Over the last few years of our family expanding, we have continued to grow our homestead to provide. Not only are we providing homegrown nutrition to our children through this but also valuable life lessons and education. With the main focus on homeschool through homesteading they are going to one day have the knowledge to also provide for themselves and their families.
There is a deeper understanding and education when it comes to tending to animals and homegrown food. Not only are they absorbing everything that I am doing around them but I make it a point to make every homesteading step a teachable lesson.
From planning a garden, to planting to harvest and preservation. My daughters will know how to fuel their bodies and ease their minds through the lessons we teach.
Homeschool Through Homesteading
Since starting my journey in motherhood I have made it a point to also start a journey of homesteading. Being almost self taught they have had the opportunity to see all the work, research and planning that comes along with homegrown food.
It is no easy task to keep gardens. There are many variables that go into the process from seed to crop. A lot of it comes from planning. Once your plan is hatched the labor of making a successful garden is always matched by the reward. In the end your hard work comes to fruition, and you can provide nutrition at its finest.
Plans To Plant
I focus on companion planting in our raised beds. Particular crops can grow healthier and more abundant paired next to one another. You can also benefit from certain companion plants to do the work of keeping away pests that can harm your plants. Learning this process and how things can be vastly different in nature but coincide with one another to benefit from each other is such a wonderful lesson.
We also spend time sitting down to map out our gardens. The lessons we learn through this are in math through measurements and distances. Taking the time to make sure that the bed we are putting certain seeds in will allow the most come harvest time is key!
Seed To Soil
Come planting time we make sure to allow ourselves enough time to spend moments educating. Making sure that we are following the plans we have constructed together so that plants are partnered up to thrive and then dropping seeds in following the measurements as well.
There are a couple of things we must follow…the spacing between seeds, rows and the depth of the seed into the soil.
We also learn about how things emerge. We want to make sure that the plants that need extra support like tomato, beans, cucumbers, and peppers are planted in beds that allow us to use cages or terraces.
Care and Harvest
As our seeds come through the soil and begin to grow into plants, we use this as a time for lessons on caring for our plants. Certain crops require less water or more sun while others need to be pruned for success. We also learn about all the different bugs that can be harmful to the plant and how to naturally remedy diseases.
Our plants will grow and start to provide. In this, we have lessons about proper harvesting, how to cut or pluck the ready vegetable being sure not damage the plant that will continue to gift us food.
Our crops will begin to come in abundantly, and although we do consume a lot of our homegrown food directly from the gardens, we also preserve a good amount to last us through the year, especially in the cold Vermont months.
The lessons in our kitchen involve water bath canning, pressure canning and preparing food to freeze. We use a variation of methods depending on what crop we are preserving. There are many recipes, tools and loads of preservation knowledge to be had here!
Learning about temperatures, proper sterilization and sealing techniques, blanching, and freezing will provide them with lessons much more advanced than the average elementary classroom.
In addition to our raised garden beds we also have 7 laying hens, a rooster and a duck! We are provided fresh eggs daily! The lessons of caring for these animals is such a benefit. They learn responsibility and reward.
Our girls assist in feeding through homemade chicken feed and compost, watering, cleaning and collecting our eggs. We also educate about caring for farm fresh eggs and use these eggs in cooking and baking lessons within our kitchen.
From scratch cooking is always happening and to offer the skill and knowledge to my daughters is worth it all. They will have the tools as they grow to feed their minds and bodies with the healthiest versions of food.
No matter the scale of your homestead or ages of your children there are lessons in every step. These are lessons that will not only expand the mind but also will provide to your children in a lifelong manner.
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Love, light and a little grace…
Olivia Whalen is mama to three young girls who is devoted to creative learning, exploration and free range imagination. Olivia enjoys thinking outside of the box when it comes to preparing homemade baby food or meals for her family. She most enjoys allowing the little minds in her life to flourish and with that you will see her write about creative kid crafts, recipes that fit a family budget and keep everyone asking for more, tips and tricks for a tiny babe, and beginner homesteader fun! Some of her hobbies include gardening, hiking, reading, cooking or just basking in motherhood.