Gardening is not only a relaxing hobby but can also be an exceptional learning opportunity for students. Here are some of the easy learning opportunities available in your home garden for students from preschool to high school.

Starting Your Homeschool Garden

You don’t need acreage or even a backyard to start a small garden! Find a solution that fits your space and budget. You can grow plants without a big budget in a plastic storage tub, fabric grow bags, or even a kiddie pool. Especially in early spring, you will be able to find already-started plants in home improvement stores. We also recommend starting some plants from seed because it is cheaper and will provide valuable hands-on learning of the whole growing process. Some easy-to-grow and readily available plants to start from seed are radishes, bush beans, and salad greens. You might be surprised to know how many varieties there are! Read the plant information on seed packets with your students to learn together, and encourage them to plan out what should grow where.

We suggest all students keep a gardening journal or log to record their observations, predictions, and lessons. They can bring it on field trips to botanical gardens or community gardens to log more of these concepts in action.


Preschool and kindergarten students can practice using their vocabulary, senses, and observation skills. Children at this age can be fascinated by the garden’s vibrant colors. Prompt them to use their five senses and developing vocabulary to describe the changing garden, and help them record their observations in their garden journal.

Young learners can continue their science lessons about the living and nonliving things. Observe the pollinators and beneficial insects that live in the garden. Encourage their curiosity with exploration of these creatures and their habitat, and explain how these creatures are essential in the garden ecosystem. You can even have your child record a drawing of the garden life in their log.

Elementary School

Elementary-aged children can take a more active role in the garden by assisting with maintenance, such as watering, planting, and harvesting. As they do so, they can revisit many important elementary science concepts, such as ecosystems, the correlation between weather, seasons, plant growth, and life cycles.

Explore the plant life cycle with them by reviewing images of little seedlings growing and how they turn into flowers and vegetables in the seed-to-plant cycle. They can also learn about the different parts of a plant, how they grow, and what they need to survive.

Middle School

Middle school students can expand their understanding of life science and environmental science by exploring the interconnected relationships of the garden ecosystem. Discuss the relationships in your garden– what relies on each other?

Those students studying earth science can learn about the different types of soil, such as sand, silt, and clay, and how soil impacts plant growth. Ask them to research native soil conditions and climate, and which kinds of ecosystems thrive in those environments.

Another area for learning is the role of soil in plant growth and conservation efforts such as composting. Ask your student to research types of composting systems; see if there is a community composting project your family can join, or set up a small-scale one for your family. Composting is a great way to motivate students to recycle and teach them about decomposition, nutrient cycling, and how to practice sustainability.

High School

Complex topics in biology and environmental science, such as ecology, biodiversity, and environmental changes are great for high school students to explore. They could also study the ecological footprint of agriculture and explore sustainable ways of farming such as organic farming or permaculture. As part of their studies, students can learn about the technology used in agriculture, such as drip irrigation and hydroponics systems. Ask them to present their findings, and analyze which practices could be adapted or tested in your home setup.

Moreover, students can collaborate with community members on environmental quality issues, such as improving air quality, identifying endangered species and exploring how you can implement solutions to prevent further depletion or extinction. Look to community gardens, or nearby state forests and parks to find
community service opportunities

Take Your Learning Outside!

Gardens offer endless possibilities for students to learn about different subjects. Students of all ages can develop scientific observation skills, learn about biology, ecology, and environmental science while caring for plants. Gardening in the home can also help students to appreciate and connect better with nature while providing the added benefits of fresh produce and a relaxing environment. By nurturing a garden, you can offer students valuable educational experiences while cultivating a lifelong appreciation for the natural world.

Enjoyed this article? Sign up to receive others like it straight in your inbox.