Happy Monday Everyone!

I had a customer ask me about my personal experiences with homeschooling and adding in the herbal curriculums. Since I went into detail, I thought I’d share it here in case anyone else is new to homeschooling and working with curriculums.

Her questions:
Another question…Is this curriculum meant to be a stand-alone curriculum or is this specifically for herbs only in which a homeschooling parent would also need to have a separate curriculum to cover all subject materials? I’m guessing this is a stand-alone program that you would integrate into a separate curriculum. So two questions here:

1. What curriculum did you use with your children while you were teaching them these herbs and using your own curriculum?
2. How much time per day does the herb curriculum take in general for kindergarten and 1st grade through 3rd grade?

Can you give me an idea of what your schedule looked like? I know that they morph all the time, but maybe you can remember what worked best for you and how you incorporated your main curriculum into this learning!

My Answer:

This curriculum can satisfy parts of curriculum requirements but does not satisfy all – math and history are two examples of what it does not cover. Also, it will depend on your state’s requirements for the other subjects. However, especially for younger kids, it can be considered a good portion for language arts, including reading, writing, vocabulary, and spelling, as well as science, particularly botany. Obviously, you’re going to want to round out your science curriculum to cover more than just botany but for older students, you could also add in anatomy and physiology as part of the curriculum.

I worked with a hodge podge of curriculum with my kids. I started with mainly Waldorf based curriculums and my favorite was the Christopherus. As they got older, I started gravitating more towards Charlotte Mason style learning. I loved the Pandia Press science and history curriculums for those two curriculums specifically – they were not Waldorf or Charlotte Mason but provided great lessons. For math we used mostly Math-U-See. I also had some other fun math books such as Kitchen Math and Math in the Garden. Games also helped with math such as Monopoly and Uno.

For younger kids, I would probably only do 10-30 minutes a day and it would often be incorporated with other things. For instance, I refer to circle time at the beginning of each day. That’s a great way to introduce the plants through stories and poems (such as those I list in the curriculum guides), as well as having samples of the plants on your nature table and the tracing cards. Adding in coloring pages and crafts for some fun and just having a casual conversation about the plant, how to identify it (perhaps followed by a nature walk to look for the plant outdoors if possible or a garden session to plant and grow it, then tend to the garden) can go a long way too and takes just a few minutes. The biggest time for that age group would be a medicine making session, but usually just once a day, though if you’ve made a vinegar or a tincture, that can be shaken during circle time, while telling a poem about the plant.

It will also depend on your child and where they are in development. Some kids crave more and will want to do the more hands-on copywork, word searches, etc. The most important thing is to keep it fun and light. Especially with younger kids, they still learn by imitating you so just having them alongside you while you make remedies is setting a great foundation.

Boy, you’re asking me to think back 7-11 years ago! I’ll see how well I can remember, my ADHD brain doesn’t hold on to a lot of details like that. As far as I can remember, our mornings would start out with waking and breakfast. Then clean up and set up for circle time. A candle, a bowl or vase of the plants/flowers, and any other props I had. We’d light the candle, recite a poem or two, tell a story, sometimes read a book. Afterwards we’d do our lessons and I know Waldorf likes to be specific as to what is done in the morning and what is done in the afternoon but honestly, we didn’t really stick to that schedule. Especially at that age, homeschooling only lasted an hour or two. Then lots of outside time. When I made herbal remedies, they were often with me through the entire process, from harvesting to processing or drying, to medicine making, filling containers, labeling containers. I’d talk about the plants and what they were used for as we did all those tasks. It was just part of our day if that makes sense.

I’d love to hear everyone else’s experiences with incorporating herbs into their homeschool curriculums and what curriculums they have found to be useful. Feel free to add them in the comments here.

Kristine