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Is School Closed for Harvest?


So, here we are, almost a month and a half after beginning our school year.  How has it gone?  Well, we garden…and we understand intimately why pioneer schools were often rather empty during harvest season.

Between salsa making, picking squashes, canning applesauce, and more, we have had many fewer full school days than we wished.   Sure, we’ve done math, a lot of discretionary reading, and a lot of nature study, but only little bits of everything else.

Does it matter?  Well, what we have done has been stellar.  Miss 15, in particular, is shining in math as she puzzles her way through Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge papers from the past.  The girls have all improved enormously in understanding Dutch as we read aloud almost every day.  We’ve talked and worked together and gotten healthier.  We’ve listened to music and encouraged each other and laughed together.

On top of all that, there’s something to be said for hands-on activities like preserving the harvest.  Besides learning useful practical skills, developing character, and practicing team work, we are also immersing ourselves in a way of life that was standard not too long ago.  No, we do not use old-fashioned methods of food preserving, but we do preserve a lot of food.  We can relate to some of the activities of the Little House on the Prairie books or Catharine Parr Traill’s The Backwoods of Canada.  What’s more, we can understand, in some small way, their approach to life because we, too, have lived by the seasons, weighed the risk of frost, and worked until we were ready to drop.  One could call it a unit study, but it has been more of a life study.

We may not have done all the bookwork we had hoped to do, but we are very thankful for a great beginning to our school year.  May God bless all the learning that’s happening in our home and in yours.

Add your link about high school at your home so far this year.  This is a blog hop, and if you wish, you can use this linky code to have all the posts displayed on your blog post as well.  This post is also linked to Homeschool High and Encourage One Another Wednesday.


  1. Laraba says:

    Wow, that picture is amazing!! You have harvested a LOT. So how much of the food you consume do you grow, do you think? That is incredibly impressive.

    We have 5 acres but a relatively small garden compared to yours (50 feet by 20 feet). I know we could grow so much more if we put our minds to it, but my dh works full time and I’m not ready right now to take on a huge garden. Actually, I don’t like gardening, unfortunately. I like the result, but not the gardening.

    Yes, splendid use of time, really! They are learning so much and you are spending time together as a family. It is a fabulous thing.

  2. JoAnn says:

    Sounds like you are getting a lot of life skills for sure. It will be great that your kids will take that with them into their adult life.

  3. Annie Kate says:

    I’ve never calculated how much of our food we grow ourselves. LOL In the late summer and fall we buy almost no vegetables or fruit, and we rarely buy eggs. We eat from our freezer and pantry year round, but in the winter and spring we also buy produce. Last year we bought no chicken because we grew our own. So I suppose it is a lot! 🙂

    We grow a lot of expensive things, like asparagus, raspberries, and organic apples, but I also try to make sure that I minimize the work load, both gardening and preserving. That’s the only way I can fit it in with all the homeschooling…and as this post shows, it is still always a challenge.

    For us gardening is a family and homeschool project and works well as both. When I had little ones like you do our garden was much smaller. But if you ever plan to expand it, now is the time to plant long term crops such as asparagus, raspberries, and fruit trees. It takes these a few years to begin to produce well.

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