Homeschooling in the COVID-19 Era: Compost Edition

Homeschooling in the COVID-19 Era: Compost Edition

By Sara Mack                                                                                                                                                                            Communications Intern at Bootstrap Compost, Inc.

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has turned virtually everything, including our education system, entirely on its head. Since so many families are now participating in their kids’ education more actively from home, this is a unique time to explore the benefits of composting with your children.

Teaching kids like Oliver (shown posing with some of our collection buckets in this picture!) about compost can empower young minds to be motivated to take a stand against food waste and climate change.

Composting with Bootstrap and using our compost in your garden or planter is a great starting point to begin teaching your little ones about the cyclical process of decomposition in nature, especially as it relates to composting, soil health, and plant growth. It’s also an activity that allows families to come together, be outside, get their hands dirty, and work on a fun project, all while taking a much-needed screen break! So boost your Vitamin-D while enjoying fresh air; connect with your kids while watching the beauty of your plants grow.

What’s more, the act of composting builds an appreciation for how food is grown and why reducing waste is imperative to social and environmental health. Call it another homeschooling lesson for the little ones. In sum, composting is fun, composting is doable, and composting matters! 

For older children, compost can be the perfect introduction to topics related to environmental science, microbiology and climatology (such as offsetting greenhouse gasses through carbon sequestration). These topics tie seamlessly into lessons about climate change and environmental degradation — subjects generally not taught in depth until late high school environmental science courses. Compost education serves as a springboard into a type of learning that will prove imperative as our world continues to build strategies to tackle the climate crisis. 

Even though the potential to introduce intricate academic concepts linked to compost is never ending, it goes almost without saying that keeping kiddos attention during “school time” is not a simple feat. In hopes of limiting that struggle, we’ve included some interactive activities that can help to stimulate interest in topics related to compost for all ages!

Interactive Compost Learning Opportunities: 

  1. Make a mini garden! For recent gardening tips that can help to make this experience even more fulfilling, head on over to our Instagram page for more posts like this one. Every Monday this spring we’ve shared a tried and true trick we use in our own gardens!

    Up-cycled dresser drawers like these can be a sustainable and effective way to create raised beds for your garden!
  2. If you don’t have the materials to create a raised garden bed from scratch, do-it-yourself from a bucket, a planter, or even an old dresser drawer. Using such materials to create space for new life also teaches a valuable lesson about upcycling and (multifaceted) waste reduction. (Pro tip:have your child paint the planter, bucket or dresser afterward!)
  3. Stage a full transition from food, to food waste, to soil amendment, back to food. With the help of Bootstrap’s Black Gold you don’t have to worry about perfecting the art of making enough soil amendment for your whole garden, but demonstrating the life cycle of the food we eat is a very valuable lesson — even on a small scale! 
  4. While you’re working in the garden, encourage a scavenger hunt to find any small critters that might be hiding in your soil or flower beds – and trust us, kids love finding worms. These macro-organisms (in addition to thousands more we can’t see) aid the composting process and provide a valuable lesson about the benefits of worms, insects, and microscopic critters in our food chain. On top of learning about these organisms, just a shovel and some soil can keep kids entertained for exactly the same amount of time it takes to make lunch and do a load of laundry. And that, alone, is a godsend.

At the end of the day, these activities can help children to understand how plants grow with the help of nutrient-rich soil and how waste can be best put to use without contributing to landfills. Furthermore, interactive tasks like this provide an opportunity for your family to bond and enjoy nature together.  Far beyond going to the grocery store and buying a tomato grown on a farm hundreds of miles away, these tasks encourage holistic learning — from the plant to the plate. Even though the present state of the world means that things can feel topsy-turvy at times, interactive learning doesn’t have to stop. So please, keep calm and compost on!