Sensory

Our Urban Sensory Veggie Garden

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Our Urban Sensory Veggie Garden

Spring is finally here and I am excited. It is time for us to officially get started on our Urban Sensory Veggie Garden (that is a mouthful). I am looking forward to the day when I can open the curtains to the backyard and see a beautiful backyard full of veggies and greenery. We have a ton of work to get back to that place again. It is a mess.

Goals For The Garden

Here are my goals for the garden. I need to:

1) protect my son (Zion) from bee stings. Zion has a very serious allergy to bee stings, so I need to plan the garden without attracting bees.

2) provide a sensory experience (sight, touch, taste, smell, sound). Our oldest (Elisha) has Autism, ADHD, and sensory issues and at least two of our other children show signs of Autism and all of our children have sensory issues to varying degrees.

3) keep the whole project to be cheap (or next to free).

4) reseed the small grassy area that has been overcome by mud.

5) create a fun garden play area in the shade garden where no veggies grow.

6) downsize the designated backyard toys. (Note to self – get rid of clutter).

7) plant veggies that we like to eat. Think: lettuce, green onions, garlic, spinach, beans, peas, rhubarb, swiss chard, radishes, to start with.

8) make the yard colorful. I am thinking fabric flags, pinwheels, etc.

9) create a sitting area so we can enjoy the all our hard work.

10) purchase or find a mini green house that can stand against the fence. Think: an outdoor bookshelf with a plastic stroller cover over it.

11) purchase a worm bin from the Compost Education Center. It will live under the bunny hutch if it fits.

12) purchase or find a composter that would work in either the backyard or the front yard.

13) plant sun loving veggies in the front yard (zucchini, cucumber, watermelon, or pumpkin).

14) plant flowers for cutting and bringing in the house IN THE FRONT YARD (to avoid bees where the kids play, but still give us pretty flowers for the table).

Our Urban Garden Board On Pinterest

I have been collecting and gathering ideas on my urban garden pinterest board. There are some really fun ideas.

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Gardening eBook Bundle

I was so excited to see this ebook collection come through my inbox on Monday. I have been thinking a lot about getting out in the garden and writing this post in my head, so it was just the push that I needed to get my behind in gear. I purchased the ebooks and they are awesome! Check it out. (And yes, this graphic link is an affiliate link, but the books are worth it.)

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Do you have a garden? What are you planting this year? Do you have a gardening notebook? Do you garden in a small space?

Homeschooler, How Does Your Garden Grow?

urban garden

With spring just around the corner, my thoughts are turning to the garden. We live in the city, so we have a tiny backyard garden and we need to make the most of our space. In the six years that we have lived in our row house, we have had some variety of garden just about every year.

I love having a garden. It gives us an excuse to get off technology and get out side. I have a secret. I like playing in dirt. I love running the dirt through my fingers and breaking up the clumps.

I even enjoy finding knotted worms

knotted worms

and funky snails.

snail

What I really enjoy is planting things that my family can eat. The most common things that grow well in our garden are tomatoes, snap peas, and beans.

It is time to dig out the garden/seed bucket, develop a plan with the kids, and then get outside.

  1. Have you planted your garden yet?
  2. What kinds of things do you plant in your garden?
  3. Do your kids help you?

Having Higher Expectations

I realized something this week, I am guilty of always thinking that my kids can’t do things. I am pretty sure this line of thought stems from Elisha’s ADHD and autism and wanting to avoid stress added stress in our home.

When you have a child with ADHD or autism, you already have a complex child and you want to make life as simple and calm as possible. At least that is what we wanted to do. Even the simplest things would cause meltdowns in the past. All of these things below have caused some form of sensory issue for Elisha in the past.

  • putting on socks
  • putting on shoes
  • clothing needs to be simple and comfortable (no zippers or buttons)
  • change in routine
  • brushing teeth
  • bathing

Let me tell you, we have seen marked improvement in the past year and see little to no issues for most of these areas most of the time.

In the past, anytime that Elisha would try something new he would have a meltdown. We have seen this over and over again over the years. Instead of challenging him and pushing him to try new things, we avoided them. This was the best solution for us at the time, but I am rethinking that solution (for the season we are in now) because Elisha is coping with everyday things much more easily and I want to stretch him a little bit.

I have realized that we need to let the other kids surpass Elisha in whatever areas they need to. This has been a hard lesson for me grasp. I have always held it in my head that he is the oldest, so the other kids can’t move on until he does, but this kind of thinking is only holding all the other kids back.

I have also realized that because Elisha has been allowed to get away with saying, “I can’t,” the other kids are starting to use that excuse too, before they even try. I want to curb that excuse now before it becomes paralyzing for them. They need to grow up believing they can do anything they set their minds to, but for some things they may just have to work harder than others.

These thoughts were on my mind because I instituted daily journal writing and two children complied, while one complained (and not the one you would think). While talking to our support teacher recently, I was inspired to have the kids work REALLY HARD on their printing this year. The idea that we came up with was a SIMPLE daily journal that would increase in difficulty through out the year.

For the first little while we are going to go back to basics and work on printing the date, our name, and ONE word. Now, before you think this is crazy for kids who are in 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades, let me tell you something. We do most of our work orally or with projects that require very little printing. Printing has always caused a great deal of stress (and we avoid stress, remember).

For Elisha the stress was due to fatigue. He has low muscle tone and his hand and arm get tired very quickly when he is printing. This is compounded by the need to hold the pencil tightly and push very hard so he has some sensory feedback.

For the other kids, I just didn’t push hard. They would cry and say they couldn’t and I would back off (because I had been conditioned to prevent the meltdowns). I am not saying that I was right or wrong to not push them, but we are now at the place where they need to be pushed, so that we can move forward. They need to master printing this year, it is as simple as that. We are going to take it one step at a time and see how far we can grow in our skills this year. 

If this is something that your child/children struggle with, you might find it useful to print out this week’s journal page and follow along with us on our journey.

journal 1

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