Involving the Kids on the Homestead

I interviewed a friend this week for a magazine article I’m working on and she gave me so much extra that I thought I’d share some of her wonderful advice with you.

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.

Blessings to ya’

If you’d like to learn more about the Daniels and what they do in Kentucky, visit their websites: Willow Hills Natural Foods and Provide Your Own.


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4 Responses to Involving the Kids on the Homestead

  1. kcoleary says:

    I agree with Susan. Stay flexible! Homeschooling on the homestead offers up so many opportunities if we’re just willing to put aside our own restrictive expectations and allow our children to explore, investigate, play, and learn on their own. We learn by doing and what better place to do that than on your own homestead!

  2. I love her thoughts and actions! That is how we involved our children when they were homeschooling and they are self driven successful adults today! Our daughter is planning on raising her daughter the same way and I look forward to seeing where her journet takes her!

  3. Camarell says:

    I’m loving your blog so far. I got here googling homesteading and homeschooling. We are in the process of buying 26 acres with a small mobile home on it. The plan is to sell the city house and get out of debt and then build a larger, more suitable home all while raising chickens, a couple cows and a garden. Building the house and outbuildings our self and learning how to be as self sufficient as possible. I want my kids to be as involved as possible from the beginning. There are 9 my oldest at home is 15, the youngest will born in Oct 😉
    I’m just not sure where to start! To be honest I’m not even sure where *I* need to start learning! So I’m hoping for some lesson plans or study guides… something to get the ball rolling and us headed in the right direction.

    • Carol says:

      Welcome, Camarell! Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter for more ‘Lessons.’ Also, if you want ‘how-to-homestead’ information, check out my other blog I hope all goes well with your move and the arrival of baby. Please check back and let us know how things are going.

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