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Old 03-04-2012, 06:35 AM   #1
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Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

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So, I've been lurking for a while on this forum. I'm a city slicker. A real, 1100 sq ft condo, next to the metro, walk to the grocery store, kind of city girl. But, oh, how I long to raise my little girl where she can run free.



Anyway, DH and I have a great opportunity to consolidate with my parents, by each selling our homes and buying one big place, on a couple of acres, out past the burbs. The area we're looking in is only 10 minutes to the train, so DH's commute actually won't be much longer than it is now. Grandad's commute will be the same until he retires in 5 years. Grandmother will help with DD, as I will still WAH PT. (Great arrangement, since I'm an only child and I've got to be around to help the grands as they get older anyway - win win.).

We would like to have a BIG garden, some fruit trees, and maybe chickens depending on exactly how much land we end up with. (I'd love rabbits and goats, but there's no way we'll have enough land). Realistically, we will have at least 1 acre, possibly as many as 4. Now, I did work on a commercial farm for two years before college, and I was an assistant grower at a large garden center, so I'm not completely clueless as to the hard work of large scale gardening. It's just never been my own land, to feed my own family.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with this post. All that was to ask: what does your day look like? How do you tend a big garden, animals, and homeschool? If you wouldn't mind, give me a look into a typical day: what you do and when, what the kids are doing, etc. What exactly am I getting myself into? Any advice as we start looking for our "consolidation homestead"?

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Old 03-04-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

My oldest son is 4, but will turn 5 this summer. I'll be starting My Father's World (homeschooling curriculum) this fall with him. I've got a 3 yo,1 yo, and 4 mos. old as well... I'll be interested in how it fits in with our lives. Since it's only kinder it's pretty laid back and not work intense (from what I've heard) so it should fit in okay with canning and whatnot. We only want to school 4 days a week and so that leaves 3 days for more intense canning sessions. haha. Last year I did a lot of garden work early in the morning or after I put the kids to bed (at 7:30pm... nice and early) and then I did work when the kids were outside playing and they "helped" me as well. My husband milks our milkcow (though I'm trying to convince him to let me take over one milking) and does the farm work (we have a 465 acre farm) because I've been having babies for the past 4 years.

I think your husband has to be on board with whatever you are doing because when you're also busy having babies, having his support/helping hand makes all the difference. Last year, my husband pitched in/helped out so much after I, unexpectedly, got an umbilical hernia while 8 mos. pregnant with #4! He picked many green beans/grapes and did a lot of chores because I had so much pain with it. If he had NOT been happy with my workload or gardening in the first place, then that would have made him having to help out all the worse. So make sure, you have his blessing in whatever venture you start.

Also, some thing I'm learning is that there is a season in our lives for things and to keep that in mind. Right now my kids are so physically demanding and I'm in the midst of babies/tot/preschoolers/pregnancies and how I envision things in my head are not usually how things look in reality. I see some farms look so picturesque and perfect, then I come home and see yard toys strewn everywhere, gardens needing weeding, flowers dying, and I can easily become upset. Or I sometimes get bummed I can't be more help on the farm. Then I realize that in 10 years, my gardens might be perfect, I may finally get to take over milking/shearing sheep, my yard may be beautifully landscaped; but then I'll miss these times right now! So anyway, don't put too much on your plate right now and let things happen at a pace that benefits you/your baby/hubby because they are your priority for this season.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

I plan to somewhat home school any preschoolers we get, b/c there aren't any close preschools to us. I don't have the patience to home school my son. I give huge props to his teachers.

Right now, though, I get up, get a cup of coffee, and once the sun starts coming up I set off doing my animal chores. I get the ducklings out of the pen and either let them take a bath in the tub, or I put them outside in the tractor if it is warm enough. Then I feed the ducks, then go collect any eggs we have, then feed the chickens. After that I get DS up (he is deaf in his right ear and of course sleeps on his good ear so he doesn't hear his alarm) and get him started getting ready for school, and I'll probably start a load of diapers at that point. I make sure DS feeds the outside cats and the dog. We don't have a garden yet (plan to put one in this spring) but I imagine once I do I will tend to it in the morning after feeding the chickens when it isn't so hot out.

I'm sure we'll fit home schooling in throughout the day whenever we have a chance. I wash dishtowels, sheets, or whatever else sometime during the day. At 3:10 I drive to the end of the road to pick up DS and the neighbor girl, take her home, then come home. Give kids snack, then I usually do dishes. DH gets out of work at 4:30, and it takes him around 45 min to get home, depending on if he stops by the store or something after work. I cook dinner around 6pm. I usually do a load of laundry or two after dinner. DS gets ready for bed between 9 and 9:30, then goes to bed at 10. DH and I then take a shower after DS goes to bed, and we go to bed around 11pm.

