We’ve always tried to grow some of our own food, for both health and financial reasons.
It wasn’t until later that we realized it was a wonderful educational opportunity as well, perfect for our homeschooling family. We learn about plants and animals, bugs and diseases, and soil. What’s more, we learn how they are all inter-related. We learn basic skills that are being lost by so many in our culture. And, just as importantly, we understand, in a small way, what has kept most of mankind busy through the centuries: acquiring food. Farming. Foraging. Hunting. What a window into other cultures and history!
Pulling weeds, I discovered that food production teaches spiritual lessons, too. Jesus often talked about weeds, seeds, and soil. If you’ve ever traced thick tangles of long, long quack-grass roots, you’ve seen a shocking portrayal of sin; it can be growing and spreading under the soil without any surface evidence, and then erupt in all its hideousness. If you’ve ever left tiny weeds too long, you understand the importance of fighting sins when they just begin. So much of the Old Testament, too, involves life on the land, and the prophecies are full of related imagery.
For all these reasons, and more, our interest in growing our own food has continued and increased. Now, besides a huge vegetable garden we also have a small orchard, bees, and chickens. The ducks are pets, but the dogs’ job is to keep deer, coyotes, and foxes away. Loving fuzzy little animals, the children are pleading for rabbits, or a pig, or miniature goats. My husband even mentioned miniature cows for milk! Obviously, we have some decisions to make!
It’s no wonder, then, that we’re attracted to books and DVD’s about farming, especially the old fashioned kind that resembles our own simple, low-budget endeavors.
We absolutely love Katherine’s Farm, the beautiful story of a year on a small Manitoba farm told from a young girl’s point of view.
To see how pioneers farmed, we enjoy the DVD Summer on Ross Farm, about 19th century life in the Maritimes. We also love to visit Upper Canada Village, a working farming community museum portraying the 1860’s.
All winter long, we’ve ‘visited’ an early 1900’s farm in Devon, England, for an hour a week. Edwardian Farm was originally a BBC TV series, but is now available on YouTube. It’s full of beautiful photography, fun, humor, and learning. We’ve fast-forwarded a few scenes such as those involving spiritualism, and a few times Christianity was mocked, but on the whole this is a wonderful series.
We’ve also discovered Joel Salatin, a Christian natural farmer and writer who homeschooled his children. You Can Farm is a fascinating but realistic book about farming, business, and lifestyle. Currently my husband, Miss 14, and I are enjoying Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World. Mr. 16 read it as soon as it entered our home and loved it. I’m thinking of reviewing both of these books for you, sometime.
And so we happily keep on learning.
- Are we going to move to a farm and become farmers? No.
- Are we going to continue producing some of our own food? Yes. In fact, I have mung beans sprouting in our cupboard right now.
- Do we plan to keep on learning about agriculture throughout the world and in history? Absolutely, because it grounds us in real life, because it may help us in our own food production, and because it is so wonderfully rewarding.
These are the kinds of resources I would recommend for your homeschool’s science and math learning.
Disclosure: As usual, I am not compensated for my posts nor for mentioning the resources above, some of which I’ve reviewed.