Potatoes grow under the ground?!

I grew up in the country.  No neighbors.  No stoplights.  Dirt roads.  Peeing behind a tree kinda country.

I couldn’t wait to grow up and move away to the big city so that Target and bottled water were less than an hour away.  However, as most county folk do, I’ve realized how wonderful my life was growing up out there.  I also realized I’d been educated about country life without even knowing it.  I just figured everyone grew up that way.  I’d never even heard of Nordstrom’s or Gucci until I got to college.

I remember the day I realized how different my life really was.  It was my first year teaching in the big city and I was asked to administer a standardized test to a different class than my own.  It was the science portion of the test.  Now, most of these tests have a sample question and it just so happened that day’s question was, “Choose the diagram in which manner or way (or something like that) potatoes grow.”  It was multiple choice with four pictures.  One picture showed potatoes on a tree, one on a vine, one under the ground, the other on a little bush.

“How easy.”  I thought.  “This is a science question?!”

However, as I walked around the classroom to monitor the students, making sure they bubbled in correctly….I was stunned.  Over 50% of those kiddos got it wrong!

Then it hit me.  Not everyone had a garden in their backyard.  And many kid’s parents don’t talk with them in the grocery store while in the produce isle.  Poor kids I thought.  Glad my childhood was so rich and full.

Fast forward to my early days as a mom.  My 3 year old was a smart little guy, still is.  We read stories, went places, and talked all the time.

And one day in the grocery store, while buying potatoes….you know what he asked me?!  Yep.  You guessed it.  “Do potatoes grow on a tree?”

My jaw dropped.  I swiftly called my daddy and asked when the next crop was to be planted.  I needed to get some good ‘ol country into this boy.

It did make me realize that as a homeschooler…or even if you public school….we take certain lessons and knowledge for granted.  Teachers aren’t perfect.  Neither are parents.  And neither am I.  Some lessons and experience are those from our childhood, and can rarely be found in a book.  And those lessons definitely won’t be as memorable as a day in the country with grandpa, your brothers, the sweet smell of fresh cut grass….and maybe even some peeing behind a tree!


  1. Mandy Freeman says:

    I could not agree more – We had it made out there. I did not know A LOT of things until I got to college – but those things I didn’t knew were of the materialistic type – stores, fashion, etc – our humble lives shaped us. And I thank God every day for giving that to me. Now if I could just get my hubby back in that general direction, we’d be set… 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      I was hoping you see this one Mandy! I knew you’d understand!!!! Although, not sure if Ava can pee as easily behind a tree as my boys! LOL!!! Your hubby will come around 😉 Love you!

  2. Faith Family Farming says:

    I, personally, did not grow up a country gal…But boy did I ever marry it..lol! Married a 3rd generation dairy farmer. I was the kid who didn’t know potatoes grew in the ground. However. my GRITS are not. This is one thing that I haven’t taken for granted due to my city raisin’. I make it a point for my husband or myself to explain things to our kids..the why’s & if’s of everything. You are so right that so many kids do not have a clue about the basics like where their food comes from…Walmart perhaps..lol! The glorious thing about homeschooling is that life, its self, is our textbook in which to learn from. My kids use to go to public school & I was very involved in volunteering @ school but not in their education..& wow has that changed! Everyday, every chore, every enjoyment is a learning & growing experience & I thank God for opening my eyes to this before my kids were grown. I pray they will always stay close to their country roots.

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