Introducing Permaculture Into Homeschooling While in Lockdown

If you are adjusting to your new role as a homeschool parent, you probably spent considerable time scouring the internet for resources. However, some of your best teaching tools might be right in your home and backyard. Have you thought about combining homeschooling with permaculture?

Every crisis holds within it a seed of opportunity to transform life for the better. You can choose to plant it by introducing your children to permaculture as part of their homeschool curriculum. Doing so will pave the way to a more sustainable planet for all.



What Is Permaculture, Anyway?

Permaculture refers to a way of living that establishes harmony with the earth and its natural resources. At first glance, it seems akin to going off the grid. You don’t need to move to a remote location to set up a homestead, however. You can embrace these practices by making small yet significant changes to your daily lifestyle — and in your own backyard.

Permaculture incorporates ideas and practices from the fields of science and technology, as well as architecture, agriculture and ecology. As such, it makes the ideal cross-curricular discipline for educating well-rounded students and raising open-minded children. You can even incorporate math and English lessons as part of your strategy.



learning through nature
Photograph by Victoria Borodinova (Pexels)

The Benefits Of Introducing Permaculture Into Homeschool Curriculums

It’s impossible to list all the benefits of teaching permaculture in homeschooling. It has never been more critical to introduce children to the wonders of the natural world — and inspire them to protect it. Scientists estimate that we lose anywhere between 200 to a staggering 100,000 species per year. While plants and animals die out with no help from humankind, the current disappearance rates are between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than usual.

Another advantage of introducing permaculture is its multidisciplinary nature. For example, planting a garden requires knowledge of agricultural techniques. It also incorporates science. You can teach pertinent academic lessons and pose permaculture questions that will inspire your children to learn.

How much water do different plants need per day, and how can you best take advantage of xeriscaping and rainfall to meet their needs without wasting this precious resource? How do you select the varieties of fruits and vegetables to plant — you need to discuss both nutritional needs and the climate in the region of your home. How do you build a compost bin, what materials can you include and how often must you turn it? Consider it an introduction to organic chemistry 101.

In addition, learning permaculture practices and spending more time in nature is beneficial for your kids’ mental health. Especially when homeschooling, spending too much time indoors can lead to loneliness, restlessness, boredom and depression — but getting involved in outdoor activities boosts Vitamin D and improves immunity, as well as benefiting mental focus and physical energy.



Suggested Activities For Introducing Permaculture In Homeschooling

You’ve decided to introduce permaculture into your homeschooling practice — a wise move. Here is a list of suggested activities to get you started:

  • Redesign your garden: If you haven’t yet completed spring planting in your climate zone, make it a family affair to dig in the earth together. While selecting plants, ask questions like, “What species grow well in this region? What varieties, when combined, will provide complete nutrition?” A suggested writing activity involves having each family member write a proposal of what you should include in your garden and why.
  • Design a greenhouse: This project entails an economics and math lesson. Ask, “What materials will we need to complete this project? How much will they cost? If the figure exceeds the budget, how can we alter the plans to make it more affordable? Where should we locate it to make the most use of the sun? Will a windowsill work, or is the patio better?”
  • Catalogue the species: Take a nature walk with a purpose — bring a camera and a notebook. Write down the animals you observe and where they choose to nest. What behaviours do they exhibit? On future excursions, ask questions such as, “Have these creatures remained near their dens, or do they appear migratory?”  You can create charts and graphs of the native fauna of your region.



Child appreciating natural world
Photograph by Jill Wellington (Pexels)

Homeschooling and Permaculture — An Ideal Match For A Kinder, More Sustainable World

Homeschooling and permaculture are a match made in heaven because you can use the practices of the latter to teach a variety of disciplines. By introducing permaculture in your homeschool curriculum, you pave the way toward a more sustainable future.



Alyssa Abel

Alyssa Abel is an education writer with an interest in sustainability. Read more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy, or follow her on Twitter

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