Starting our own adventures in homesteading has been the fulfillment of years of dreaming and planning for both my husband and myself. Walking out our back door, we see the carefully planned garden beds, hear the gentle cluck of the chickens, smell just a bit of that earthy goat smell, and know that we are immersed in the life we want. For us, the only thing better than the joy of homesteading, has been sharing this experience with our children.
On the practical side, my three little ones are actively involved in the day to day activities in our home: they collect eggs, weed, plant seeds, knead bread, clean out the goat shed, and participate in all the other little tasks that take up our days. Each night and morning when Dave or I head out the door for our chores, we are inevitably trailed by at least one helper. As much as these tasks teach our children responsibility, hard work, and compassion, the hardest lesson to learn is for us big people. When we farm with children, we learn to slow down ourselves and to see things not as a list of stuff to do, but as a rhythm that takes us through our days. With little helpers, you can't feed the chickens without pausing to touch their glistening feathers, you can't get the water without marveling in the fact that you can turn the faucet by yourself and not spill a drop, and you can't simply walk to and from the pasture without stopping 10 times to see a bug, or a cloud, or a toy car that was dropped yesterday.
Children have the miraculous ability to see beauty in the present. By giving them a chance to interact with the world around them on a daily basis through homesteading, we help deepen their connection, not only with nature, but with the people we share it with. Homesteading with children has given me the chance to slow down and remember why we garden and keep chickens and bake our own bread (even if it does take twice as long to get it done).
I shared at Wicked Good Wednesday, Country Kids