Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homeschooling is Environmentally Responsible

Homeschooling has gotten a bad rap.  Often when homeschooling is mentioned I’ll hear somebody mention that homeschooling is just a way for parents to be able to sleep in and be lazy.  Many people seem to think that all homeschooled children are in some way socially handicapped.

This is all untrue. 

Rather, homeschooling allows children the opportunity to not only learn about the various subjects at hand, but experience them in a way that the average student in a classroom is unable to.

It can also be very environmentally responsible.

First off, homeschooling removes the need for a daily car trip.  Not having to drive a child to school helps reduce a family’s ecological footprint, since gasoline is not used.  Sure, gasoline is still used for ‘field trips’, but even then the overall impact can be reduced.  Many times excursions are coordinated between families.  Using a single vehicle to transport multiple children helps lower the ecological footprint of the families involved.  Additional side benefit:  Family cars tend to use less fuel than a school bus.

Another benefit is that homeschooled students not only have the ability to learn science through books, but also to experience it in a very personal way.  Many homeschooled students take part in caring for a family garden.  They plant it, care for it, and learn firsthand just how connected we are to the world as a whole.  They decide which seeds get placed where in the garden, in order to increase yields, take notes, record results, and come to conclusions about the end results, learning why one crop succeeded when another crop failed.   This is the scientific method at its finest.

Not to mention that by doing this the students have just ensured a reduction of food miles.  Bonus!

Oh, wait!  Physical education, which is sorely lacking in public schools, can be accounted for here, as well.  After all, gardening uses a large amount of energy.  Health education?  Nutrition is covered in this, so there’s no lack there.  Chemistry?  They can read up on various herbicides and pesticides while deciding whether or not they’re safe, using mathematics to come to their conclusion. 

Hey!  Reading comprehension was just covered there. 

As you can see, homeschooled kids aren’t lacking in any way.  They’re merely taught using different methods than are found in a classroom… methods that have much less of an impact on our environment.

Are you interested in homeschooling your own children?  If so, here’s a link to the Homeschool Diner’s Guide to Homeschooling Science.  It links to various additional resources, such as the EPA , the NIEHS, and a few universities. It's definitely worth looking into. 

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