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Welcome to the blog section of Room613.
Here we'll be sharing some thoughts about Jewish homeschooling,
out of our unique experiences and perspectives. Kids are welcome to blog too!
We look forward to an open exchange of ideas.

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Yael Resnick
Group Co-Administrator


Ups and downs in the life of an imperfect homeschooling mom

March 2011 Posts


A Learning Experience
Blog Entry

Spring hasn't quite sprung... but it will!

Thursday, March 24th 2011 @ 4:16 AM

The calendar told us it was the first day of spring (Purim day!). There was even a warm, sunny day sandwiched between the cold ones. So when I saw some cute flower-growing kits for sale at my local CVS, I bought a few for my kids as a way to welcome the season (and learn some science).

Of course, a flower-growing kit isn't complicated—it's just soil, seeds, and a planter. You don't really need a kit. Well, let me correct that. You probably don't really need a kit. I do. Because if I didn't have a colorful box with everything in it ready to go, I probably would never get around to actually having my kids plant anything. In fact, a few years ago, someone gave me a similar kit as a gift—except it didn't come with soil. So it was seeds and a cute flowerpot. And it was really pretty sitting on my windowsill for about a year until I bought some soil. And by then I had moved to a different house and I couldn't find the flowerpot and the seeds. Then I left the bag of soil out in the rain a few too many times and that was the end of that.

So this was my second chance. And these are the kits I bought, made by Buzzy.

Cute, right?

I gave the sunflower kit to my 6-year-old (larger seeds, easier to handle) and the daisy kit to my 10-year-old.

The day after Purim, with great fanfare, we cleared all the mishloach manot souvenirs off the dining room table and set ourselves up to plant flowers. Although I hadn't planned it in advance, I knew that I wanted my kids to do more than just plant the seeds; I wanted them to have a meaningful learning experience.

Before I could think about how to go about accomplishing that, they started saying some interesting things, and I realized: observations! They were making great observations. So we talked about what an observation is, and how that is one way scientists learn about the world. 

Here are my daughters making a discovery about the different sizes of sunflower and daisy seeds:

I realized they were going to learn with or without me. When I saw an opportunity, I encouraged them to stop and think about certain things and I sneaked in a few bonus learning moments where I could, too. But for the most part, I let them follow their own process and ask me questions as needed, as they followed the instructions on the side of the kit.

Here is a photo essay of the experience, with a few notes about some of the learning that came out of it.


Getting their hands dirty… ("I love dirt! It's my new favorite thing.")

























Sneaking in some fractions… (The instructions said to put 3/4 of the soil into the planter. So we divided the soil in the bowl into four parts, and they scooped three parts into their planters. And what was left in the bowl? One fourth—aha!)











Baby also wants to play with dirt… (So I gave her a bowl of oats—which is a good thing, because she ate some, of course. Also note the migration of the oats from the bowl to the table to the floor.)























Inch by inch, row by row… (Planting the seeds one inch apart gave us a chance to talk about how to estimate an inch, how to plan an array of rows and columns for the number of seeds in the packet, and why seeds need a bit of space between them.)






























More dirt... and the flowers are ready to grow! ("Hashem, please let all of these sunflowers grow big and tall!")


















And one final learning moment: With Purim just behind us, we talked about the seeds being hidden inside the soil—a miracle waiting to happen—just as Esther was at the center of a miracle in which her identity was hidden, and G-d was hidden… and just like a hamataschen, which symbolizes this same idea.

And now, on to the season of revealed miracles as we prepare to celebrate Pesach!




Deborah Gelbman
Room613 Community
Yehudis2 said on Thursday, March 24th 2011 @ 5:34 AM:

What a nice idea!  You have such beautiful children.

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