Houseplant Homeschooling: Using Plants As Teaching Tools

Just because we're spending more time at home doesn't mean we can't enjoy nature and wildlife, and what better way to create a homeschool plant science lesson than experimenting with the real thing? Kids are curious little explorers by nature, and learning through immersion and experience can be so much more impactful than simply taking notes from a textbook. Want to integrate plant care into your homeschool routine to get your kids excited about science? Here's how!


dad and son growing succulents summerwinds california

A Hands-On Homeschool Course: The Biology Of Plants

Starting with the very basics of anatomy is so much easier when you've got real plants right in front of you! Roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit—they all serve different functions but work together to create a living creature that can reproduce. You can also learn a lot by comparing plants to humans. For example, their roots are like our brains and circulatory systems, their flowers are their reproductive organs, and their fruits are like ovaries. But, unlike humans, they drink water by soaking it up through their roots, and they make their own food by soaking up sunlight.

child repotting houseplant summerwinds california

From Seed To Flower: The Plant Life Cycle

Pick up some quick-developing seeds, like radishes or beans, and get your kids to sprout them! Have them make a journal entry every time they notice something new, like when the seedling first emerges, a new leaf appears, or things start to change color. Keep a consistent watering schedule, provide ample sunlight, and if the plant isn't doing so great, try and troubleshoot what might be wrong, and change your routine. Maybe it needs some more sunshine, or a little less water.

By the end of the plant's cycle, you'll have a tasty snack to enjoy! It will provide your kids with some insight on what goes into food production, and it's a guaranteed way to get them excited about their vegetables.

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Different Plants Live In Different Biomes

Combine your biology and geography lessons into one! Gather all the houseplants in your home, or pick up a variety of different kinds from the greenhouse, and do some research about where they originally came from. Cacti, of course, grow in dry deserts, so they don't need as much water as the others. Tropicals like the monstera come from humid rainforests shaded by a canopy of trees, so they need moist air, but not as much direct sunshine. Match each one to the biome they originally came from, and make a big poster with illustrations and all the information you've collected!

child's hands repotting houseplant from above summerwinds california

Homeschool Chemistry Basics & How Things Grow

Fertilizers help to boost growth and feed our gardens—but how? For a more advanced homeschool lesson, learn about what the numbers on the fertilizer bag stand for (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) as well as some of the other extra nutrients that are added in, like magnesium. Research what effect each nutrient has on the plant, and what will happen when you add it into the soil. Which nutrients stimulate leaf production, and which nutrients stimulate flower production?

For a fun experiment, pick up two houseplants that look nearly identical, and only fertilize one of them. Get your kids to monitor the differences in growth, and mark them down in a journal. The marked difference in growth and health might even encourage them to take their vitamins more often!

Ready to embark on this immersive science lesson with the kids? Ignite their interest in gardening and food science by providing them with the tools they need to create incredible things all by themselves, instead of just taking notes and listening to lectures. Visit one of our Summerwinds locations to shop for all the seeds and supplies you need to create a kid-friendly botany lab. This will definitely make for a memorable school year!


About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.