Homeschooling families have some advantages when it comes to reducing their family’s carbon footprint. Reducing their dependence on paper, coordinating transportation to save money on gas, growing a vegetable garden and using nontoxic homemade cleaning products are just a few ways that homeschoolers can lessen their impact on the environment.
Environmental Impact of Homeschooling
Reducing a family’s carbon footprint is something that environmental groups have been trying to impress upon Americans for decades. A recent increase in federal funding for environmental education programs means that more families are going green. Homeschooling and the environment are two hot topics that seem to stir up tempers on both sides of the political lines. How can homeschoolers reduce their carbon footprint?
Homeschooling and the Environment
Homeschoolers with several children may be reducing carbon emissions per capita. Instead of two working parents transporting one child to school and extracurricular activities, in addition to their own jobs, homeschoolers often have more children being transported to activities that the children participate in together. It’s like comparing public transportation to taxicabs. Environmentally speaking, the more people that share rides, the better.
Online curricula has made some homeschools entirely paper free. In addition to online curriculum, homeschoolers can use the library to reduce their carbon footprint. Instead of purchasing individual copies of several books that may end up sitting on shelves, use the books at the library for research and for pleasure. Without the need to document every absence, disciplinary action, and field trip, homeschoolers cut paper waste simply by existing as a family and not an institution.
Green Homeschooling Families
The use of homemade nontoxic cleaning products reduces a family’s environmental impact by keeping the watershed clean and because there’s less packaging involved in homemade cleaners. Commercial cleaning products must be mixed, bottled and transported. Families who clean with vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice reduce their personal exposure to chemicals and the impact of the manufacture and transport of products.
Environmental Education at Home
Without the schedule of a classroom to contend with, many homeschooling families decide to grow a vegetable garden or raise their own chickens. Cooking meals from scratch and recycling or composting waste products is another way homeschoolers can “go green.” There are nutritional and environmental education benefits to conducting science lessons in the garden, too. Some families report that kids who grow their own veggies are more likely to eat them. Participating in an ecosystem first hand gives children practical knowledge of the interdependent web of life.
Homeschooling and the environment can go hand in hand. When homeschool families make a concerted effort to put environmental education at the forefront and reduce their carbon footprint, the impact of homeschooling becomes minimal. Environmentalism is becoming part of many classroom science curriculum programs, and homeschoolers can implement lessons of conservation, too.