Celebrating Earth Day as a Homeschooling Parent

So, yesterday was “Earth Day.”

One of the neighborhood kids was really surprised that we studied “caves and erosion” (one of my children’s summaries) in science today. He wanted to know, “Why didn’t you do Earth Day like we did?”

My husband and I gently asked him what “doing” Earth Day was like in school. He said that they studied “earth” stuff. He remembered that they all got (plastic? latex?) gloves from one of the people who work at the school and cleaned up the school yard at recess. Then, they made things out of the trash.

We pointed out that we study “earth” things every day we do science (except when we did Astronomy first semester this year – when we were studying the universe surrounding earth). We are especially doing “earth science” this semester and have found many of our topics in the last month are mirroring the public school’s first grade (and coincidentally also their eleventh grade) class science studies.

The kids went on to explain that we recycle every day – as does this child’s family. (He didn’t realize at first what we were talking about until we pointed out the sign his mother has about rinsing out the empty bottles before putting them in the bin.) We also do quite a bit of cleaning up every day – both inside & outside. Every day at our house is “earth day.” (I pointed out that every day at our house is Valentine’s Day as we are always trying to show our love for others. He looked at me blankly in reply.)

Having said that, I have to say that I am not one of those people who hypes “conservation.” I horrified some moms at the local library story time last summer when I said I was coming up with my own earth science curriculum because I didn’t want it to be filled with global climate change and recycling garbage. (They hesitatingly asked at what school I taught.) My oldest child is the biggest recycling freak there is. I certainly didn’t teach her to be that way!

You know, recycling isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Our local trash hauler throws away the recycling materials several times a month instead of sending out the dedicated truck. When I called them at the end of last year to inquire about this on-going practice which was causing my child to be upset (as she works so hard to make sure all the materials which can be recycled are in the proper bin and placed at the curb each week), they informed me that the “bottom” had dropped out of the recycling materials market. Their warehouse was full to bulging and they couldn’t sell the material at “any price.” They were hoping the market would turn around after the first of the year or they would request that people not put out recycling materials at all. They have not done this, so I would assume they have been able to off-load the material at some price this year.

On a conservation note, my husband and I measured the water amount used by our toilet (4.8 gals/flush), dishwasher (18.1 gals/run), and top load clothes washing machine (74.1 gals/load). Except for the toilet number, the others seem HUGE. We will continue to do more experimenting and measuring. I also have my father measuring their water usage per clothes washing load as they have one of those new super efficient front load washers. We will compare. I’ll let you know if we come up with anything.

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About doucementgently

I'm a thirty-something female with loads of kids, a great husband, and lots of things on my mind. I plan on blogging about homeschooling, personal finance, the economy in the U.S., politics, family life, and the things my children do.
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