Too often, people misuse the term. They will tell children, for example, that if they don’t finish their work, they can’t play as a natural consequence. But this is not an immutable law of nature. It
took human intervention to create it. It’s an artificial consequence. It may well be something that the adult sees as a rational consequence, but it does not fit the definition of natural
While there are artificial consequences at a Sudbury school in the form of our Judicial Committee, we do let the natural consequences reign a great deal. If you don’t decide to learn a foreign language, then you only know your native tongue. If any of our students ever decided not to learn to read - which not one single person has - they would be illiterate. And so on. It works quite well, when you leave artificial consequences for those actions that affect other people and let natural consequences be the only “punishment” for those actions that only affect oneself.