While some teenagers have a natural inclination towards learning about nature and the environment, others might need a little help to see outside of their own bubble. Even though eco-consciousness is not typically a basic core subject, eco-friendly classes can promote literacy and awareness about sustainability and the environment.
You may be wondering what you can do as a parent to help your teen understand why taking care of the environment is so important. If you are homeschooling your teen, the answer is right there. You are at the forefront of their education plans. By incorporating eco-friendly classes into your teen’s academics, they can see the real-life application of eco-consciousness.
Eco-friendly electives can include specific courses such as Climate Science, Marine Ecology, or Sustainable Agriculture. What’s more, there are many ways to include the environment in all of the main school subjects, so no matter what your teen is interested in, they can have the opportunity to hear the message.
The subject of science lends itself to a wide variety of eco-friendly learning activities, from sustainable gardening to renewable energy. For example, if your teen is like many others, they may have an interest in building things. You can incorporate eco-consciousness into your science lessons in a creative, interactive way by building something cool together. A renewable energy lesson plan can be made more exciting by the hands-on experience of building a solar-powered robot or a wind turbine. This can help your teenager have fun while learning about how to help the environment.
Without math, sustainability would simply not be where it is today. There are several different ways that you can integrate the environment into your math lesson plans. Have your teen calculate their carbon or water footprint by tracking how much water, gas, and other resources they use. You can also have them use math to calculate the amount of water that could be saved if, for instance, everyone in the house turned the faucet off while brushing their teeth. This can help your teen to see the real-world impact that they leave on the earth every day.
What better way to get your teen invested in the future than by teaching them about the past? Learning the history of environmentalism can show them the ways that the eco-consciousness movement has impacted the world for the better. Whether it’s the banning of hunting endangered species, the birth of the adopt-a-highway program, or the very first celebration of Earth Day, learning about the history of environmental activism can ignite a spark of inspiration in your young students.
If your teen loves to read, literature may be the best way to reach them with regards to the possibility of environmental collapse. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi is a dystopian YA novel that is set in a future where all the oil in the world is nearly completely used up. The story follows a boy, Nailer, through his experiences with the societal downfall that has happened in the past several years due to the environmental crisis, including a near-death experience as he is scavenging for materials, life without his mother (who died as a result of an infection), confronting his drug-addicted father, and various other issues. If your teen has a creative mind, this book will help put them in the shoes of someone living in the not-so-distant future, and allow them to think more closely about their actions and the environment. It may even inspire them to write an essay or story about the environment.
We’ve covered the four main core subjects of English, Math, History and Science, but Art is another class that blends in well with an eco-friendly curriculum. There are many art and craft projects that involve recycling or reusing things such as cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, plastic bottles and even glass ones. It’s a fun way to keep kids of all ages busy and also show them that trash can become art or turn into something useful. You can find lots of DIY projects online that you can use for ideas on how to reuse something before throwing it away.
Whatever your teen’s favorite subject is, there are numerous ways to incorporate green thinking into their lessons. Involving your teen in eco-friendly classes can help ensure their interest, but teaching kids to appreciate nature and understand sustainability is all about making it fun. Ask your kids what the environment means to them, and their answers may surprise you. Look for activities that you could add to your lesson plan that would be most meaningful to them.