Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

So the seed catalogs are arriving in the mail like the Japanese beetles in June. Only thing is, I get excited about getting those seed catalogs. For the Japanese beetles, I lay out traps.

Seed catalogs mean more to me than potting soil, trying new varieties, and dreaming of getting my hands in the dirt. Seed catalogs offer a great deal of curriculum for my homeschooled children. But whether you homeschool or send your kids on the bus each morning, I'd like to share some of the projects I find between the pages of this free material.

Suppose Johnny is just learning his alphabet. Have him peruse the pages of catalogs and cut out names of vegetables that begin with A, then B, then C, etc. Or, you can have him write a large letter on a piece of card stock, upper and lower case, and cut out a picture to illustrate. The obvious would be apple for A,a.

Need something a little more challenging? Let your middle schooler make out a mock order. Tell him you have $80 to spend and to spend it wisely. Filling out the paper order form in the middle of the catalog is good practice for him filling out forms. He needs to do the math to add up the order and figure the sales tax and shipping rates.

After Johnny fills out his mock order, have him write a paragraph, or a full paper, explaining why he ordered what he did.

Have a child interested in copywriting? Have her write several descriptions of fruits or vegetables. See how appealing she can make Brussels sprouts sound.

Count how many peas are in the picture of a pea pod. If you pick 6 pods, how many peas will you have? If you pick 9 pods, how many peas will you have? You can come up with many different math problems this way.

Choose a few products that originate in other countries (like Goji berries). Find those countries on a world map. Research agricultural facts about those countries. What Zones would they be in? Is that the same as your Zone?

These are just a few examples of lessons like what you will find in an e-booklet I've put together called Lessons from the Seed Catalog. If you want some more ideas, please visit my blog Lessons from the Homestead to order your own copy. It includes over 50 lessons for all grade levels in math, language, science, and more.

What about you? Ever thought of using seed catalogs in this manner? I'd love to hear what you think.


Views: 216

Comment by Miranda on January 19, 2012 at 2:19am

These are wonderful ideas!  As a teacher instructing basic English and literacy, these are fun and different with a homegrown twist.  Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Cornelia on January 19, 2012 at 10:26am

Fantastic ideas!!

Comment by Yvonne on January 19, 2012 at 10:32am

Great use of free materials and bringing new meaning to "recyling paper"! 

Comment by Caroline Malcolm on January 19, 2012 at 10:50am

I love these ideas! Very resourceful...and much more interesting than other methods! I like to save the catalogs for projects. Some companies have beautiful images and illustrations that can be used as gift tags or birthday cards, matted and framed in the kitchen or modge-podged onto ceramic or cork coasters. It's a shame to waste the images, so I keep them around until inspiration strikes!

Thanks for sharing!


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