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Homeschool On The Go: Garfield Park Conservatory

Homeschool On The Go: Garfield Park Conservatory


It never fails, we get started on the homeschool year, and the ladybug let’s out a HUGE sigh, and tells me that she wants to go to real school. As opposed to this fake one that I have her in for three to four hours per day. After overhearing her go to Mr. Houseful and say the same thing, I decided to look  up a homeschool co-op that I joined last year – and paid the dues by the way – to see what they were up to. It was as if the stars aligned. Three days into our school year, and they were meeting at one of our favorite places – Garfield Park Conservatory, except it’s not fun for the ladybug anymore because we never go with a CLASSROOM! Well, today I took them on the first official field trip of the school year, and I knocked her socks off. Well, it was more like the moms who brought all of their children along knocked her socks off, but I’m taking full credit for it. 

She quickly found a friend that was born in the same month AND year as her, and they became field trip buds. We were having the children do a scavenger hunt hosted by Garfield Park Conservatory, and they were having a blast. They found all of the items, and I was pleasantly surprised that the Houseful of Littles shared the scavenger hunt paper and everything! 

This kid right here just enjoyed running through the Monet Garden and having his personal paparazzi with him. 

While others enjoyed the time sitting on a rock in the middle of their own private rain forest. 

And yet still, others posed perfectly for that one shot. 


There are times that I continue to question my sanity with homeschooling, and I’m always answered back in the affirmative. This time, it was through finding a co-op that I meshed well with. The children got along, and we all seem to be on the same wavelength with teaching our children. We tossed around the idea of having a themed month where we pull together our own lesson plans, but meet each month to discuss what we’ve learned. That makes me happy, because it gives me focus, and me without focus is like…SQUIRREL! 

I will say that the Garfield Park Conservatory is a gem. They ask for a suggested donation of $5 per adult and $2 per child, but you are able to give what you can, but please do drop something in the donation bin. 

Today we learned how the Conservatory is continuing to replace the windows that were damaged by the hailstorm of 2011 (it was wicked awful and dented the hood of our car insanely bad) and the kids were able to find ferns that had been snuck outside to the Palm Room to be loved on by visitors. The kids enjoyed sniffing different flowers and looking at the different leave patterns and markings of trees and branches. They even enjoyed seeing kumquat, grapefruit, lemons, bananas and pineapples growing. Did you know that pineapples grow from out of the ground like broccoli, and don’t hang off of trees? I’m not sure why I didn’t know this, but it was fascinating to me! 

Being able to see them take in all the different types of plants and foliage that are represented in the world, and then letting them know that there were hundreds maybe even thousands more that COULDN’T fit into the conservatory – and watching the understanding come to their little minds was amazing for me. I’m guessing this is what makes teachers continue to come into classrooms day after day to teach children despite the circumstances that surround them. Overcrowding, budget cuts and folks in general that don’t support. 

Being able to work at our own pace, and wait until a large school group cleared out in order to continue our scavenger hunt is a luxury that we have with homeschooling. Not needing to get back to the school for pick-up or dismissal, and being able to plan trips for whatever time! About the socialization thing – NONE of the children present had any issues interacting with other children, and even the shy children were respected. A great day if I do say so myself. 




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