From the traditional home school to the unschoolers, home education comes in many shapes and sizes. There are many reasons why we chose to unschool our family, but perhaps the most central is that we want our family to grow up in a more nature focussed way; So we decided to make life on the homestead one of the main elements in our children’s unschooling.
Growing up on a homestead is an ideal way for our children to connect with nature, learn how to be self-sufficient and learn so many essential life skills that they wouldn’t learn in school. From planting seeds to caring for livestock there really are so many valuable skills to be learnt on the homestead.
Learning With Nature
Everyone who has followed us for a while, will know there is nothing we like more than getting little ones out into nature. There are lots of benefits to being outdoors but there are also lots of lessons waiting to be learnt. One of the most common questions we get as a home ed family, is but what about a curriculum? How will they learn? How can nature teach them?
Yet, for those who look, nature has a lot to offer. Life on the homestead involves numerous tasks that require specific skills. Feed has to be measured out, seeds counted and planted, a knowledge of biology and how to care for living beings is essential, not to mention the ability to problem solve and make something out of nothing. Homesteading is not an easy feat, and these babies are learning some amazing skills that will give them a great start in life.
Aria, at 2 years old, can competently count out a number of seeds to plant, or how may eggs the hens have laid each day. She knows what colour each animal is and whether they are a herbivore or a carnivore, and what that means in terms of their diet… For 2 years old I would say that’s pretty impressive!
The lessons on the homestead are vast. Our babies may not learn basic skills sitting in class, but they learn them regardless, just out in the open air and in many different ways.
Essential Life Skills
Aside from learning how to count, read or how the world works, one of the primary reasons we wanted to raise our babies on the homestead is that they learn lots of other skills that other children in conventional education may not get the opportunity to. Growing our own food, for example, is a daily task in our household. Tending to seedlings, organising plant beds and of course the harvest, are all tasks our babies are well acquainted with. Unfortunately, in today’s society, too many children have no idea how to grow their own food or where their food comes from.. that is a problem that our babies will definitely not face. They know exactly where their food comes from and how to grow it themselves.
Caring for livestock, is again, a skill unique to homesteading. At a year old Ryver was caring for her 6 quail, learning how to feed them and help them thrive. Of course, being so young, they still need our supervision and assistance, but they are more than capable of understanding and helping us in the daily livestock tasks. I am sure it wont be long until they are both out collecting eggs and distributing feed without us!
These skills will serve them well in their future, they wont need to rely on a supermarket to produce their own food, or someone else to care for livestock. They will be able to do it all themselves, and in our eyes that’s the best gift we can give them. Self-sufficiency plays a big role in our life and passing that on to our wild ones is something we certainly aim to do.
Spending time outside is crucial for body and soul. How many times have you felt stressed or burnt out and been healed by time outside? For us, we spend our lives outside, constantly in touch with the seasons and with nature. That’s not to say that we don’t have days where we are inside way too much and everyone gets a little agitated, we do, it happens. But one of the benefits of the homestead life is that you are outside more than your not. Plants have to be tended to and livestock fed daily.
During the busiest growing periods most of our days are spent at the allotment only coming home to eat, clean up and go to bed, only to do the same the next day. Our babies practically live outdoors and they love it. They thrive outside. They are calm (as calm as toddlers can be), confident and free. Happy to play out in the dirt all day long! They don’t have to schedule in time outside or take time out to get grounded to the Earth and help calm overwhelming emotions. In our eyes they are truly free and living the best life we could offer them.
We can’t stand the thought of them being stuck inside a classroom all day when they could be outside learning as they play…for some it makes sense, just not for us. Our babies are wild and free and home ed on the homestead lets it stay this way!
It’s Great Fun!
Have you ever seen the look of joy on a muddy toddlers face!? They love it. They love to explore the world around them, take risks, discover new sights and sounds, and above everything else. get messy. The homestead is a great place for them to explore and test their skills whilst in a safe environment.
We let them wander, play and do what they wish. We keep a close eye just to make sure they aren’t up to anything too risky, but 9 times out of 10 they will be quite happy occupying themselves making mud cakes, waving bamboo canes around and finding worms. We love that they don’t spend hours and hours indoors, yes they may be coated in mud and resemble swamp monsters 99% of the time, but they are having the time of their lives!
Learning through play is crucial for young children’s development and what a better way to learn than on the homestead surrounded by nature and mud!?
Obviously. this isn’t the life some people dream about, and that is fine, everyone deserves to live and parent in the way that they deem fit. But for us, it is heaven. We can’t imagine anything better than raising our babies on the homestead, embracing nature and learning how to be self-sufficient. We cannot wait to see them grow and thrive on the farm!
For those of you who also love this life, don’t forget to check out Nature’s Way Homestead, our dedicated homestead website where we blog about all things on the farm, and why not check out our YouTube channel too where you can get tours and tips straight from our homestead!