Can you homeschool and homestead all at the same time? Are there enough hours in the day to fit everything in? Not only is it possible, but both will benefit. We have been living this homeschooling/homesteading lifestyle ever since we raised our first chicks when our oldest daughter was 2 1/2 years old.
There is nothing like seeing lifecycles in plants and animals all around you throughout the year. It does not compare to reading about it in a textbook or watching a video clip. These things that are experienced will stick with your children much better than any other learning method – no matter the type of learner.
Over the years of our homesteading, we have added animals and projects. When we didn’t know how to do something, we learned. Our children learned right alongside us – and learned how to learn. We have also learned by doing. When it didn’t work as we expected, we learned why. Sounds like science experiments doesn’t it?
Planning the garden – when to plant, how much to plant, how many seeds or seedlings to order? All of these questions lead to excellent living math lessons. Most children balk at doing math because it doesn’t seem relevant. What is more relevant than using math to plan for garden harvests?
Walking the fence line, you hear a bird’s song. Everyone pauses and listens. Someone locates the bird and recognizes it. Now we can match the call to the bird. Another child picks some wildflowers, while their sibling names them. This is nature study at its best. A natural, easy part of your routine. Sure, we still do planned nature walks bringing along the field guides and sketchbooks and camera. These “caught in the moment” times are often those remembered best.
That is exactly the point. The lines are often blurred between what is homeschooling and what is homesteading. When both are taken together as part of your lifestyle it makes things easier – and more full. It’s not hard when the Lord leads your day rather than you trying to fit everything into a neat and tidy time slot.
Nothing throws that carefully planned schedule out the window faster than animals loose and wreaking havoc. Chasing and herding them back into their space adds in P.E. and/or recess. Now when you get back inside to read some history aloud, everyone’s minds will be sharper thanks to the exercise.
The flexibility of homeschooling accommodates the seasons of homesteading well. Remember reading in Little House on the Prairie about the “big boys” not even being school during the fall term due to their help needed on their farmsteads? Adopt the same philosophy. Around here that time of year is often busy with harvesting and canning or butchering. We don’t crack many books unless it is a family read aloud. Many times, we use audiobooks so our hands can keep working while our minds and ears listen.
This is the time of year when many of us in the northern hemisphere are starting our gardens. Even if your garden is a few plants in pots on the balcony it will be a great learning experience for all of you. Don’t try to segregate your time into school time and chore time. Let the two naturally flow together. Your family will be happier.
Since we began our homesteading adventures, I have found more understanding when we read Scriptures. With our new experiences, passages of Scripture come aliveI find I am praying more often – for homesteading needs (last summer we frequently prayed for rain) as well the typical prayers of a wife and mother. I think our children are seeing our reliance on Him more due to our lifestyle as well.
Blending our homeschooling and homesteading has brought us closer to the Lord and closer to the land. We have also grown closer to each other and closer to the library. Who can complain about that?
Hillary blogs at Our Homeschool Studio. She shares thoughts on homeschooling, homesteading, recipes and more. She is a wife and mother of six children.