The Earth in Every Classroom

Homeschoolers are uniquely poised to raise their children to be stewards of the Earth.  We can expose our children to experiences designed to stimulate that deep affection for our home-planet. Our children will  want to do what's ecologically best for the planet if we raise them with an earth-friendly or green-lifestyle, so that recycling, composting, and eating less processed foods or mass-farmed meats comes naturally to them.  We can give our children an education that teaches them how this world works the way it does, so that they will better understand why it's so important to live sustainably.

Even if you don't believe in global warming, it's hard to deny all the benefits of living an earth-friendly lifestyle.  Putting less chemicals into your body ensures good health and long life.  Organic garden practices ensure healthier plants and backyard ecosystems.  Eating local meats and produces supports your home-town community, as well as giving you peace of mind in knowing that what you're eating hasn't been raised in an inhumane factory-farm.

I'm sure by now we can all think of a number of ways we can promote sustainable practices in our homes (ie-recycling, composting, using energy-efficient light bulbs, etc.), but recently it was brought to my attention something that I think many of us may have over-looked.

The power of the Earth's image as a teaching tool.

The Earth's image from space, or "The Astronaut's View", evokes a deep emotional response from each of us that educators can utilize to encourage Earth-awareness and sustainable-living practices.  Mark Joyous and the people at the Earth Seeds Network (http://www.earthseeds.org/home) have realized this connection, and have developed a line of educational materials to inspire that feeling.  One of the organization's five key initiatives: "The Earth in Every Classroom" aims to put an image of the Earth into as many public locations as possible (classrooms, churches, local meeting halls, libraries, etc.) in the hopes of providing a reminder to the public that we are all one family, living on the same small planet.

Some of the resources offered by the Earthseeds Network are:

  • Earthseeds Curriculum Kit: National standards-based, interdisciplinary curriculum materials, which portray how we are all connected and teach global responsibility from an environmental and sociological standpoint.  Lessons are  for Pre/K--6th Grades and submitted by such renown organizations as the Ocean Futures Society, Solar Energy International, GeoEducation.org, Earth Child Institute, and Kids for Saving Earth.
  • Ambassador's Kit: Provides a wealth of authentic Earth images for use in classrooms, camps, houses of worship, public places, and homeschools! The kit comes with their  Award-winning Astronaut's Globe (a 16" beach-ball made with 2000 NASA images of the Earth from outer-space), a 16"x23" full-color Earth poster, and a 30-pack of Earth postcards.
  • 40" Astronaut's Globe: Winner of a Parent's Choice Award in 2004, and made from 2000 Nasa photos, this is an inflatable globe and it comes with a 20-page full-color "A Crewmember's Guide" filled with fun facts, activities, and resources.

These are just a select few of the resources that the folks at Earthseeds offer, and only one of their programs designed to reach the public and promote sustainable lifestyles.  You can, of coarse, go to their website and have a look at the Earthseeds Network, their initiatives, and a full listing of the supplies they offer.

Teaching our children to live a sustainable lifestyle should be as important to parents as teaching them to be moral, hard-working citizens.  Homeschoolers can give special attention to Earth education, teaching those hows and whys, and instilling an appreciation for the Earth that might otherwise be glossed-over or even over-looked altogether in a more traditional educational setting.  We can raise our children to be stewards of the Earth, to appreciate all life as part of the whole system; that there is a delicate balance to the Earth's ecosystems, and that we must live within our means if life on Earth is to continue as we know it.  The Astronaut's View is a provocative teaching tool to be used wherever people congregate; and I would recommend including such resources in any homeschool where sustainable practices are observed and wherever Earth education is taught.


Samantha Burns is a self-taught homeschool teacher to 2 sons, and wife 10 years to a citizen scientist. You can visit her website at www.squidoo.com/chronologicalhistorystudies.

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