we have only begun to use it), I figured I'd go ahead and offer you a little peak. My nature-loving girls snatched the book up as soon as they laid eyes on it and began to flip through to see if it was worthy of their attention. With growing excitement, and despite saying that every activity or project was their favorite, they chose to start with the Mud-Pie Tea Party!
To facilitate a special and more grown-up feel to the experience (because mud pies, rocks, and grass in tea cups are a common sight among grown ups, of course), we made a quick stop at the local thrift store to get a few more dishes for this cute creative play activity. The girls found some great treasures for a steal of a price, including a nice woven tray and an adorable little tea pot/tea cup combo. As soon as we got home, the girls were outside and loving it. Here are some pictures of the results.
The book hasn't yet offered anything extraordinary, but it did (so far) provide a springboard for hours of fun, involved, imaginative outdoor play. We intend to continue to use it and try out more of the projects within.
I ordered and paid for this book on my own. Everything I have to say about it is entirely my own unbiased opinion. Perhaps I will get a moment to come back to offer you a full review in a few months. Until then, if you're considering getting the book and need some inspiration for projects and props for play in the garden/yard, this might be worth looking into further.
Heads up! The City & County of Honolulu Parks & Recreation "online registration for Summer 2015 Program Activities (free classes only) started on April 20, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. (HST) and ends on April 29 at 11:59 p.m. (HST)". Click here to go to their registration page. There is a variety of classes at locations across the island.
When our oldest daughter was in preschool, my husband and I began to consider the possibility of homeschooling, but I was unsure how to proceed. I began to do some research. At first, it wasn't easy to find other homeschoolers on Oahu. I thought they were a rare breed. It's not that they weren't there, but my search gave me the feeling that it was a secret underground community that didn't wish to be found. Information seemed scattered and the process was like a scavenger hunt or putting together a puzzle. The occasional helpful group, person, or link might lead to another, which could lead to more or hit a dead end. Some resources were more comprehensive than others, but nothing seemed to cover all the bases.
Slowly, a bigger picture of homeschooling in Hawaii began to take shape. Luckily, I was able to find a military homeschool group where I met some generous and helpful women. One of them offered an informational chat in their home on the basics of homeschooling in Hawaii. This opened the door to more resources and home educating families, so down the rabbit hole I went. Soon after, I grabbed a friend and we attended a homeschool conference with workshops that boosted our confidence and kick-started our first year of teaching our children from home.
Now, although it seems that opportunities, groups, resources, classes, activities, and homeschool families abound, I still find that easy central access to the multitude of resources and information is lacking. I've long considered creating a blog to share the useful things I come across while homeschooling here on Oahu, and while I have little time to devote to such an endeavor, I feel drawn to making it happen nonetheless. And so today it begins.
I'm a homeschooling mom of two, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.