From Black to Green Thumb: Gardening Enthusiast Shares Her Story

Lisa: Today, I am here today with Alicia DeVore from Create My Garden, who went from black to green thumb! Alicia is a longtime homeschooler, and she is here to share her story about how she got into gardening. And we're excited to share with you some simple tips and tricks so that you can start gardening with your kids.

Today's podcast is sponsored by True North Homeschool Academy.

Botany, along with the other True North Homeschool Academy Science classes are student favorites, year after year! Botany students can expect to gain a basic understanding of plant life, including plant anatomy, learn to appreciate herbs & medicinal plants, foraging, gardening & more! Students will learn how to keep a science notebook, as well as participate in labs. This class is suited for junior high students (6th-8thth grade) can be used as a high school elective.

Getting Started

So, Alyssa, tell me how long you’ve been homeschooling and how you got into gardening. 

Alicia: So, 16 years ago, my youngest was five and my oldest was ten. And we started homeschooling because my husband was homeschooled. He was one of the original homeschoolers when Dobson said, Hey, homeschool!” So, his mom pulled him out of kindergarten, and started doing that. She was an unschooler, though, and so he did not learn how to read or do anything. And in third grade, I mean, they just played in the dirt. They had so much outside time, and he and his siblings, and in third grade, he's like, Mom, I really think I want to go to school, I'm bored. And she's like, well then teach yourself how to read. And he taught himself how to read. Yeah, he and his siblings are some of the smartest people I've ever met in my life. 


Lisa: So when I just want to to pause for a minute because a lot of people think unschooling right now means there's no direction or resources or anything. You're talking about the old time unschoolers that were John Holt aficionados. If you haven't heard of John Holt, pause and go check out John Holt, “The way they learn,” “Why children fail,” etc.  There's a whole group of his books that are really excellent. And this was before video games and before cellphones. 

Aicia: Yes! And he was a pastor's kid. They had no money. They were home. And that was how they interacted and had fun. Well, as I look at these people they are absolutely fascinating. And when we started dating 27 years ago, the first thing he said on one of our very first dates was, would you homeschool our kids. At the time was a public school teacher. And I had never thought of that? But looking in his eyes. I was like, I'll do anything for you. Yeah, I would homeschool your kids. And from then on, I was like, okay, I can do this. And I started looking at the public school at that point that I was teaching in and realizing all the wasted space and time. And so that took me right into homeschooling.

So as we started dating, and we got married quickly, right after that and decided that homeschooling would be the right way. And I was looking at my public school teaching going, how could this have improved? How can I improve this for my public school kids? So I spent those years that I was still teaching kind of processing; What would make it a better space? Then what I was experiencing in the classroom. 

And we had our first child, who was a miracle, and then we adopted two more children and they are  miracles. And as I have three tiny little kids, and I'm starting to homeschool my oldest, the best, most amazing resource that came into my world was Kathy Duffy's. 100 best curriculum choices. And that book totally transformed everything because I was able to say, Okay, what personality style is my oldest? And then what personality style am I going to be when I'm teaching him. I had to throw out everything I had learned. Because I wasn't teaching in a group setting. I wasn’t tutoring one on one. And so that book allowed me to give space to each of my kids with their own giftings through the years that we homeschooled. 

Our First Garden: Everything Died!

When the oldest son turned 10  he was like, Mom, I want a garden. And we lived in a tiny space in Los Angeles and  I'm all honey. Mommy kills everything that is green, except kids.

But my husband Mike, threw together a couple of garden beds and we, we put called the soil company and got soil and everything we planted that summer died, everything.

Want to hear the rest of the story? Check out this week's podcast

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Lisa Nehring
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