Gradening Notebook

Your Questions: Homeschooling on the Homestead

Homeschooling Kids on the Farmstead

I’d love to hear more about what homeschooling Charlotte Mason style looks like for your family. Also maybe how you manage your time when trying to balance school, farm, and food preparation.

How do you fit in “school” lessons, laundry, cooking, etc. amidst the farm life? I understand that the “life” lessons are just as valuable, but we still need to teach our children to read and write so they can soak in the Word. I’m sure you can’t give me a schedule set in stone considering with each calendar season (and different seasons in life, such as nursing a baby) is always changing. However, I am curious what your days look like.

That’s a lot of information to gather together in one post! I could try to give you a brief overview, capturing the essence of how we fill our time, but I’m wondering if it might be time for another day or week-in-review post might be called for…

But first, may I just say that I don’t know if these questions are being asked because of any type of discouragement felt when visiting my blog, as though I’ve somehow got it all together while you don’t. I hope not. I’ve more than once visited a homeschooling site that, while well-meaning and intended for helping to equip the homeschooling mom, has been a major source of discouragement to me. The sites that bring me down and make me feel lousy are the ones where children are all happily gathered around the table with their arts & crafts projects all planned out, supplies of cotton balls, glitter, popsicle sticks, and construction paper all brought from neatly organized and labeled bins. Not only am I horrible at organizing fun educational projects, but I can’t keep my tempra paints locked up in the basement without a child finding them and leaving handprints on the basement walls! Boxes of crayons and colored pencils literally vanish within a couple weeks, or often, days of purchase. But I digress…

If you are continually feeling discouraged in your role when you visit here, please follow my example and discontinue following this site and any other that is being used by the enemy to demoralize you. But please know that I certainly don’t mean anything I write to boost myself up and therefore to drag you down. If I have anything together, to God be the glory because on my own I struggle to get past 9 am chores.

I promised just before I found out I was expecting Chloe to write about how I home educate on our homestead.  I’ve been avoiding this question for well over a year because that same enemy has been at work in my life.

Recognizing that “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life,  I had just integrated a lot of our lessons, simplifying our days, and was excited about our new agrarian school calendar. Not long after, I began to experience feelings of uncertainty and doubt about whether I was able to give my children a truly wholesome and rounded education that way. I had come across a snarky forum mocking Bible-based educations in a large family. I worried about what you all would think about me. I was already pretty far off the traditional-homeschooling-family beaten path and here I was- straying even further.

As I began to  gather my thoughts in preparation for the upcoming year, I felt overwhelmed and burdened by having to teach 4 or 5 children at once in addition to all my other responsibilities. Outside of a computer program curriculum, I couldn’t figure out how to cover all of the material necessary with each child and I know myself well enough to recognize that even if I could afford a computer-based curriculum for each child, I would rely on it far too heavily to do my job for me. I wouldn’t be as diligent as I need to be monitoring what they’re teaching, and ultimately computer-based education is of a personal concern to me because I know from my own experience, the more time I spend staring at a screen the more time I want to stare at the screen. It’s addictive and even with strict limitations, I’ve seen my children facing the same problem. It just wouldn’t be a good fit as we seek to live more intentional, simple lives.

Hormones may or may not have had a role in feeding my wavering mind. Knowing that, I forged on with my pre-pregancy homeschooling plans, trusting my previously rational self and the choices I made.

Here we are, a year later, and I’ve seen some of the fruits of my labor and while I’m still tweaking that agrarian calendar, I’m pretty happy about the strides we made in the schoolroom this year. I might even go so far as to say that we have come closer to meeting my goals than during any other year. I don’t use a curriculum package so it’s hard for me to judge what our goals should be… They’re not reached on the last page of a textbook, so maybe I’m simply getting more realistic.

Perhaps when you’re done reading about what we do, you won’t think it much of an education at all, but really my end goal in the “classroom”is to get the children learning on their own. I hope that by setting the example of always trying new things and researching a variety of interesting topics, they’ll embrace the example of my inquisitive nature for themselves .

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