I’ve seen those picture perfect social media accounts.
You know them, the ones that make you feel like a failure as a parent!
The ones that make you feel like you shouldn’t even bother trying because you’ll never be even close to giving your kids that kind of learning experience.
Sometimes I get caught up in the pretty pictures and forget that they are only showing a curated image.
And I forget.
So I stop, take a deep breath, and remind myself:
You don’t have to do it all perfectly!
Teaching herbalism to your kids (or anything else for that matter) —
You don’t have to know it all perfectly!
Just knowing the name of a plant, is a great start.
But honestly, you don’t even need to know the name of a plant to get started teaching your kids about herbalism.
Learning to identify a plant is a great skill to obtain.
And like all great skills, it takes time and practice.
Grab some plant ID books that are specific to your region and head outside!
And showing your kids that you don’t know it all and that you are still learning is a valuable life lesson for them as well as learning the plant ID skills!
So before you label yourself a failure and giving up before you even begin, just begin!
Herbalism is learned one plant at a time.
Want a few pointers on how to get started?
Start with a notepad and pencil and head outside with your kids. If you have those ID books, bring them along too. You might also wish to bring along a camera to photograph plants you don’t know for future identification
Now start walking around your area — whether it’s your back yard, an empty lot in a city, or a local park — and investigate all the plants.
Start with the ones you know and make a list.
Look up! What trees do you see? Write them down too.
And don’t forget the shrubs.
Next you might wish to tackle the plants you don’t know and try to ID at least one new plant. Be absolutely sure of your identification. I’ll write a future article on tips for identification.
Once you have a handful of plants listed, sit down with your kids and decide which plants you’d like to learn more about.
Hopefully the answer is ALL OF THEM!
Narrow those choices down to one plant. Some ways to decide which plant to choose is:
- Is it abundant in your location?
- Is it in season? i.e., is it getting ready to bloom or in bloom? has it just emerged from the ground? of has it already gone to seed and is now dying back?
- Are you 100% sure that you’ve correctly identified it?
- Is it a plant that seems interesting to you and your kids?
- Is it easy to access?
Once you’ve chosen your plant, it’s time to start researching.
You can often find herbals at the library. Online can also be a great source for information.
Remember though, sometimes information found both in books and online can be wrong or outdated so it’s always important to check several sources.
Look for a date for publication.
Has the book been revised or updated?
Do they list their sources of information so you can research further?
Often you will find several websites with the exact same wording. Somebody has copied somebody else so view those sites with caution, especially if you don’t know who the original author was.
I have also compiled over 130 ebooks on herbs that give you reliable information, plus fun games and activities that your children (and you!) can do to reinforce what they are learning about the plant. Find them here: https://herbalrootszine.com/product-category/herbal-roots-zine-issues/
You can also join in online community groups and start a discussion about the plant. People love to share what they have learned!
Support your learning with our online herbal learning community called Herb Club. In Herb Club, you will have access to all the herbal learning materials so you can dive as deep as you want. You will also have the support of a wonderful community of learners (both parents and kids) and you can join our live group calls where we discuss plants and answer any questions live.
Herb Club also has expanded curriculum, video lessons, and bonus tools for parents to get organized for teaching their kids herbalism, even if they are learning about it themselves.
For more information, to watch an informative video about Herb Club, preview the lesson modules, and to join, go here: https://herbalrootszine.com/membership-description/
So if you are new to herbalism, or just don’t feel confident teaching it to your kids, there is help available!
Just remember you don’t have to be perfect, you just need to be present.