Unschooler Karen M. Gibson share the joy that gardening has brought to her life and the wonderment and satisfaction she feels when she sees the love of gardening being passed down through the generations.

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The Unschooling Handbook
How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom
by Mary Griffith
Unschooling, a homeschooling method based on the belief that kids learn best when allowed to pursue their natural curiosities and interests, is practiced by 10 to 15 percent of the estimated 1.5 million homeschoolers in the United States.

Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves
by Alison McKee
Patrick Farenga, editor, "Growing Without Schooling": An honest and touching account of how homeschooling leads to new attitudes and possibilities for learning.
We as parents can only plant the seeds of following passions, not help our children develop all the passions they will ever have.
~ Karen M. Gibson

    Passions - Sharing Your Interests With Your Children
    Karen M. Gibson

    This issue of HELM includes Roberta’s article about gardening projects for you and your children (See note below). Reading about these projects caused me to reflect upon gardening and how it has affected my life and my relationships.

    Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my Grammy’s gardens. She had spent over 30 years lovingly cultivating the grounds around her home. From a child’s eye the stone steps and walkways, lilacs and maple trees, the colorful blooms that attracted birds, butterflies and dragonflies, and even the old pitcher pump that was home to garter snakes created a delightful playground.

    My mother has always had a green thumb; the inside of her log cabin overflows with plants and her outdoor gardens expand yearly. It’s as though every plant she touches grows abundantly. Gardening even provided opportunities for my stepmother and I to work together and forget our differences. Grammy in her garden

    When my husband and I were first married, I learned about growing plants on a much larger scale. I participated in the fieldwork that was necessary to grow crops for 300 head of dairy cattle and also helped with the family’s u-pick strawberry business. Still, my most satisfying efforts were put forth in my flowerbeds and vegetable garden. There was something much more meaningful about growing the food you ate and the flowers that decorated your house.

    African Violets Today in our new home my gardens are much smaller; I no longer grow two acres of vegetables and flowers. We are slowly getting beds of asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries established, claming some workable garden areas from the woods, and making plans for fruit trees and bushes. It’s very hard work, but at the same time so very satisfying.

    Besides the tangibles of gardening – the fresh fruits and vegetables to eat, beautiful flowers to soothe your soul, the physical exercise – are the intangibles, those things that are harder to quantify but often mean a great deal more. Here are a few of my “intangibles”:

    • Memories of working in my gardens, hearing my children’s voices as they played in the May twilight

    • Smelling the lilacs growing in my yard and remembering my grandmother’s lilacs in full bloom, the air heavy with their sweet scent

    • Trampling through my mother’s flowerbeds last summer, bags and shovel in hand, collecting samples, cuttings and bulbs to bring home – and watching them begin to grow this spring in my own gardens

    • Helping my son Charles create his own flower garden and marveling at his artist’s eye that so obviously “sees” the end results of his design

    • Watering the African violets that my mother-in-law gave to me when we moved so far away

    • Remembering the roadside stand we had several years ago and the excitement in my children’s eyes as they earned their first money

    • The relaxation I gain from my daily walks to inspect which plant is ready to blossom or what new shoot is beginning to poke through the ground

    Gardening feeds my soul as little else does. I hope I have planted the seeds of such passion within my children. I can see the beginnings of my reflection in my children, as my mother must see herself in me when we discuss gardening. It is the reflections of ourselves, our passions, which we see in our children that will enable us to “live” through time, long after the possessions we have accumulated are worn out or sold.

    Share your passions with your children. One day you may be pleasantly surprised to see your reflection looking back at you from their eyes or the eyes of your grandchildren!

    Until our next issue – unfurl those passions and ride the wind

    ~ Karen

    Copyright April 2000

    Note: Originally published in May/June 2000 issue of HELM (Home Education Learning Magazine) in the regular column entitled "Reflections."

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The Teenage Liberation Handbook
How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
by Grace Llewellyn
For everyone who has ever gone to school or is interested in the current national debate over educational reforms, but it is especially relevant for teenagers and the parents or caregivers of teens.

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How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School

by Rebecca Rupp
A structured plan to ensure that your children will learn what they need to know when they need to know it, from preschool through high school. Based on the traditional pre-K through 12th-grade structure.

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