“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
Education has always been important to me and I have long known the power that comes with knowledge, which led me to earn my B.S. in Education. After college, I took an unconventional path and spent the next few years educating my own children through homeschooling. Through the years, my children have been homeschooled, unschooled, and have learned through student-led experiences and planned co-op classes.
Times have certainly changed since my eldest child was first homeschooled and there are now many opportunities for kids who homeschool, especially in the Covid-Era where online learning has become the norm, at least for the present time.
My passion for education is the reason I opened Herbivore Academy. My other passion is veganism for the benefit of animals and our shared environment. A vegan, though broader than this definition, is a person who does not eat any food or use any products or ingredients derived from animals. An herbivore is an animal, to include the human animal, who feeds entirely on plants and plant-derived foods.
It is our responsibility as stewards of the planet to protect the flora and fauna that sustain, and the way to do this is by adopting a plant-based diet … and I cannot stress enough that the time to do this is NOW! Doing so not only benefits animals and vital eco-systems, but also significantly improves human health and minimizes disease risk.
Don’t know how or what to cook? Join one of our cooking classes coming in 2021.
The recipes to create delicious, nutritious vegan entrees, appetizers, and desserts made from plants are limitless, and your tastebuds will thank you. I now have a more diversified palate since adopting a vegan diet, and I cannot wait to teach my students how to prepare plant-based food while teaching them how and where their food is grown.
Herbivore Academy’s all-vegan online platform allows anyone to receive guidance and coaching when transitioning to or maintaining a vegan diet. In 2021, a variety of academic and life skills classes will be introduced for students of all ages, including preschool, creative writing, cooking, wellness, and more. These classes with be available entirely online in both live and flexible formats.
We also offer tutoring for elementary-age students. We will be offering baking, cooking and creative writing clubs for elementary-age children and teens, as well as monthly fairs for students to share their work and collaborate with other students.
I am excited to start this new adventure and to meet new people! Please check us out at https://herbivore-academy.teachable.com/ or email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or ideas and suggestions for classes.
"Veggie boy has corona fag.” That is the message my husband saw on our son’s “friend” group chat when he peeked at Logan’s phone this summer during our quarantine while awaiting a (negative) COVID-19 result. Nonexistent punctuation made it difficult to interpret whether this boy was using the sexual orientation slur to address another member of the group or as an attempt to further insult Logan, but it was clear that he was disparaging Logan’s veganism. It made my heart hurt.
As a rural Kansas road cyclist, I regularly ride past cow and sheep pastures and encounter countless pickup trucks with “Eat Beef” license plates. It always bothered me to eat animals. When I was 12, I told my parents I was giving up meat for Lent. At Easter, I announced I was never eating meat again. It was never hard for me to be a teenage vegetarian in 1980s Oklahoma City.
I remained a lacto-ovo vegetarian into my 30s, raising Logan vegetarian from “before birth”. After learning more about the egg and dairy industries, I became vegan when Logan was three years old. Walking home from kindergarten one day, still vegetarian at age six, Logan said, “Mommy I think I want to go vegan.” He has been vegan ever since.
As sophomores now, some of Logan’s friends are heavily focused on appearance and conformity to group norms. The author of the offensive text about Logan told him that running and vegan-eating make him skinny and weak. As an all-state runner, veganism clearly serves Logan well. Yet, as is often the case with teenagers (though not with me), he doesn’t want to seem different. He eats 100 percent vegan around me. While I can’t be sure that he never strays from committed veganism when he is around those guys, I believe his underlying dedication is still there. He is less willing to take his own food to parties and overnights, which worries me. I don’t want him to be hungry. He says other moms make food for him, and I know some of them have over the years.
Balancing my fervent desire for Logan to hold fast in his veganism with my desire to support him in the face of peer pressure often leaves me feeling anxious. I want it to be easy for him. While being a teenager is always hard, it is probably especially difficult to be a vegan teenager in a school where camouflage hunting jackets and pick-ups with gun racks are the norm. I regularly point out strong, athletic vegans (like us!) and reiterate the ethics of our vegan lifestyle.
Struggling with uncharitable feelings toward his friends, I remind myself that we vegans are challenged to use compassion as our compass and to extend kindness to all beings, even those who belittle us. I will continue loving Logan, the animals, and the planet, while modeling healthy, compassionate living. I trust that this will be enough to help him grow into a confident young adult who values compassion over conformity.
Sheri E. Barnes is an academic advisor, writer, and Optimal Living Coach. She lives in Kansas with her husband and 16-year-old son. She has been vegetarian since 1982 and vegan since 2008. She is currently writing her first book and is a contributing author in a forthcoming anthology about vegan cycling. You can read her blog at justwindcoach.com and connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.