Monday, February 11, 2008

Of Gardens and Education

Winter is not generally the season people think about plant identification, but it seems poignant to note that two of our community’s revered plant experts, Dorothy Hoard and Terry Foxx, will be teaching classes about plant related things this month at PEEC.

I’ve not been thinking much about live plants~~other than dreaming about how I wish to finally get a garden going this summer. Being able to grow and nurture some fresh, home-grown produce would be worth, well…bushels!

I’ve had the placeholders for my future garden sitting dormant in my back yard for about 3 years now. Unfortunately, what began as a great idea, has turned into a crumbling choss-pile of debris. Being that I’m a working Mama who loves to recreate in the outdoors (beyond the garden), I haven’t had much time to devote to getting those garden beds completed. The choss-pile of sandstone rubble that could become some pretty nifty garden beds should probably just be removed, and some standard wooden beds erected in their place. Of course, this will require a helping hand by someone other than me, as I’m not necessarily a wood-working wizard, although I can fix the plumbing in most any toilet pretty quick!

My New Year’s Resolutions this year weren’t about losing weight, or getting on a fitness program, but were, rather, on a different track: 1) To get my garden beds completed and grow some scrumptious veggies this summer, and 2) To open my heart more to my immediate family.

Two really completely different things, that actually will likely work symbiotically, assuming we get Resolution # 1 in place. Having a plot to grow their own carrots and strawberries will be both educational and plain-old dirt-diggin’ fun for the kiddos, and not having to trudge through the supermarket each week for certain kitchen staples will be priceless for me. A less-harried Mama means a happier Mama, and muddy kids mean happier kids thus Voilà! A more peaceful home. Simple, really.

At least in theory.

As a voracious reader of topics great and small, I’ve been doing a lot of recent research on education. Radical educational reform, homeschooling, unschooling, and regular public schooling. A wonderful line crossed my eyes a few weeks back. It was so simple, and yet stunningly subversive in this day and age of trying to make our schools more competitive, more efficient, and just more better. While I don’t have the quote directly in front of me, the quote was along the lines of this: “ Children just need time. Time to play. Time to grow. Time to be bored on occasion.” This was being said in reference to our fast-paced, highly scheduled society, where children (especially in this town) are shuffled from music lessons, to soccer practice, to dance practice, to swim meets, chess tournaments, and miscellaneous other sports and clubs that last long into the night, only to have to come home to homework that must be completed before rising again early the next morning. School days are longer, recesses are shorter (and even non-existent is some schools), and children are well on their ways to becoming stressed-out, overworked, overbooked, overstimulated adults with no concept of how to enjoy free time (other than the TV, of course).

If I can do only one thing right as a Mama, I want to at least provide my children with time. Time to play in the dirt. Time to be bored. Time to pick strawberries. Time to splash around in a puddle. Simply, time to be a kid.

If there is one thing I wish for as an adult, it is more time. More time to enjoy the things I love, and more time to complete the menialities that must get done. However, as I'm sure most adults have noticed, time seems to go by faster each year, and thus I can strive for helping my children to enjoy this time in their lives when time seems not so fleeting.

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