Last night Silver Oak got home from work late, and since our oldest daughter was with him, our 11 year-old did evening chores alone. She milked two goats, fed the horse, chickens and other animals, gathered the eggs, and strained the milk all by herself. And she loved it! She felt she had accomplished something big, which she had.
Homesteading is great for children and their sense of self-worth. They know everyone is depending on them to fulfill their responsibilities correctly and in a timely manner, or it affects the whole family, of which they are an important part. There is something therapeutic about working with animals which look to them for nurture and attention. Unhealthy fears fade away, and they love the relationships they have with their charges.
Homesteading educates. Even our youngest children understand completely where and how we get the milk for our breakfast cereal. And where the eggs in the brunch casserole come from. They are completely connected with real life in these areas, and better equipped to survive if modern systems collapse.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live on a homestead. What can you do? I’ve thought of some ideas, and I’d love to hear yours. Perhaps you could “adopt” a family who is homesteading, and stop in periodically to see them, especially at chore time. Our children love it when we have visitors while doing chores, if the visitors are interested in observing them at work. They also enjoy allowing their visitors to “help.”
Maybe you could decide to regularly purchase fresh eggs or milk from a local farm, and take the children along whenever possible. It may be out of the way and even more expensive, but these are small prices to pay for the benefits to your children. If you home educate, doing things like this is likely second nature anyway. Real life observation and hands-on experiences are far better teachers than textbooks and lectures any day.
May you find some way to bless your children with chores!
P.S. Have you ever done a barn hop? Click on the picture below to visit other homesteaders’ blogs.