A ton of people think that homesteading and homeschooling go hand in hand. They’re not wrong, but not totally right either. For a lot of people they simply can’t put the time into doing both. If their fulltime job is homesteading, they may be too busy planting, harvesting, canning, and taking care of animals. If they homeschool, they may be too busy creating lesson plans, helping with work and teaching. So do you have to do both? Not at all. But we do.
We Homeschool and Homestead
I mentioned in this post about how we work and homestead and work. I also briefly mentioned the homeschool aspect of our daily life here. We decided when we started homeschooling the boys, that we did not want to homeschool traditionally. The idea of them sitting at the kitchen table and laboring over busy work made my skin crawl. What was the point of that? Why not just keep them in public school?
There are days when we are wrapped up in other chores that require our full attention, like getting the garden put in or putting in fencing. On those days they have more traditional work like writing an essay or working on repetitive math like fractions, multiplication, etc. But for the most part they are out with us working on firewood, butchering chickens, or just hanging out doing goat math.
We decided that unschooling was the way to go. The boys wanted to learn about things that interested them. Chase wants to be a line man and Jaxson wants to be a train conductor. So they researched those things and we started formulating “lesson plans” on those jobs. If they decide they don’t want to do that anymore? That’s fine, we find something else they want to do, we go do that. The whole point of unschooling is keeping the child at the core of their learning. Not forcing them to learn what we want them to learn about.
My friend over at Homeschool Lady has her own reasons for homeschooling. She talks about the freedom that homeschooling gives her. Her principles align with ours in that she allows her kids to do the work that interests them. While we don’t have any religious reasons for homeschooling our kids, many homeschoolers do.
Jaxson can’t focus longer than a few minutes on any given task and forcing him to is cruel. All it does is frustrate everyone and he doesn’t actually learn anything.
Chase prefers to get all of his work done as quickly as possible so he can go do whatever he wants.
Learning is not one size fits all and people have forgotten that. Unschooling focuses on the individual.
Don’t worry about what others say
There are some hardcore homesteaders that say you have to homeschool your kids. Meh, you have to do what’s right for you and your children. Period. If that means unschooling, homeschooling or public school, do it.
There are others that are going to tell you that you are ruining your child’s education by homeschooling them. Again, I say meh. My kids are probably more well rounded and educated than public school kids, if only because they live in the real world and work vs sitting at a desk.
Having mom and dad up to their elbows in produce, isn’t really conducive of “proper” homeschooling. But there are great lessons there.
Helping mom and dad butcher a chicken is a great way to teach anatomy, food preservation,
Should You Homestead and Homeschool
You don’t have to, homesteaders have sent their kids to school for hundreds of years. But if you can, I feel like you should at least try it. Give unschooling a try. But if you can’t, or don’t want to, there’s no reason to feel guilty over it. There is no wrong way to learn except to force it.
My boys have flourished since being out of public school.
Does their handwriting suck? Yup
Can they tell you about every single part of speech? Nope
Will they pass standardized tests? Probably not
Are they happy? Are they learning? Are they becoming capable? Yes, Yes, Yes.
But you know what they can do?
They can pull a goat kid, hatch chicks, butcher chickens, bottle feed a goat kid. They know how to care for a sick goat.
They can plant, harvest, and process a garden.
They can build a chicken tractor (with help because Jaxson doesn’t need to be around a saw). Building a shed is not a problem either. Cooking a healthy dinner is a breeze too.
They know how to find the resources they need to answer a question, fix something, or make something.
In short. No, you don’t have to homeschool to be a homesteader or vise versa. You just have to love and take care of your kids, land, and animals.
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