Tuesday, September 2, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable With Your Kids' Homework

School starts tomorrow. My boys are ready to go back. I knew it early last week when they were walking around saying there was nothing to do to, they didn't want to go to the pool because they were bored with it, and they started fighting like, well, brothers. 

It always takes a while for us to get back into the swing of a regular schedule, and that schedule will include homework by the beginning of next week. Here are a few ways to make that time you and your kids spend over their papers and books a little more sustainable.
  1. Use recycled paper whenever possible.
  2. Buy pencils that are made from recycled wood or that are made from wood from sustainable forests. There are even colored pencils made from these options.
  3. Reuse the backs of graded homework papers. They can be cut into quarters and used as note paper, drawn on, or put in your printer and used to print on.
  4. Keep a container to put used paper to recycle right near where the kids do their homework. If they have to go to another section of the house to recycle it, it may never make it.
  5. Change all the light bulbs in the room where your kids do their homework to CFL's. They need sufficient light to stay on task so make sure the source of that light is sustainable.
  6. If you serve snacks during homework time, make them natural, organic and low sugar. Air popped popcorn, apples with peanut butter, cheese, carrots and dip or homemade granola bars are really great choices. Make up a small plate with a couple choices on it and  let your kids grab what they want. Be sure to save repackage leftovers.
  7. Keep a box with things that would otherwise be thrown away for when the kids have projects. Shoe boxes, magazines with pictures of nature or other things that might pop up for a project, usable scraps of colored paper - anything that can be used for those projects that pop up.
  8. Stay organized and help your kids stay organized. Having to run out and buy more homework supplies because the glue, stapler or markers are lost isn't sustainable.
  9. Buy used books from library book sales or used book stores for book report books or have them swap books with friends.
  10. For a more sustainable family, be involved in your kids' homework process. Don't do their homework for them, but check their assignment books daily and help them when they need help. Be in the vicinity, be available, and be encouraging. 
See, easy.

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Sha said...

While you suggest checking the assignment books daily for which I totally agree, I also want to recommend the assignment books that teach kids about going green. You can find them at http://successbydesign.com/prod-tgp.htm
They are made of recycled components and can be recycled at the end of the school year to continue the cycle. What a great tool to use when teaching kids about environmental awareness with a space for students to record their going green goals and achievements.

tnvol said...

I have seen these planners. They are a great way of teaching kids that they can participate in sustainable activities at many levels and that as small as this one little item is, they can make a difference with it.