That's our day!
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:15 AM   #4
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

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Originally Posted by raisingcropsandbabies View Post

Also, some thing I'm learning is that there is a season in our lives for things and to keep that in mind. Right now my kids are so physically demanding and I'm in the midst of babies/tot/preschoolers/pregnancies and how I envision things in my head are not usually how things look in reality. I see some farms look so picturesque and perfect, then I come home and see yard toys strewn everywhere, gardens needing weeding, flowers dying, and I can easily become upset. Or I sometimes get bummed I can't be more help on the farm. Then I realize that in 10 years, my gardens might be perfect, I may finally get to take over milking/shearing sheep, my yard may be beautifully landscaped; but then I'll miss these times right now! So anyway, don't put too much on your plate right now and let things happen at a pace that benefits you/your baby/hubby because they are your priority for this season.
I think this is such brilliant advice - totally applies to a LOT of situations.

Mostly I'm in the thread to hear what people say...

But this is what I'm planning on doing. We're not on our homestead yet, we're not homeschooling yet. I will have to work at LEAST part time, hopefully almost entirely at home. I also will have my mother living on our property (we're building her a mini-house). So I'm planning on trying to delegate and get a schedule going where the kids can be with daddy and grandma frequently while I"m working. I'm actually hoping to give Daddy science, grandma art, that kind of thing. My DH is on board, and we're actually hoping to create a business for him so he can be at home some if not all of the time... which I think would make it easier (flexible schedule, etc) I really feel like it's do-able - and I strongly believe in co-parenting/village parenting. So I don't know... I feel like it's completely do-able - and partly WHY we're going to homestead is why we're thinkning of homeschooling. We want ot really enjoy being a FAMILY and have a life that's built upon our family, and our land...

but
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:25 PM   #5
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

We have 16 acres but a lot of that is woods or lowlands(swampy). I garden and have a good sized plot and we have chickens only during the summer to assist with pest control. But that means that I also have to fence in the garden. Any rabbits sure we shoot (wild ones of course they make a great stew) them so far the dog hasn't been able to catch any. We have the land that we could get a sheep or a small cow but at this point fencing not high on our priorities. Our neighbor has fenced in a portion of our land as he keeps his horses on it.

We have tried to get fruit trees to take but we have difficulty getting to stay alive long enough to produce. Right now we have 1 apple and 1 pear (actually 2 pear if you count that the one is only alive under the graft), neighbors are close enough with apple trees that its pollinated. The blooms on the pear tree last year were so beautiful its a pity that the other one never bloomed. I'd like to get a few nut trees going as well, hopefully we'll have better luck with them. Our tree planting has been touch and go, certain maples have done well(sugar) others brands (Deborah and red) not at all.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

We homestead and homeschool. My oldest is quite a bit older than yours at 11, so this probably won't be helpful for the near future, but more to offer hope of what can be. I totally agree with PP on having DH's full support. We are blessed in that my DH works 2-24hr shifts a week, so he is home more than not. We raise chickens, pigs and now keets (guinea hens) as well as have a pretty good size garden and we have 2 cats and a dog. We also joined a CSA on a workshare, so my DH and 2 boys (11, 6.5) go once a week for 2 to 3 hours and work there. My boys, primarily, care for the animals in the morning and evening. Animal chores (watering, feeding and letting out/in and gather eggs) shouldn't take any more than 30 mins to complete. We all care for the garden at different times of the day as needed. I am more of an evening gardener, so it is usually DH who does any of the daytime, in the heat gardening and often has willing helpers! We homeschool during the day 4 days a week and we school all year round taking breaks as we want/need to. It works out quite nicely for us.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

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Originally Posted by raisingcropsandbabies View Post
My oldest son is 4, but will turn 5 this summer. I'll be starting My Father's World (homeschooling curriculum) this fall with him. I've got a 3 yo,1 yo, and 4 mos. old as well... I'll be interested in how it fits in with our lives. Since it's only kinder it's pretty laid back and not work intense (from what I've heard) so it should fit in okay with canning and whatnot. We only want to school 4 days a week and so that leaves 3 days for more intense canning sessions. haha. Last year I did a lot of garden work early in the morning or after I put the kids to bed (at 7:30pm... nice and early) and then I did work when the kids were outside playing and they "helped" me as well. My husband milks our milkcow (though I'm trying to convince him to let me take over one milking) and does the farm work (we have a 465 acre farm) because I've been having babies for the past 4 years.

I think your husband has to be on board with whatever you are doing because when you're also busy having babies, having his support/helping hand makes all the difference. Last year, my husband pitched in/helped out so much after I, unexpectedly, got an umbilical hernia while 8 mos. pregnant with #4! He picked many green beans/grapes and did a lot of chores because I had so much pain with it. If he had NOT been happy with my workload or gardening in the first place, then that would have made him having to help out all the worse. So make sure, you have his blessing in whatever venture you start.

