A mother took her daughter out of school because she felt she wasn’t learning enough about climate change – and is teaching her at home how to become the next Greta Thunberg.
Clare Gregory, 39, believed that daughter Cora Gregory did not learn enough about sustainability and the climate crisis in traditional school.
In January Cora had her first day of home schooling and was briefed on permaculture and chicken care by Clare, who has no prior knowledge of elementary school.
Classes don’t start until Cora says she’s ready, and they only work about three hours a day.
And after the little girl has had enough, they set out to learn about keeping chickens or growing vegetables.
Clare believes Cora’s former school didn’t teach her about climate change, despite supporting Friday’s climate change strike.
She hopes that by teaching her daughter the skills she needs to protect nature, she can get others to do the same as the next green changemaker.
Clare of Wilmslow, Cheshire said, “Cora is learning how to be successful and thriving and be a future green change maker through everyday life without her necessarily realizing it at this young age.
“We wanted Cora’s training to be closer to nature and focused on how to live more sustainably.
“As parents, we feel that not enough is being done to tackle the climate crisis.
“We worry about what the future holds for our children and grandchildren
“The widespread belief is that children should not be burdened with the problems and issues we face regarding climate change.”
The school day begins when Cora introduces it and learns about three hours a day with books and “traditional” learning methods about renewable energies or carbon footprints.
The rest of the day is spent outside learning how to look after the chickens or grow food.
The dream job of the seven-year-old is currently just a postwoman.
“Which, in my opinion, illustrates pretty well that we’re not imposing the need to be something on her,” said Clare.
“We hope she grows up and has a good understanding of the natural world, how it works, and how it supports human life.”
Mum of two Clare and her husband Christian Gregory, 44, have been inspired by the creative teaching styles of Norway, Finland and Denmark, which are not as regulated.
Lessons include Permaculture – Developing Sustainable Food Ecosystems, The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and How to Achieve Net Zero Britain.
They let Cora decide what to learn about and bought her some chickens before her first lesson to teach her about animals.
Clare said: “We have learned what free range and organic mean and are currently working to produce the UK’s first carbon free egg.
“Recently, however, Cora had expressed her desire to sell our eggs, so she had to design an egg box label, create a flyer, and help build an honest box.”
Clare believes this allows her to learn classic lessons like math, computer science, and art in a more hands-on way rather than being limited to a regulated structure.
“We don’t follow a curriculum,” she said.
“We like that learning in this way is more practical, more relevant and more experiential. We feel like it prepares children for life better, just like in schools abroad.”
Little Cora was inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who pioneered the school strike for the climate in 2018.
Clare said, “She is aware of who she is and totally admires her for facing adults.
“She thinks she’s ‘brave’ for what she’s doing and says that more people should do something so that people will listen to them, like Greta, when they think something is so important.”
The family of four tries to live as sustainably as possible by living virtually waste-free and what they produce, recycle, compost, if possible walk and cycle and repair their own clothes.
Clare has left her midwifery job to teach Cora full time.
For them, this is contradicting itself because air travel is such a major contributor to climate change.
Clare said, “What the world needs is that many people do imperfectly sustainably, rather than a few who do it perfectly.”
Family and friends have divided opinions on how parents are raising Cora, who plan to implement a similar upbringing for their 15-month-old son Kit.
Clare said, “The family thinks we are crazy for taking them out of school, they think we will deeply regret it.
“Far from preparing Cora well for the future, they believe that she will be ill-prepared because she has not learned the national curriculum.”
But they are pushing their eco curriculum to practice what they preach and give their children a better future.
Clare is starting a Green Educator course at Green School later this month.
She said, “How can someone with young children in his life not worry about the world our children will inherit and how it will affect them?
“We want to inspire families to see the benefits of taking responsibility of teaching their children greener ways of living.”
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