Farming, Home School…What’s the Difference?

We scatter seeds. It is all about planting now and reaping later in our pastures and in our personal lives.


Here’s the main idea of our home schooling: We get the kids interested in something. When they show interest we run together. Curriculum doesn’t matter. Nobody gets up in the morning and throws a fit about doing a math lesson. We do what we are excited about…and usually math comes along for the ride. I mean, you can’t price the chickens without doing a little math…so it just happens. We certainly have a nice collection of math curricula (like Life of Fred) but the curriculum isn’t as important as the appreciation. You with me?

You may not care about our home schooling philosophy but, believe it or not, this is a post about farm sustainability.

I can’t force my kids to learn to do math. We learned that the hard way. We just work it in to our daily interactions. We count the dots on legos (Hand me a 10×2 flat blue) or estimate the acorns on a branch, estimate the branches on a tree and multiply it out. If I print out a math page and park them at the table inside on a sunny day we’ll have a problem. Similarly, we also can’t force a pig to load up in a trailer when it is out in a pasture. If I try to force the pig to do something…anything…the pig will put its head down and dig in its heels. Pigs are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

My kids ask the same question. We all do. “What’s in it for me?”

I have to make sure everybody wins. If everybody wins, everybody has fun. If everybody has fun, life is easy. Salatin doesn’t force pigs to aerate his compost. He incentivises them to aerate his compost by burying corn ahead of time.  Pigs get fat, bedding gets composted, everybody wins. This is certainly applicable in farming but only to a point. Let’s stop talking about pigs and focus on the kids. Farming is more sustainable because of pigs. Farming is ONLY sustainable because of future generations. But I can’t force them to farm. I can only scatter seeds hoping they fall on fertile ground. Further, I have to let the seeds grow. I am 24 years older than my oldest child. If I wait until I’m 84 to give him control of the farm he’ll be 60. Will he want to control the farm then or just retire? His oldest could be 36 (YIKES!). Will they want the farm? Their oldest kid could be 12 (DOUBLE YIKES!). I have to make room for the seed to grow. Who are we planting seeds in…and for what purpose? And I can’t just plant the seed, I have to nurture it and reap the harvest. I am sowing seeds of success…purpose…vision into my children. I don’t anticipate being in charge of anything around here in 10-15 years. My goal is to become superfluous. I’ll be the janitor. It will be awesome! But for that to happen I have to plant the seeds now. As our children grow they will begin to search for purpose. Our children’s purposes can all be here. All I have to do is prepare, plant, nurture and get out of the way.

I plan to expand on this thinking a little bit in future posts. I hope you’ll stick around and share any thoughts you have with us.

4 thoughts on “Farming, Home School…What’s the Difference?

  1. Yep. This is utmost importance for us. Priority #1 for us is raising the kids (right) here on the farm. Everything else follows. We home school our 7, 5 and 1 1/2 year olds and will appreciate the perspective you offer in the coming posts.

    And thanks for the Life of Fred recommendation. I already requested it from the library.

  2. I just met a young fellow last weekend from Alberta who has been given total management of his family farm – hundreds of acres in grain and cattle. He’s 23. And – he’s totally ready for the responsiblity. His parents are still around – they’ve moved into a condo in town, and are available if he needs them, but so far, he’s totally on top of it all. Nice parenting. Great guy.

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