Outline for Gardening – Unit Study Idea

Outline for Gardening is a 28 page booklet recently released by our sister ministry,  Sonlight Education Ministry (SEM).  It is an older publication not found in the SEM catalog, but is full of such possibility!

My first thought was that the booklet is a wonderful gardening curriculum outline.  Starting several months before planting season begins in your area, you can work on understanding each section of the outline and how it applies to your particular growing zone.The various sections lend themselves to different types of projects and activities.

For example, for Sunlight: Measure and graph the amount of sunlight several potential garden plots receive each day and use the information to choose the best garden plots.

Soil: Do a home soil test or send a soil sample to your area’s university extenstion service for testing.  Use the results to learn what the your soil needs and how to provide for those needs.

Variety selection:  Order several seed/gardening catalogs and let your child create a collage of the garden they would like to grow in the coming season.

The companion planting section is written in such a way as to add a very nice character development/spiritual growth aspect to your study.

Outline for Gardening is available for free download on the Sonlight Education Ministry website.  While you are there, be sure to check the Released Materials page to see what has been recently released.


September Links and Ideas


September is here!  For many of us, Fall is just around the corner.  A few links and ideas to add a bit of interest and learning fun to this month.

Long-billed Curlew in evening sun, Morro Strand State Beach, Mor

Nature study ideas for September –  The Nature Conservancy’s bird for September is the Long-billed Curlew.  Click the name of the bird to learn the other names that it goes by.   The aster and the morning glory are the flowers for September.  Wouldn’t it be fun to press the flower of the month for a year and create a collection of pressed flowers?

September is Whole Grains Month.  The perfect month to add a new grain to your meal plans. What about trying a new bread recipe? Following a recipe is math, science and technical reading all rolled into one. Homeschooling fun!  And you get bread!

September 12th is National Day of Encouragement.  Why not celebrate by writing notes to friends and family.  Everyone appreciates a bit of encouragement!

September 24th is Punctuation Day.   Here’s a free printable punctuation poster in both UK English and US English.


**Research topics/ideas with a September connection:

The first Continental Congress assembled in Sept. 1774.  In 1776, the Continental Congress changed the name of the new American nation from the United Colonies to the United States.

Composer George Fredrick Handel finished Messiah on Sept. 14, 1741 after working on it nonstop for 23 days.

The Mayflower ship departed England, bound for America on Sept. 16, 1620.






August Links and Ideas

August is here!  A few links and ideas to add a bit of interest and learning fun to the month.

Nature study ideas for August-  The Nature Conservancy’s bird for August is the amazing Painted Bunting.    The gladiolus and poppy are the flowers for August.  Why not take a day to learn more about these beautiful creations?


The Perseid meteor shower will be in ‘outburst’ this year, meaning they should show up at double the usual rate.  The peak of the meteor shower should be around August 12th.

Children’s Day is celebrated in August in several countries.  Why not create your own children’s day celebration?  Interview some seniors you know about their childhoods.  Learn what children used to wear and do for fun 50, 100 or 150 years ago!


Research topics/ideas with an August connection:

Anne Frank penned her last diary entry on August 1, 1944.

Christopher Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492 with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.

The Krakatoa volcano eruption, one of the most catastrophic in recorded history, occurred on August 26, 1883.



*Perseid meteor image source: Kim MyoungSung



June Links and Ideas


June is here!  A few links and ideas to add a bit of interest and learning fun to the month.

Nature study ideas for June-  The Nature Conservancy’s bird for June is the Cerulean Warbler.   The rose and honeysuckle are the flowers for June.  Why not take a day to learn more about these beautiful creations?

June is National Safety Month.  Have a family safety meeting. Do your children know how and when to call 911?  Ask your children to draw maps of your home and label the best exits in case of emergency. Then have them organize and execute a family fire drill.


June 17th is National Eat Your Vegetable Day.  Chayote anyone?  Why not browse the produce section with your children and together choose a new-to-you vegetable to prepare and eat together?

Are you headed to camp meeting this month?  Perhaps you will want to mention that on the AHE-List and arrange to meet up with other homeschooling families.  Make a few new connections!

Research topics/ideas with a June connection:

Author Helen Keller, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and American patriot Nathan Hale were all born in June.

D-Day in Normandy took place on June 6th, 1944.

King John set his seal to the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215.






Seashore Adventures Science Camp – For Homeschoolers In/Near California

Seashore Home School Camp at Albion Marine Station in Northern California is coming up June 5-10, 2016. They do have a few cabins left. This could be a once in a lifetime experience for some kids, as they don’t offer it very often. We’ll be tide-pooling in the mornings and there are classes are for all ages from 3-18.


“Announcing the 55th Home School Science Camp and Outdoor Education Week.  Come join us at the Albion Field Station for an unforgettable experience exploring God’s world at the edge of the sea . Come away from the library, from inside the house, and learn more about God’s Creation while you’re right out in it!  Meet some other home schoolers who intend to have some serious fun, tidepooling and learning about the creatures that live between the tides.  Schedule includes worship, early morning tidepooling, class instruction, and outdoor nature study activities. Camp Orchestra: If you play an orchestra instrument, we are going to have a camp ORCHESTRA for this camp to play for the song services and to do a special number for the program. Be sure to sign up for this if you want to participate so you can get the music ahead of time to practice AND so we can plan on you.”

The link to the application http://www.riverlight.org/creationadventures/Seashore_Application_2016.pdf.

Three Easy Ways to Get Started With Nature Study

Interested in adding nature study to your homeschool program, but don’t know where to start?  Here are three easy ideas that can get you on your way.  Don’t forget to check the links beneath each idea – they will help you expand on your nature study project.

nature study1

1.Plant a Seed – Take a wet paper towel or coffee filter and place a seed (or two) in the center.  Place the towel in a zip-close sandwich bag and place in on a sunny windowsill.   Watch the progress daily to see how the seed germinates. A magnifying glass make daily observation feel even more scientific.   Easy nature study!    Extend the learning by placing other sandwich bags in different environments- the freezer or a dark drawer – for example,  to see what happens.

Science Using Seeds

Germination and Inquiry


2. Find a Tree- This activity requires a small amount of advance preparation. Choose  a park or yard with a variety of trees and collect a leaf or needle from several of the trees.   Have your children take the leaves and match them to the correct tree.

What Tree is That?  Online field guide to trees

Exploring the Secret Life of Trees


3. Set out a bird feeder- Think there are no wild birds around your home?   Make a simple bird feeder, fill it with seed and be amazed at who arrives to have a snack!   Be patient, it might take a few days for birds to realize that a feeder has been set up.   Different types of feed attract different birds – can you attract your favorite?

Project FeederWatch: Common Feeder Birds

Free downloadable poster of common feeder birds


Building Your Birdwatching Skills

Are you thinking that The Great Backyard Bird Count sounds like fun for your children but you don’t know anything about birdwatching? This great four-video series from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a perfect place to start.  Appropriate for all ages, the videos guide you through the basics of bird identification.

We’ve embedded the first video on our blog, and you can find the other three videos HERE