The importance of a quality education can never be underscored, and that’s why Erykah Badu says she felt compelled to homeschool son Seven Sirius, 11 ½, through kindergarten and first-grade. “I wanted to give [him] special attention academically, to give him an advantage,” the 38-year-old songstress explains in a new interview with Babble.

Mission accomplished! Erykah says that through their collective effort, Seven “learned how to solve problems in a nontraditional way” which has served him well now that he is enrolled in a traditional school. “He developed an edge in his schoolwork,” Erykah notes. “He enjoys challenges…He pushes himself…He does his homework voluntarily.”

Citing “parents not participating in kids’ schooling,” as her biggest parental pet peeve, Erykah adds,

Click below to learn who “dared” Erykah to tweet Mars’ birth.

The food which fuels that learning is also a big concern for Erykah, who adheres to a vegan lifestyle both for herself as well as for her three children, which include daughters Puma Sabti, 5, and Mars Merkaba, 7 months. “When Seven was born I was a vegetarian and his father [Andre 3000]was too, so it was a natural progression for him in life to eat the things we eat,” she explains. “Puma is the same way. It’s just what’s in the house.”

The kids are also being taught to read the ingredients before they consume, though Erykah is quick to point out that she did not “in any way force them to have the same lifestyle,” adding, “I think they should know the benefits of having a healthy body.”

The diet is sometimes a challenge, however. When asked about whether her children ever request hot dogs, Erykah replies, “they joke about it,” and concedes, “I’m sure as children they feel left out sometimes.” When those situations seem likely to arise, Erykah says she always has an alternative food to offer. “We make sure we keep a school menu on hand, and we prepare the same foods the kids at school are eating but in a healthier manner,” she notes. “That’s what this lifestyle provides us with.”

The earlier, it would seem, the better! Mars is currently on a macrobiotic diet, according to Erykah. “It’s different from being a vegan,” she explains, “in that it goes a little bit deeper into the yin and yang of what a human being needs.” She was first turned onto macrobiotics after learning that Seven has food allergies to some nuts, legumes, melons and apples.

In the interview, Erykah also explains her decision to birth all three babies at home. “That’s the natural environment, the old way,” she notes. “There’s not a lot of fuss and moving around.” With Seven, Erykah says she had a “very wise doula” and midwives who gave her the “freedom” to continue living her life while she labored. “I didn’t have to uproot myself,” she explains. “Maybe to some it’s scary, but preparation is the whole key.”

Tweeting between contractions? Not so much. Erykah reveals it was a dare which led her to provide updates throughout her labor with Mars. “Questlove of The Roots said, ‘I bet you won’t Twitter while you’re in labor,'” she recalls. “I said, ‘I bet I will.’ So I did.” Standing close by were Seven and Puma, who played “a very big part” in helping their mom deliver their newest sibling. “It was very sacred,” Erykah says. “They helped me welcome this baby into the world.” The Twitter community has done their part as well, Erykah jokes.

Seven is Erykah’s son with Andre 3000 of Outkast; Puma is her daughter with rapper The D.O.C;Mars is her daughter with rapper/producer Jay Electronica.

Source: Babble

— Missy