Perhaps you are interested in doing a project about Food Labeling, GMO food crops or Organic Foods with your kids. Below are a couple of links to get you started as well as a student project example about corn from one of my kids.
After reading some health articles I came across something interesting about the word 'natural' which is often displayed on grocery items we buy. In the US, "Federal law requires that organic food products be produced promoting ecological sustainability, without the toxic inputs and genetically engineered ingredients common in the conventional food system," (and even there I'm dubious about its authenticity).
The core value of organic foods should be just that! No pesticides, herbicides at all... full stop. Yet numerous pesticides are still allowed to be used and your product can still be labelled as 'organic'... something wrong here!
Increasingly, organic products are forced to compete with products that claim to be “natural.” There are no restrictions for foods labeled “natural” (very basic standards exist only for meat products). The term often constitutes nothing more than meaningless marketing hype promoted by corporate interests seeking to cash in on the consumer desire for food produced in a genuinely sustainable manner, according to the Cornucopia Institute in Wisconsin.
Unlike the organic label, no government agency, certification group or other independent entity fully defines the term “natural” on processed food packages or ensures that the claim has merit."
One can find many products, from muesli bars to shampoos, on the shelves in Australia, where I live, as well as in the US, but are these any better or healthier than their cheaper counterparts? Most products containing corn, corn starch, maize... rest assured it's most likely a GMO product. Anything but natural as the packaging might claim.
Cornucopia Institute claims that behavioral problems, poor short-term memory, poor motor skills, and ADHD are common side-effects of consuming breakfast cereals containing pesticides... and I tend to agree with them. It truly is an eye opening exercise for kids to learn about these issues and realize that fresh water and organic fruit is truly better than colourful shapes floating in a bowl of white creamy milk first thing in the morning. As homeschoolers many of you are already fully aware of these facts but some of you might be struggling wondering why your child is not performing like other children their age.
It would be a wonderful learning experience to delve into organic foods, pesticides, herbicides, and the deceiving marketing ploy of "Natural" and don't even get me started on the sugar issue! Lots of kids love researching issues and writing about their findings, some might even become budding researchers, journalists or authors. It's a great way to educate your child utilizing technology, improving reading, writing and language skills... and who knows... you might see an improvement in your child's life and health by making a simple change in their diet.
Corn Project Example done by my daughter.
Check out the link below for a great little YouTube video from the Cornucopia Institute.
Free worksheets about food can be found here... https://www.teachingtreasures.com.au/search.php?searchById=1&prId=663
Photos and written work is my own unless specified otherwise.
If my kids loved this presentation of learning it would have made getting "work samples" so much easier XD (they love doing the research part and loathe the writing it up part)
I love your daughter's drawing of the corn.
Perhaps they could record their research on a laptop and present it as a slideshow in PowerPoint or something similar 🤔
That has only worked once when 16yo made a slideshow presentation on my laptop to convince her father why she should get a new iPhone XD (this was some years back, she did end up getting the iPhone she wanted).
Otherwise the best that's happened is impromptu speeches.
I should actually ask them to plan a speech and see how that goes, it hasn't really occurred to me as I have audio processing issues ^_^; thanks for the idea XD
I know 16yo can write decently when she wants to, and has done a few writing exercises for me in the past and also at school when she tried it out for half a year.
18yo also turned out to be surprisingly good at essays despite very actively, steadfastly and absolutely refusing under any circumstances to do any long form writing whatsoever in the entire time he's been homeschooling (he's never been to school, and some of the fights we've had throughout history about it have been epic XD). I found this out after he started TAFE where he can't just refuse to do things he doesn't like XD (and there is also a lot of maturity and realising that sometimes he just needs to get past undesirable parts of things when doing things that he likes doing or on the way to things he wants to do)
It's difficult knowing what to do because each child or young adult in your case is different and develops their learning and knowledge at a different rate and a different level. I have a 29 year old son, completely homeschooled and he has still never read a novel through. Yet he devours technical books, small motor repairs, how to build, fix etc... reading is awesome now for him... writing is still a weak point and so is spelling. Yet he has a fantastic job, earns good money and is clever in so many other areas. So us mums often stress over issues when we should just let these run their course and time will tell. I believe that as long as a person can read and write (doesn't have to be essays and fancy write-ups) they can learn anything later on in life. Sometimes the more we push kids to do what we want them to do, the more they rebel and deliberately do the opposite. It's a fine line we walk being a mother, teacher, friend, and guide.
While I think I did learn that a bit quicker than some of my friends with similar aged kids did (and we even had an older homeschooling parent telling us pretty much the same thing!), it still took me way too long to figure that out XD
This is a good exercise in learning critical thinking and research. My daughters used to love this style of learning.
Absolutely... a great exercise in critical thinking and thinking outside the box!