Trackers NW Blog

HomeSteading School Responses

I received many incredible responses from parents about our proposed HomeSteading School. In fact, I was wonderfully inundated with emails. I want to give you a taste of how inspiring some of those letters were. Since the HomeSteading School blog last Thursday there's been a lot of excited feedback about the notion of a school. We may have some exciting news coming soon. In the meantime, some wonderful thoughts by one of our wonderful parents. -Tony

A response to the blog HomeSteading School...

I'm a homeschooling mom and my son has been taking the homeschool trackers class this year and it has been a wonderful experience for him. I wanted to respond to this blog because it struck such a major chord with me. You asked:

What do you think? Would you want your kids to literally be Urban Homesteaders for two, three or even four days a week? Would you worry if the skills they learn are actually relevant? Do you want to challenge our hypothesis and say that these are not important to have?

First, I wanted to share that my kids (and many of my friends kids) have gone through a phase of intense interest in pioneer life. One of the things that I think is really attractive about pioneer life is how everyone was needed--the kids' contributions to the households were real and meaningful and absolutely necessary. Also, for boys especially, a lot of the work is much more interesting than the chores of today. Compare hunting, caring for animals, and building things with emptying the dishwasher and taking out the garbage. It is pretty hard to find anything intrinsically rewarding about these modern day tasks.

However, I've found it really difficult to find tasks for my 7 and 12-year-old that are really necessary for our survival. The fact is that we can buy our basic necessities, even on one not-quite-full-time salary. The kids help with whatever work we do around the house, and they cook and bake and make things like wash clothes and pajamas which are nice to have and use, but they know that their help isn't really necessary (though it does have a big impact on the mood of the household!) If I could get my kids involved in something where their work is needed--especially something involving work as interesting as homesteading--and their skills are truly useful, I would be delighted. I would have absolutely no concerns about the skills being relevant. In fact, survival skills are the MAIN skills I consider relevant. I can think of no more useful skill set that I'd like my kids to get and that I personally would have difficulty giving them.

One reason I think these skills are incredibly relevant is that I believe  my kids will be really lucky to find rewarding work that pays enough to cover the bills AND provides long-term job security. I'd love them to be able to be self-sufficient enough weather periods of unemployment. Also, I believe the skills involved in being self-sufficient are the same ones that would allow them to have their own businesses (initiative, planning, confidence in their ability to figure out how to do mechanical/practical things, confidence in their ability to sustain themselves on little outside income, resourcefulness, ability to work interdependently with others to achieve goals, etc.). Also, I believe a great model for families where work outside the home is required, is for both adults to be able to work part time, rather than one or both working full-time and being away from the family most of the time. I believe this model would be more possible if they have plenty of skills for sustaining themselves independently.

Well, that's enough from me! Thanks for your thought-provoking post, and I do hope the homesteading school gets off the ground (and we can afford it!)


Class roll...

Homesteading Summer Camp Little House in the Big Valley
We are a little intimidated that we'll get kids who can quote every book cover to cover. But that's the price we'll have to pay to hold our summer camp homage to Lara Ingalls Wilder.
Learn more or register here

Family Camp for Summer or Fall Nature of the Village
Recreate the village for one week. Imagine doing nothing but preserving jams, making soaps and candles, learning wilderness skills, tracking the land, practicing permaculture and singing songs around the campfire as a family, with other families.
Learn more or register here

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