Also, some thing I'm learning is that there is a season in our lives for things and to keep that in mind. Right now my kids are so physically demanding and I'm in the midst of babies/tot/preschoolers/pregnancies and how I envision things in my head are not usually how things look in reality. I see some farms look so picturesque and perfect, then I come home and see yard toys strewn everywhere, gardens needing weeding, flowers dying, and I can easily become upset. Or I sometimes get bummed I can't be more help on the farm. Then I realize that in 10 years, my gardens might be perfect, I may finally get to take over milking/shearing sheep, my yard may be beautifully landscaped; but then I'll miss these times right now! So anyway, don't put too much on your plate right now and let things happen at a pace that benefits you/your baby/hubby because they are your priority for this season.
I love the way you put that! I lurk on this thread as well. We bought a 15 acre farmstead and are moving out of town and I am super excited but also get a bit nervous about how I will handle my kids [currently 4, 3, 1, and soon-to-be-baby] as well as begin homeschooling [which is where I feel God leading us as a family] and animals/garden and balance it all.

I need to keep this advice in my mind.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #8
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

I'm lurking here as well. We're not anywhere close to buying anything resembling a homestead, but I would love to hear more play by play of how your days go. I hope we can get there one day!
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:14 AM   #9
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

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Originally Posted by North Dakota Mommy View Post
I love the way you put that! I lurk on this thread as well. We bought a 15 acre farmstead and are moving out of town and I am super excited but also get a bit nervous about how I will handle my kids [currently 4, 3, 1, and soon-to-be-baby] as well as begin homeschooling [which is where I feel God leading us as a family] and animals/garden and balance it all.

I need to keep this advice in my mind.
Congrats! Just don't go head first into a LOAD of projects right now. I see a trillion things I want to do and try, but know that I need to restrain myself and just pick 1 new thing at a time and see how it works out before putting another thing on my plate. 4 kids is so fun and you'll never get that time back so you don't want to be super stressed about other things during that time. Last year I wanted to do raise meat chickens, but thank GOODNESS my husband was wiser than I and said we needed to wait. #4's c-section was harder than anticipated and I was overdone enough as it was with what I had on my plate. I had to apologize to him because I nagged and badgered him about it, but he stood firm... Always trust the 6th generation farmer! haha. Lesson learned! Anyway, my youngest is now 8 mos. old and the other day, my husband said to order 35 meat chickies to raise. So the time has come and because it was his idea and I was respectful of that, I know he's on board whole-heartedly and that takes a weight off my shoulders! So that is my 1 new adventure for this year. Last year my new thing was learning how to can better and so that was great... I didn't do as much as I wanted, but I had to learn to give myself grace and know that this year I'd be able to accomplish more.

I think the balance changes constantly and different things take different priorities at times as far as the "extra". We started My Father's World Kindergarten 1 month ago (we are doing year round as it makes more sense for my son helping on the farm, the summer heat, etc). It's working out good and I'm glad we can take a break when we need to without worrying about falling behind. That will help with the balancing act as when it's busy season on the farm, we can lessen or stop school. So I hope it's a good fit for you as well!
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:40 PM   #10
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Re: Homesteading & Homeschooling Mamas

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Originally Posted by raisingcropsandbabies View Post
I think your husband has to be on board with whatever you are doing because when you're also busy having babies, having his support/helping hand makes all the difference. Last year, my husband pitched in/helped out so much after I, unexpectedly, got an umbilical hernia while 8 mos. pregnant with #4! He picked many green beans/grapes and did a lot of chores because I had so much pain with it. If he had NOT been happy with my workload or gardening in the first place, then that would have made him having to help out all the worse. So make sure, you have his blessing in whatever venture you start.

Also, some thing I'm learning is that there is a season in our lives for things and to keep that in mind. Right now my kids are so physically demanding and I'm in the midst of babies/tot/preschoolers/pregnancies and how I envision things in my head are not usually how things look in reality. I see some farms look so picturesque and perfect, then I come home and see yard toys strewn everywhere, gardens needing weeding, flowers dying, and I can easily become upset. Or I sometimes get bummed I can't be more help on the farm. Then I realize that in 10 years, my gardens might be perfect, I may finally get to take over milking/shearing sheep, my yard may be beautifully landscaped; but then I'll miss these times right now! So anyway, don't put too much on your plate right now and let things happen at a pace that benefits you/your baby/hubby because they are your priority for this season.
This is SO true. My youngest 2 (we have 5) are 10 months and 2 1/2 years old. They make it VERY difficult to get things done at times. I know for a fact there is no way we could have what we have (5 acres + additional 5 acres that was just purchased on the next lot over) without my DH being totally in to it and wanting to do it. He does definitely carry a heavier burden at times because of it.

Right now the goat's barn and chicken coops need to be cleaned (an all day adventure usually), the barn needs to be painted, we have more fencing to install, the garden is growing fabulously but the weeds are taking over, etc. There is always something to do and I'm usually behind on it I've learned that I can't do it all.

With that said, if you do want things like rabbits and goats, you likely could do that on very small acreage. We have about an acre fenced for 4 large breed dairy goats and about 30+ chickens. Goats don't need that much space to be happy.
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