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  • Sarita Harbour

10 THINGS HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING FAMILIES KNOW

Homeschooling and homesteading together IS hard. Yet, like most families who homestead and homeschool will tell you, it's incredibly rewarding. 


When you make a point of including your children in your homesteading activities, they learn important lessons they wouldn't in a traditional school environment.


And when you homestead in your homeschool, your children will learn important lessons all year long. Especially in the summers!


Here are just a few of the things that homesteading and homeschooling families know about this challenging yet fulfilling lifestyle.


HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING FAMILIES



1. HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING GO HAND-IN-HAND

It's so simple that it's easy to overlook. But homeschooling and homesteading both happen at home. And this makes homeschooling and homesteading easier.


Mom or dad doesn't have to take time out from homesteading chores to drive kids to and from school. And children enjoy multiple learning experiences both in the home and around the homestead.


Most importantly, homeschooling and homesteading draw parents and children closer together. So you have lots of time to teach kids the values most important to your family. All while you're working at home and homeschooling.



2. HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING GOES BEYOND WORKBOOKS

Homesteading requires many different skills on a daily basis. So it gives parents tons of opportunities to teach children important hands-on lessons.


It involves learning together and getting your kids outdoors every day. Teaching them outdoor safety skills. And these roll-up-your-sleeves lessons help re-enforce more formal homeschool lessons. The ones learned from studying a textbook or finishing workbook exercises.



3. HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING LETS YOU TEACH SCIENCE HANDS-ON

Maybe I'm the only one, but as a student, I preferred science experiments to science chapter books. Although we do love kids' nature books, seed books, and garden books around here! And it's true that many homeschooling curriculum options include interesting experiments to carry out at home.


Yet homeschooling and homesteading let kids see science in action. Not as an experiment, but as real life.


Children can learn to plant vegetables, care for, and harvest a garden. They can learn to can, pickle, and preserve food.


And they can join in to forage for and identify edible (and dangerous) wildflowers, herbs, and vegetables. Maybe they'll learn to raise, feed, and butcher chickens at home too.


Even if you're just getting started homesteading, homeschooling lets you teach science in a very hands-on way.



4. YOU ARE THE MASTER OF YOUR HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING SCHEDULE

Families that homeschool and homestead know they can choose their own schedules. We aren't slaves to someone else's timetable.


You get to work homeschool lessons with homesteading chores and projects. And your homeschool schedule may change with the seasons.


The flexibility of combining homeschooling and homesteading lets you seize learning opportunities as they arise. It also helps parents prioritize activities based on your family's needs.


You don't have to work around a corporate calendar or a school board timetable. Instead, you get to create your own homesteading and homeschooling schedule.



5. IT'S EASY TO FALL BEHIND

The flipside of enjoying flexibility with homeschooling and homesteading is that it's really easy to fall behind on homeschooling. This is particularly true during busy homesteading times, like harvesting and in the spring when baby animals arrive.


Parents who homeschool and homestead know you're constantly evaluating where you are in your lesson plans. And at times you make adjustments to your lesson schedule to accommodate the homestead.



6. HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING TEACHES KIDS VALUABLE LIFE SKILLS

Homeschooling and homesteading families understand that a well-rounded education includes more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.


For us, it's all-encompassing as we learn how to homeschool off the grid while homesteading. It also includes learning important life skills. It's about giving your kids the tools to thrive and survive in the world. And that's whether they grow up to homestead in an apartment, on an acreage, or not at all.


Some of the valuable life skills that homesteading teaches kids include:


  • planning a schedule and learning a routine (time management)

  • easy vegetables to plant (science and basic survival)

  • how to make home-baked bread

  • troubleshooting when things go awry (machinery breakdowns, fixing an off grid water system, how to transplant tomato plants, etc.)

  • household chores like stocking a homestead pantry, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry

  • basic animal husbandry

  • basic first aid

  • math in real life - ie. how to calculate wood needed for homestead projects, cost of material for a new quilt, how many cords of wood to keep the woodstove running each winter, etc.



7. THE BEST LESSONS HAPPEN ON THE FLY

When you're homeschooling and homesteading, learning opportunities happen every day.


Families that homestead and homeschool can set aside their workbooks to attend the birth of a new calf, or to learn how to make raspberry jam. These opportunities are trickier to find if a child is away at school six to eight hours a day.



8. OUTDOOR LEARNING EVERY DAY

If you're a homesteading family, chances are you value outdoor life. So you want your kids to feel the same way. Homesteading and homeschooling families know that kids who spend time outdoors learn to love nature.


And now science backs that up. A recent study from the University of British Columbia found that young adults who spend more time outdoors as kids are more "environmentally and ecologically" aware.


At the same time, an American study from Nature of Americans found that parents reported their 8-to-12-year-old kids spend triple the amount of time in front of a television or computer screen than they do outdoors!


Now wouldn't you prefer your children spend time riding a cantering horse than pretending to ride in an online game?


When you're homeschooling from a homestead, you don't worry that your children aren't getting enough fresh air. So much of this lifestyle requires you to get outdoors.


And often all hands are needed to get things done! Even those small little fingers can gather eggs and pull weeds from a vegetable garden.



9. HOMESCHOOLING AND HOMESTEADING KIDS GET A LOT OF EXERCISE!

Kids who homeschool on a homestead usually get the chance to enjoy a lot of exercise. It's part and parcel of the homesteading life. Maybe they're learning to care for new chicks. Or the garden.

These kids help with farm chores, garden, tend animals, or just run wild outside.


Parents who homeschool and homestead usually don't worry about the increasing childhood obesity rates impacting their kids. Physical activity is an integral part of the lifestyle.



10. IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH YOUR KIDS HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS

Many homesteading families have one or more business income streams. As much as you can cut costs, DIY, barter, grow your food and increase your self-reliance, the reality is that most of us still need to make money off the grid or not.


Families who are homeschooling and homesteading know there's no better opportunity to teach your children how to run a business. Keep your kids by your side as you work on marketing, pricing, and cash flow projections. These entrepreneurial skills will help them in the future, whether or not they homestead.

Homeschooling and homesteading are not for the fainthearted. Yet if you're among the families willing to take up the challenge, you'll have a wonderful opportunity to build a strong home-centered family and lifestyle.

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