I had a friend ask me the other day what, if any, chores that we classified as “homeschooling” on the farm. And the more that I truly focused on it the more I realized that we count numerous things as homeschooling. My main point is that no matter what you are doing at home, it is almost ALWAYS able to be a tool for education. If you are a business man, you incorporate more business skill into life at home, if you are a laborer then you would include more labor oriented things. Which means, if you are a farmer, homesteader, or prepper then you add in life related skills. This is a short list of the chores/daily life that we incorporate into our learning here on the farm.
Auto Care / Mechanics
Auto care is so important as we all understand. But often when it is our car we sometimes have the opportunity to drive it to the mechanic before truly big issues arise. That isn’t always so with tractors. Whatever happens with a tractor often happens either JUST as you start to use it or during the project in which you need said tractor. And, if you are like us, you tend to live far away from the tractor repair place. This requires the big heavy trailer to move the tractor (if it IS moveable) as well as the added expense of the repair. Hence why we take care of as much as we can on the farm versus the tractor repair place. Which in turn turns into mechanics class; Oil changes, tire pressure checks and tire repair, hydraulics work, filter replacements, and attachment work all fall under mechanics here at the farm. Sometimes this class goes on for days, depending on severe the repair turns out to be.
Animal Husbandry / Care
Animals are a large part of the farm, as you can well imagine. When a lot of people think about farm animals the think of the petting zoo where you only see the animals and get to touch them. On the farm that is the least of the work applied to animal care. There is the basic chore of feeding and watering the animals but depending on the animal, the care can also turn into management and husbandry. For instance, the chickens need clean water and food everyday, obviously. But when an issue arises with one of the chickens, you need to investigate, research, and then correct the issue. This can be as simple as their house needs cleaned but can be as difficult as tending to wounds. Another part of caring for animals is husbandry (cultivation and production of edible crops or of an animal for food; agriculture; farming). Yes, most farmers tend to raise animals for food. either for themselves or for selling purposes, we all have to eat. Even so, husbandry can be as detailed as encouraging the rabbits to breed, caring for the mamas as they are pregnant by knowing what they need to produce healthy kits, to learning to cull when the rabbits are ill, old, or are table ready. These skills are important for the health and proliferation of farmers everywhere.
Gardening / Plant Husbandry
As you just read the term “husbandry” is more than just caring and tending to animals. It also falls under “the science of raising crops (or food animals)”. So when we are out tending to the garden, it is science and a management skills. Weeds are beastly and they can quickly overrun your garden area with you are not diligent in pulling them out. (Ask me how quickly this can happen). The skills and education that goes into garnering has shocked me as the years have gone by. The tilling and turning the earth quickly falls under Earth Science, as you learn why the earth needs tilled and what it does to the ground as you begin to prepare it for new seeds. That in turn is quickly fallowed by the land research since you need to know what types of soil you have in your area. Then the learning continues as you learn which seeds require specifics to encourage growth. Some need more water, some need more sun, some need more room, and some need more shade. Numerous skills and education goes into gardening if you expect to reap any harvest. And of course, the water cycle is heavily discussed as you water the garden each day.
Ooh but I love baking! As I kid I would have been the perfect candidate to be homeschooled my entire growing up. The older I have gotten and the more I have learned as a homeschool parent the more I understand that learning HAS to be fun and enjoyable or it won’t ever truly stick. Baking is one of the coolest science classes I have ever taken, to be honest. And yet, it isn’t just science class. It is math, it is reading, it is following directions, and of course chemistry. There are so many elements in baking that it floors me that more people aren’t tuning into how baking can educate a child. Take a bread recipe for instance; the yeast growing process in and of itself is the coolest way to learn about chemistry. The literal process of growing the yeast is a chemical process, as the sugar reacts with the yeast and how heat makes it all happen. That is amazing and way more fun in my opinion than sitting in a class that teaches this process in a boring way. And of course, the baking of the bread, how the continued heat makes the bread rise, then the best part of the bread braking process, eating it fresh form the oven. Who doesn’t love a project that you can eat when it’s over?!
Engineering / Building
If you don’t know, on our farm we are building our own house out of shipping containers. Well, actually my husband is building most of it but we have helped with tons of the work. Hey, free and cheap labor! The steps involved have been numerous and mighty tasks to undertake but have been so fascinating to see come to life. That being said, the engineering that has gone into how our house needs to be structurally sound as well as functional has been mighty task. With tons of math involved, even our youngest son has been helping with the “design” of parts of this process with us. Welding to carpentry there are so many skills that come into play with building a house. Here are just some skills that we have all learned to apply to homeschooling; angles, measuring, geometry, pitch, electrical, plumbing, cutting, welding, heat transfer (AC/Heat), reflection, weight, depth, width, height, weight distribution, and money management. There isn’t one skill that stands out and honestly I’ve probably missed some very important skill but let’s be real, this pretty much takes the cake for home education. House building covers so many skills that are important in life so we just wrap it all up in our education book called life.
There is more that I am most likely leaving out as this is the tip of the iceberg we call homeschooling farm style. See? I just remembered water transfer, as we have a well and how the pump and process works to get water into the house. Tons of things that we usually take for granted we tend to point out as educational moments here on the farm. Why? Because it tends to stick if the lesson is fun, important to survival (don’t get me started on the survival skills, that is for another post), and easily comprehendible. Life skills on the farm have been much easier to teach for us than when we lived in the subdivision on the outskirts of the big city. My point, our new way of life makes it easier to teach these life skills as we are actually living them as we educate about them, not just teach them from a book. Our lives are engulfed in education and we are trying to pass that life learning skill to our children through our daily life and activities.
School on my friend, you have so much to use at your disposal and much to experience with your child(ren), just in your day to day. Enjoy and be blessed!
In His Grace,