My husband and I met Scott and Susan Daniels about 22 years ago when we visited a new church. We hit it off immediately as we were both pregnant with our second children. Even though we no longer live in the same city nor attend the same church, we are still close friends.
The Daniels left the city shortly after we did. But instead of following us to Virginia, they settled in Kentucky. They purchased a much larger spread than we have and they have not only attempted to raise their own food on their farm, they endeavor to feed the community as well.
Scott, Susan, and their children have raised chickens, turkeys, and pigs; milked cows and goats, kept extensive gardens; and a lot of things I’m sure I’m missing.
When I asked Susan about homeschooling on the homestead she had some great things to share. Here are the jewels that I fished out of all the nuggets she threw my way:
- Have the children involved with the farm, rather than just spectators. Trust them with things, even if it means losing a few chickens.
- Parents need to oversee the children’s involvement on the homestead from a distance.
- If the kids forget to latch the door to the chicken coop and they all get out, then the kids need to be the ones to get them back in. That will teach them to remember to latch the door the next time around.
- Be flexible and if something isn’t working, re-evaluate what you are doing. You will need to change things around as the kids get older.
- Just because your kids grow up on a small farm doesn’t mean they will want to be farmers when they grow up. Observe where your children’s interests lie and help them and guide them in their pursuits.
- As homeschoolers, we put higher expectations on our kids than a traditional school. Lighten up. Our kids are learning so much more than the academics that they are getting more than we realize.
Don’t you wish you could just sit down with Susan over a cup of tea and soak in all the wisdom that 12 years on the homestead and a passel of kids have given her? I know I do.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give others thinking of embarking on the homeschooling/homesteading journey? Please share with us in the comments.