Homeschool, unschool, home education. Gotta love it. The homeschooling you hear about in the news doesn’t necessarily reflect the way many of us educate our children at home.
See how some families do homeschool in Class Dismissed, a documentary film worth sharing with the family. In my family, we imagine that the feature film Captain Fantastic describes our schooling. (It doesn’t. We wish.) We adore this film.
What does homeschool have to do with natural fibers and diapers? It’s all connected. Home business, homebirth, homeschool. Make your own everything. Make your own babies. Make their cloth diapers. Then make your own education.
Using Fibers for Homeschool Sustainability Education
Are you preparing for a new school year? Have you considered using our fiber resources with your children? Many of our customers homeschool their children, as we do. Are you educating your children for sustainability, focusing on relationships, connections, and contexts? Systems thinking for children. When a Butterfly Sneezes uses common children’s picture books to emphasize systems thinking concepts.
Use what you have around you. We often use diaper industry examples to talk about economics. We use what we have nearby to explore science and history. You have fibers all around you. How about using fibers as a starting point for materials science. You could do something as simple as a burn test to determine what kind of fibers you are working with.
You could look at the lifecycle of a fiber. For example, how about a wool unit? Visit some local sheep, ask how they are raised, buy a fleece from the farmer, card and spin the fleece, dye the yarn with plants-or even Kool Aid , then knit or weave a scarf to wear this winter. If you really want to follow the whole lifecycle, you could bury the scarf at the end of the season, then dig it up again in the fall to see what’s left. (We found: nothing.)
Or put particular fibers in historical context. When talking about U.S. history, hemp plays in interesting and important role in the American Revolution (Jefferson used hemp paper to draft the Declaration of Independence), many flags have been made with hemp, the first heavy Levi’s jeans worn by the 49ers during the Gold Rush were made of hemp, and during World War II the Hemp for Victory campaign encouraged farmers to grow hemp.
If you want more general resources on the need for sustainability education, try Fritjof Capra’s Center for Ecoliteracy has a few resource suggestions. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education has a monstrously huge collection of resources for sustainability education.
Two of our favorite sources for science education materials are Acorn Naturalists and their dense, lush catalogue, and Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, whose GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science) publications we like to use. We’ve used many GEMS guides in our multidisciplinary studies.
Good luck in exploring fibers and sustainability with your kids. Tell us how it goes.