Monday, April 28, 2014

Encouraging Your Children to Love Homesteading

The Ducklings in their corral
  I have been enjoying watching my children's love of homesteading and I thought that it would be fun to write a post about it. It could be that everybody's children just love it naturally but then I realized it is possible they don't and maybe their are things that we do that cause our children to love it so. Here are some of the things that I have thought about that we have done that promotes a love of this lifestyle.

  ~ We do a lot of reading aloud (which our children LOVE) and many of the books that I choose to read are historical ones that often talk a lot about a homesteading type life. Some favorites are: The Little House Books, Ralph Moody's books, James Herriots' books, Anne of Green Gables series and books by Gene Stratton Porter (with Keeper of the Bees being my favorite).

~Encourage play that goes along the line of homesteading. Skip out on most all of those plastic toys (except Legos! -smile) and encourage creative play with nature and making things themselves. It makes it much easier to keep a house neat without tons of toys and the kids have lots of fun. The pictures in this post contain some of their recent creative play that is along a homesteading theme. They are making a ranch out in the woods right now and have corrals and a barn that the ducks can use (though that isn't their normal home - only while the kids are playing there) and they are working on a whole farm. All four of the kids love working on this sort of thing together.

~I enjoy the work (of homesteading) and so generally have a good attitude about it and that really rubs off on kids. I remember one day when I was out shoveling manure onto our garden, it was lightly raining and could have been an unpleasant task but I was just thinking about how much better our garden would be because of it. Mara was only around 5 at the time but she came out to help me voluntarily and we just had a fun time out their visiting about our garden and how this would help it grow.

~Share your dreams with them. This is something I have found immensely helpful for motivation to getting things accomplished with them helping. When they catch your vision they are much faster to want to help.

The well for their homestead.
~Let them dream a little. There are some things that I didn't really see us having very much off on our homestead - namely animals. They have never really been my thing and they are not something that Ken is interested in at all but our kids love them. So the animals we have had so far (not counting bees) and the ones that we have in the works for the future are all inspired by our children. And really - I am getting into it a little too. We will see if Ken starts getting excited about them sometime! :-)

~Involve them in work starting when they are really little. When we plant seeds in the spring inside that is always a fun activity and since the kids were pretty tiny they have been helping me with that. When they are little they can make it harder rather than easier but now that they are pretty big planting can go pretty fast because they are trained.

~Let them be the experts that you listen too. On several different subjects it has been my older kids that have done the research and I refer to them when I need help. Mara has become very knowledgeable in a lot of plant lore and she also did a lot of the research before we got chickens. Jonathan did all of the research before we got ducks this Spring. I don't have time to do everything or research everything - it helps a lot that they can take over in some areas. Also if I need something built or a new wooden spoon carved I don't usually do that myself - I ask Jonathan. We are a team that works together and the kids are just as essential as Ken or I for doing what we do.

~Have parents like mine. Oh, maybe that isn't possible for you. Anyway, I know that my parents have been a huge influence on my kids loving homesteading. My parents are live off the land sort of people and our kids love going to visit them, playing with their goats, roaming in their woods, picking apples off their trees and so forth. They would love it if our place could be just like Grandpa and Grandma's. Ken's parents also encourage them too in their love of the natural things that God has made with our many joint camping trips and their encouraging words in those areas.

  Now I do want to be sure you realize that our kids aren't perfect - there are some days that they don't feel like going out to care for the chickens but they have to do it anyway. There is many a day that they don't feel like weeding and I'll admit that I do the majority of that myself since I kind of like it and getting the kids to do it can sometimes feel a bit like pulling teeth. So life isn't perfect here, but overall I am pretty happy with the family I have and feel very blessed to have children who really enjoy our homesteading journey.

 If you consider yourself a homesteader - do you have kids that love the journey you are on? Why or why not do you think?

I will be linking this to some of the blog parties on my sidebar.

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