You can learn a lot about homeschooling from taking care of your plants. I have always been a big fan of plants, especially the small or blooming ones. I blame it on my mom, who gave me a name that means “flowering shrub”. I’ve been picking flowers and collecting plants ever since!
I don’t consider myself to have a green thumb, but I have learned what plants work best for me. Which is also a big part of homeschooling successfully — learning what works best for you and your kiddos. So, no matter where you currently stand on the “keeping plants alive” spectrum, here are some helpful ideas for taking care of plants and homeschooling your kids. Complete with photos of my favorite plants, ‘cause that’s what we plant moms do.
So, the first way that homeschooling is like caring for plants is that…
1. Each one is unique.
One thing that I love about plants is that there are so many different choices. You can go to your favorite plant nursery (here’s mine), visit your plant friend’s porch, or just scroll through Etsy, and find plants in every shape, size, color, and temperament.
For instance, my friend gave me a plant that looks like little strings of dolphins (one of my favorite animals) and I have another one that resembles tall snakes (much cuter as a plant than as a live animal). They are completely different. And I love them both equally.
It’s like that with our kiddos too, isn’t it? Each one of them is unique. Which is a really important thing to remember when starting to homeschool. One of the best ways to make sure that your homeschool journey is successful is to to figure out each child’s strengths, weaknesses and passions using questions and observations.
For example, what kind of books are they choosing at the library? For my analytical problem-solving son, it was always books about how things work or giant non-fiction ones about animals. And what kind of things are they doing (or not doing) for fun? My creative, artistic daughter was always writing, directing, or acting out a play or story (and steering clear of math).
Then, you can use that intel to find the best homeschooling resources to keep each child engaged in learning. Some subjects, like history, science, and art, are easier to teach to multiple children of different ages and ability levels. Often, reading and math are ones where each child is at a different place and needs individual instruction and practice. The more that you can use the passions, strengths, and weaknesses of each child to craft a unique learning environment, the better he or she will grow.
So, celebrate each one’s uniqueness, and create the best learning environment.
And speaking of growth, one more thing that caring for plants will teach you about homeschooling is…
2. Each one is on its own blooming time table.
You can’t just make plants — or kiddos — bloom whenever you want. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if you could? I am a sucker for a flowering plant with tiny blooms, so when I discovered hoyas, I got super excited and started filling up my online carts everywhere. Then I realized how much all those mature, blooming plants would cost me, so I came back to reality and started planting some free hoya cuttings from my generous plant friends. And I learned something about waiting for those hoyas to bloom that applies to homeschooling too.
Patience is king. And really tough! Even if you give your baby hoya the perfect amount of sunlight and water (which is not too much of either one), it still takes a couple of years for the first bloom to appear. YEARS! That’s a lot of patient waiting.
And there’s a whole lot of patient waiting in homeschooling too. Because each one of your unique kiddos is going to learn things at a different pace. Almost every child has at least one concept or subject that blossoms immediately, and another that takes a long time before you see even a tiny bud of understanding.
That slow-budding subject was math for my daughter, and we tried all kinds of curriculums before we found this colorful one that helped her mathematical skills to begin to bloom. My son struggled with writing all the way up to his senior year when he finally blossomed by writing a short novel using NaNoWriMo.
No matter what subject or concepts your children may struggle to learn, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you are giving them the right instruction and support, and then be patient. Because just like those little hoyas, one day they will blossom and bloom in their own unique way.
So, be patient and wait for understanding to bloom.
And one more way that homeschooling is like caring for plants is that…
3. Each one requires different care.
Like every good plant mom, I love all my plants equally, but I don’t give them all the same exact care. I need to water my thirsty flowering purslane almost every day. But some of my little succulents in their adorable mini cat planters only want plenty of sun and a tiny sip of water once every few weeks to be happy. My zz plant and swiss cheese monstera are just fine with weekly watering and not much sun at all. They all need different types of care to grow and thrive.
So do our homeschoolers. Some kiddos will learn to read almost immediately and only need a good reading list to keep growing. Others may struggle with reading and need lots of intensive help and reading resources to thrive. And sometimes, the method or curriculum that works perfectly for one child in your family may not work at all for another. So, if you’ve been patient, but are not seeing any growth in your kiddo, it might be time to switch things up and try something new.
Because each one is unique, and will bloom in their own timing if given the right care.
So, give each one the care they need to thrive.
I would love to chat more about plants or help you with any specific homeschooling questions. You can contact me here or comment below. Here’s to a house full of thriving plants and homeschoolers!