Beginning the life of homesteading is a noble thing; those partaking of this venture often have grandiose ideas, brilliant plans and tenacity. The life of sustainability is, at its core, a little against the grain of how society as a whole does things. Society is taught to depend on big farms to produce our food stuffs, big box stores to provide for our every whim and need, and most have lost the basic skills that would even allow for the idea of homesteading to come into play. Therefore, those who go against this current or tide of how things are normally done are often viewed as noble, yet they are often misunderstood. They may be misunderstood for their intentions, their drive, or even their motives, but they persist, a peculiar and fascinating sort of folks we are. Let me say though, with all this going against the grain and becoming independent of what we are told we should do, be careful of these crazy ideas that may just pop into your head. If you are going to be self sufficient and not rely on others as much as the populace as a whole, you may even consider educating your own children at home so that you have the control over what and how they should learn … watch out, I warn.
There it is, homesteaders shouldn’t homeschool, the idea has popped into your head, but wait, you shouldn’t jump off that cliff, unless …
Children of homesteaders learn this skill early. If you aren’t responsible for the care of your animals, they won’t thrive and may not survive. If you are truly homesteading and raising some of your animals for food, improper care of your animals or neglect can lead to problems in your food supply, bad idea. Children of homesteaders who choose homeschooling will often incorporate all of this vital information into daily lessons. Those homeschooling children may learn about rations of feed, variability in weight gain, gestational and sexual maturity ages and all kinds of things related to the instruction in animal husbandry. This is not typically a class taught in most schools, rarely would you find this elective, but the responsibility of animal husbandry is something that these crazy homeschooled homesteading children may learn.
Another skill your home educated children may learn is an aspect or two regarding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) but they may simply learn this from the hours they have at their disposal to just be playing on your farm. Any child who has decided that a rope swing from the top loft of a barn to the floor may be fun has gone through some engineering feats to accomplish the exact right height of the rope, the knot and the arc so as not to break bones and cause mom to squeal. These same children may be observing spring tadpoles in the creek and through frequent trips to fish will watch as the slimy whip tailed creatures begin forming legs and eventually losing their tail only to hop away while in hot pursuit by said child. The play involved in constructing forts and hideaways from the great world at large will also require some mathematical skills as well as engineering, however because they are playing, these homeschooled children may not ever realize the skills that they are exercising and learning along the way. Don’t forget the logic and problem solving skills that these children learn while creating some of these play items, this time may be seen by some as invaluable, don’t fall for it.
Those homeschooled children are together all day, every day. It has been said that if you can get along with your siblings, you can get along with anyone. These homeschooled homesteading children learn this and then in turn often find their best friends live in the same house as they do. By spending so much time together age gaps don’t seem as insurmountable and you may find that toddlers and 10-year-olds can play together for hours. These bonds that are created because of the time the children are allowed to spend together are invaluable. Children also quickly learn that their family is their home base and the most important asset they have, unlike many schooled children who inaccurately come to believe that their friends are the most important.
These homeschooled children often have what seems like an endless amount of time to grasp a concept when they come across one that is difficult. There is no class moving ahead without them, no time table they have to rush to meet so that a state standardized test can measure their abilities. They have the luxury of learning at their own pace. Also, if you think about a typical school day with homeroom, bells ringing for class changes, bathroom breaks, disruptive children and fire drills being all removed, it is no wonder that these homeschooled children can often finish their lessons in a matter of 2-3 hours or less. Compare that to the average school day of 5-6 hours (with or without added transportation time included in that number).
These homesteaders who homeschool have figured something out. You can incorporate passion driven learning into any homeschool with brilliant results. If your child is interested in robotics you have the freedom to hop down that rabbit trail and exhaust the information superhighway for everything they want to learn. If cooking is their forte, you have the ability to allow them to incorporate cooking shows and a real live “lab” to whip things up in while they impress the family with some new found delectable. What about art you ask? Many traditional schools have had to forgo this one but these homeschoolers have the ability to explore museums, learn art history, and create masterpieces all without having to worry if there is enough government funding for the art and music program available.
There you have it, Homesteaders SHOULD NOT homeschool UNLESS they are interested in any of the areas mentioned above. Seriously, be warned, who wants children that love learning, have time to learn what they are passionate about, enjoy strengthening family bonds, learn from playing and learn some serious responsibility? Yeah, I didn’t think so … me either, that’s Why We Homeschool too.
If you enjoyed this post, come follow the adventures and education on our little farm with 5 children where we homeschool, garden, tend to livestock, and live life more like our ancestors did: Incidental Farm Girl
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