Teaching Our Children Basic Life Skills

Florida betony tubers taste like radishes without the sting, and are found in other southern states as well as Florida.

Last week as I was recovering from a nasty flu, our children were outside playing and noticed a patch of Florida Betony growing across the lane.  They did the “natural” thing: got buckets and spades, and started digging.  Finding many ripe tubers, they brought them in and washed them thoroughly to use in salads.  The tasty tubers are crunchy like a radish, but without the sting, making a delicious addition to vegetable salads.

Of course this is NOT the “natural” thing for most children in our day.  We have so thoroughly lost the basic life skills that previous generations took for granted.  Our generation knows a lot about high tech stuff, but little about simple basics.  Today’s children are knowledgeable about video games, iPods, and social networking, but have little knowledge or skills necessary to be self-reliant, if they ever need to be.

There are numerous possibilities that could plunge us into a life with no electricity or electronics, temporarily or long-term.  An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), produced by either  an intense solar storm predicted by NASA or by an act of war or terrorism against our country, could wipe out the electrical grid we depend on so much.  Supervolcanoes, earthquakes, and other natural and man-made disasters are not out of the question.  Of course there are many varying opinions about the possibilities, and none of us enjoy doomsday prophecies.  But with the electrical system being as fragile as it is, wouldn’t it be wise to understand life without it?  If it collapses, so does transportation, communication, and food production and delivery.

We want our children to know how to think, work, and survive.  The more we learn the more we realize there is to learn; how ignorant our generation has become.  So if you visit us on a typical day in our home educating family, you are more likely to find us out digging in the ground than burying our heads in textbooks!  🙂

Children and Chores                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Who wants you and your children to be prepared…


Preparing Our children

Our youngest just turned five.

I often think about Hannah in the OT who left her son in the care of the temple high priest at around three to five years of age.  God had answered her prayer and blessed her with a son after many years of barrenness, and now she was keeping her promise and giving back to Him. 

The temple priests in that day were known for their immorality and wickedness.  How would you prepare your precious children to live like lambs among wolves if you knew ahead of time what was coming?  Evidently Hannah did her homework, because in spite of the wickedness around him, her little son Samuel grew up to be a very godly man whom God used as His voice to the Israelites for many years.

In Japan today many children are separated from their parents because of a natural disaster.  In Liberia, birthplace of two of our adopted daughters, lots of children lost their parents to war’s cruelties.  In the USA, families like ours (home-educating, conservative, Christians) are targets for activists who believe that parents shouldn’t have the final word about the upbringing and education of their children.

How do we prepare our children for the possibility of separation from us?  Would they stand true if surrounded by evil?  Even very young children understand Truth in their spirit well before their minds do.  It’s a spiritual battle, and prayer is a key weapon.

Our children are our most precious treasures...

We memorize key passages of Scripture that can stay with our children wherever they go.  If the creation account in Genesis is ingrained in them while they’re small, they are more likely to recognize the lies of evolution.  Very young children have a great capacity to memorize if something is repeated often (how else would they learn to speak?).  We always take a few minutes after breakfast, before bedtime, and other routine moments to recite Scripture with and to our children.

Separation from our children is one of the worst nightmares a parent can imagine.  Let’s pray that day never comes for any of us.  But if it should, let’s be “caught” prepared.  We’ll never regret it.

Surviving Peer Pressure

Children and Chores

Feeding Tess, our sweet old Arabian mare

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.

Gathering the eggs

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!  🙂

Milking Jody, our best registered milker

Surviving Peer Pressure

P.S.  Have you ever done a barn hop?  Click on the picture below to visit other homesteaders’ blogs.