So here’s the thing: I love homeschool curricula, the way I love wine and chocolate and crisp new office supplies! But sometimes you have to say goodbye.
I was super excited about the open-and-go curriculum that we started off with this year for my 9 year old son D. It offered step by step daily lesson plans in a Waldorf-inspired way, including math. With how busy we’ve been, it seemed like the perfect solution. It’s beautiful, well ordered, creative, and full of great stories.
However, after a month or so we discovered one major flaw: D,9 hated it. He resented the time spent indoors when he could be outside with the animals and running around. He balked at every attempt to introduce a daily rhythm that included these lessons! It became clear almost immediately that we had to part ways.
Instead, we created our own Farmschooling: homeschool lesson plans that apply to real life.
Instead of reading about building animal housing and making models, D9 is designing the new one that we’ll be building as soon as the ground thaws. He’s calculating area needed per animal, learning about permits and municipal by-laws, and figuring out what lumber will be needed.
D is starting his own flock of poultry. He’s figuring out how many day-old chicks he can buy within a set budget, reading about proper care, and researching ways to keep them safe.
Science is covered by learning the anatomy of each animal in our collection. Animal husbandry is a day to day reality here, and D has learned how to calculate medicine by weight and how to give injections to the lambs that K24 is raising, most of whom were seriously ill when he got them from another farm at a few days old. Our local vets are fantastic and willing to answer endless questions when they have time!
Solar power is another topic D is covering pretty heavily. Our electricity doesn’t extend as far as the barn area, and we wouldn’t want it to since our eventual aim is to be off-grid. As a result, learning about different types of natural energy, seeing how other farms in the area have solved their power challenges, and installing solar lights are part of D’s “lessons” this year. We also have an amazing wind generator kit sent to us by Pitsco Education, which D will work on with his 16 and 24 year old siblings.
D is keeping a daily farm journal full of his thoughts, nature drawings, and photos of what he’s observing.
These are just a fraction of the ideas that we’ve had.
If this sounds like it’s too good to be true…..it really isn’t! It’s been an amazing year so far! We do hit snags, but they’re easily handled. For example, what about when D hits upon a calculation he needs to do but hasn’t learned yet? Well, then I show him, often by finding a video explanation on YouTube together, and then he tries a few examples himself until he’s confident that he can work it correctly. I have insisted that he do a daily Teaching Textbooks lesson also, to keep him on top of things, but the bulk of his learning is hands-on.
If this sounds like something your children might enjoy, my bloggy friend Erin Vincent and I have put together a PDF book with part one of the lessons (this book, Book 1, is all about small ruminants!). For those of you living in cities, never fear – we have provided the information you’ll need for your children to be able to use this as living math and living learning on a smaller scale! You’ll find that learning flows from subject to subject for you organically because your children are learning and having fun with something that they find interesting.
We’ve even given you living books, non-fiction suggestions, poetry and writing ideas and more. And of course, if you’re ever in Northern Ontario please look my family up and see it in action 😉
You can purchase the Farmschooling Book 1 lessons in my e-store above for $14.99, which gives you enough for months of learning and hands-on exploration! You might want to sign up for email updates too (in the sidebar on your right) because I’ll be offering the occasional printable freebie and bonus lesson as well as showing you some of these farm lesson plans in action!
Also, we’ll be telling you more about Book 2 with fluffy chicks and egg fun which will be coming in the next week or two (depending on the rest of lambing season), also co-written with Erin Vincent.
I’m a proud iHomeschool Network member, and I’m sharing this post as part of the Homeschooling: What’s Changed This Year link-up. Click the image below to see what changes other members have made in their own homeschools this year!