It’s not rare at all for someone to say “…but how do you work, run a hobby farm, and homeschool?” The short answer: one thing takes priority at a time.
The slightly less short answer? Everything we do has rhythms and a season where it’s most important, and since we homestead and love growing and raising our own food, it’s fairly easy to just follow the seasonal ebbs and flows. (Ex: In early spring, we work on Maple Syrup, raise baby chicks for meat and eggs, and prep our garden area. In the fall, we focus on getting into a school rhythm before my busy photography season begins.)
The second part to this answer is that were not your typical ‘homeschoolers’ since we believe more in ‘life-schooling’ – living and working and giving of ourselves alongside our kids. They’re expected to finish chores first thing (before breakfast usually) including watering & feeding all the animals, cleaning their household zones, and helping with things like dishes & laundry. It doesn’t always go smoothly… in fact, there’s a lot of days where I have to walk alongside each of them (when I’d rather be getting my own chores done) as they do their tasks just to remind them that yes, they can do it! :) I must add – it helps that we make meals & privileges (like toys, snacks, activities, TV time) dependant upon whether their chores & dedicated table work are done.
I’ve mentioned before that we follow a Minimalistic homeschool curriculum, Lamp & Light. It’s my first year using it, and it’s helped organize what I was basically already doing, as well as provide tons of book suggestions, links, and handicraft ideas. Do I follow it completely? Not at all! I pick and choose what I want to do for each week based on how busy we are… i.e. how many animal chores & field trips we have that week. Every family is so different & unique — why try to mold to what someone else is doing? That’s the beauty of keeping your children home. You do what you feel is best for your family. The world doesn’t revolve around our children; instead we work as a team-unit and our end goal is always one simple thing: that our children would know Jesus and have a true relationship with Him, one that spills into every area of their life, so much so that it overflows into this world.
While other homeschool moms are well into their planning for the 2019/2020 school year, I’m still sitting back. Waiting to see what God reveals to me this summer. We have a few options… continue with Lamp + Light (very likely), enroll in Classical Conversations again, do some robotics/lego clubs, try a new sport or art class… but one thing is for sure: I want my kids to know that a little work never hurt.
Hard work gives us grit. It helps us see the world differently, gives us a boost of confidence in these amazing bodies God gave us. Hard work as a family gives your children roots — deep roots that hold them to their past, to all that is good and true, to our Creator. It ties and binds our family together. As Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (NASB)
I still have to remind myself sometimes to work heartily, as for the Lord, because life will get hectic, farm chores will overrun other areas of my life, and my attitude may suffer. But my hope is that my kids will see me ask Jesus for grace, dust myself off, and walk on…. that they’ll see me work cheerfully as I persevere.