We believe that the current generation of kids could save the world. As parents, it’s up to us to raise our children to be environmentally aware.
What role do parents have to play in this?
In episode #4 of Homeschool 101, we meet a passionate environmentalist, who is currently homeschooling his son.
- How do you approach sustainability in your parenting, and with your son?
At home, we try to live our daily lives in the most sustainable way possible such as traveling by bicycle or public transport. We only use a private car if we really need it.
We try hard to reduce various plastic waste that is difficult to decompose. We have our own bottle with us everywhere we go. We carry our own bags when we do shopping at the market, and we have our own lunch box with us.
These are just examples, and may seem easy, but in reality – you need to be very disciplined. I believe that to teach a child be responsible, parents have to model disciplinary to their child first.
We try to do outdoor activities in order to be closer to nature. Riding a bicycle, taking a paddle/boat on the Bang Pakong River. Trekking in small forests and national parks. Our home uses environmental media such as books, movies, documentaries. Exploring biodiversity. We take a boat to pick up trash on the weekend. We visit environmental exhibitions and environmental-related campaigns/rallies. We invite each other to discuss about environmental awareness by raising issues to make our son think and ask questions.
- As a homeschooling dad and environmentalist, how do you include/ design your lessons/ activities on the topic of the environment?
I encourage the habits (mentioned above) every single day. That is part of my lesson plan. Now the global crisis situation creates more variance and violence in various forms. My son’s generation will be greatly affected.We talked with our son, 9 years old, about having a course that we helped each other design. We named it “ให้ได้แก่ตายเถอะ” (Hai-Dai-Kae-Tai-Ter). It is a Metaphor meaning let our children grow old, live and die in their own natural way – not as a result of the bad environment. “Hai-Dai-Kae-Tai-Ter” is a problem-based project that will help our son realise and truly understand the environmental crisis we are facing. We focus on the question: “How can you help manage problems in a better way?”.
Our project is based on his interests.
We help him to understand problems →
We let him come up with a project and try it out →
We track the result and discuss (if it doesn’t work out we try new ways).
Talk to your children at a very young age. Don’t see them as a baby. They can learn so deeply about our earth. For young children, they can start with a simple project and then gradually develop/ change to more advance topics according to his age/interests/abilities.
- What role do you think our children can play in the future of our planet earth, and the environment?
There is a saying that “children are the creators of the world. Let’s build the world through the creations of children.” The paradigms and ways of children in this era will define our world in the future. When the time is right, children grow up and are mature enough to analyse information about environmental issues.
They will be thirsty for change, for example the climate change movement lead by Greta Thunberg, which has inspired millions around the world.
What are the challenges of homeschooling for you, and how have you dealt with these obstacles?
Although homeschooling allows us to design a much more ecological environment for our family’s living and learning, there are so many uncontrollable factors around us (both internal and external). These factors affect our children, especially the influence of close friends and relatives, even neighbours.
How others buy food, eat fast food, buy toys with plastic packages, take plane trips, the choices they watch on TV, play games, etc.
These factors will influence our children’s lifestyle and the person they become. Dealing with these environmental factors, we create a safe zone to speak and start to question. We never stop them doing what they want, instead we ask questions like “what will be the consequences of your action?”. This will help children to reflect upon their choices and decisions.
K. Gunn Tattiyakul – Homeschooling Parent
Environmentalist – Friends of Bangpakong
Inspiring creativity is both exciting, and daunting for parents. Creativity doesn’t always come easy for us especially with older children, who demand more challenging activities.
In episode #5 of Homeschool 101, we talked to a passionate Creative Coach (MD of Inlight Consulting) and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator, K. Chompoonuch.
K. Chompoonuch shared some simple ways parents can get creative in their homeschooling journey.
- What is creative parenting to you?
A creative parent allows themselves to explore new ways of doing things & understand that there are many ways to achieve one goal. A creative parent is flexible and adjustable to the situation. They give freedom to their child to grow without controlling, because they understand that there are many ways to be successful in life.Creativity, for me, is not only innovation, painting or fine art, it’s creating new, alternative ways to succeed in life. If parents can embrace being creative themselves, it will naturally rub off on their children.
- How can parents spark their child’s creative thinking at home?
Creative powerful questions is one of the most impactful tools. When you ask the right type of questions, you will ignite the fire for learning in a child’s brain. I normally use creative thinking tools such as SCAMPER, what if?, or mind mapping together with questions. These are the techniques I teach to fire up the creative mind.
Questions like :
- What else can I do to solve this?
- How can I make this better?
- What could I use instead?
- How can I change/adapt this to make it better?
These questions are triggers, and they open a child’s mind to a new world of possibilities. Once you harvest the creative thinking patterns in your children, they will eventually become a creative-minded person. Another important point is: we should never dismiss a child’s question.
Kid : Why can’t we run around outside?
Parent : Because if you do, the police will come and arrest you.
My suggest is, parents should answer the question in a logical, creative and positive way. Don’t kill the child’s curiosity. Curiosity is the foundation of creativity.
- Are there any tools/ frameworks to help parents become more creative with their activities at home?
Firstly, observe what your child likes to do or let them explore in open-ended activities. For example, playing with lego, playing musical instruments, singing, cooking and dedicate your time to be with them so that you can understand your child’s preferences. Then, support them on their choices.
Secondly, create psychological safety for them. Embed the concept of “when I fail, I learn”. Whatever children do, focus on the process, not the outcome.
Ask questions like
- What have you learned from this?
- What have you done well?
- What could be improved next time?
Lastly, encourage your child with creative powerful questions and use the tools I mentioned before.
Every family probably has a giant pile of LEGO bricks in their house. Can we adapt it as a tool for homeschooling purposes?
Lego is a powerful tool to unlock creativity and help unleash potential, for any age. The principle of Lego is hand-knowledge, which means when you build the bricks with your hands, it will stimulate your brain to create new shapes and forms. That’s where the creativity happens.
Here are some suggestions :
Have your child tell the story behind what they build. Let them play and facilitate their growth by asking these questions.
- What is it?
- What does this mean/represent?
- Who are these people and what do they do?
- What does this colour stand for?
This metaphor technique (ideal for kids 4+), sparks creativity, removes boundaries and creates psychological safety for your child to think.
Play challenge games with your children. For example “Let’s build a new future town. Let’s invent the future washing machine.” etc.
Try to ask questions that allow them to think in the bigger picture. Encourage them to imagine far beyond the here and now. That’s how they exercise their imagination and creativity.
MD of Inlight Consulting, Creative Coach,
and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator
Homeschool 101 gives you perspectives from parents and educators, from various walks of life, who are willing to share their experiences about homeschooling. We hope that these voices can give you comfort, community and perhaps some valuable homeschooling insights. There is no right or wrong way.
If you wish to contribute to this community of like-minded parents, please reach out to us – we would love to hear your voice.