How are you guys? Welcome back to Simple Home City Life podcast, I am Ann and today we’re going to talk about raising homesteading kids.
Raising Homesteading Kids
Now there are two types of children to raise on the homestead, and we’re going to talk about that. But more importantly, I’m going to talk about the latter of the two because that’s how I’m raising my children. And I know through the years of having a social media account that they are. There are many people who are in the same boat that I am.
However, I want to give you a few stories of people who grew up on the homestead, and that is child type number one. The people who grew up on the homestead and what they can tell us about their experience during this time. So sit tight. We’re going to talk about raising homesteading kids.
Types of Homestead Kids
So as I mentioned, there are two types of children on the homestead. The first type are basically the ones that are born on the property or have come to the property without having any other memories of any other life. They open their eyes. They go out there raising livestock, climbing on hay bales and working in the garden with you, and even helping to preserve foods- that is type one.
And I’m going to just really address type one really quick. These children are blessed beyond belief to be able to live the lives that they live, knowing no other life.
So before we get into this further, let me tell you type two. Type two are the children that have been brought onto the property based on a dream that their parents have.
These are my children now. My older children have never homesteaded, and have never even had the value of homesteading. They do visit the property. They have helped out here and there on the property. But right now it’s not in their mindset that this is something that they want to do. They enjoy eating the foods that we sow and raise. However, they don’t really want to live it and I don’t push them. I don’t question them, but I organically teach my older children what they’re eating, where it came from, how it was grown, how it was raised, and what that season’s crops look like.
If they take anything from the canning pantry. I tell them where it comes from. We raise this on the property or it turned around and we got it from this farmer at that location there so they can actually find that farmer leader.
Will They Stay on the Homestead?
Now let’s talk about what we’re going to do with our younger children on the homestead. Remember that type one child that I was telling you about, the one that was actually grown and raised here? There are sometimes a handful of those children that will turn around and leave and not want to have anything to do with the property right now. They want to go travel and explore the world, go to university and do what they’re going to do.
Now there are some type one children that will actually stay. They’ll go to college, but then they’ll come home immediately and they’ll want to return to the homestead or start their own homestead or farm or whatever they want to do and have something like that.
I have a friend named Katie and she’s got four children. Out of her four children, I ask her all the time who’s going to stay, who’s going to stay and run the farm? And she’ll tell me there are only two of her children that potentially could do this. She believes that the rest of them will go out and discover themselves and what they’re going to do elsewhere.
You know, it’s not going to happen to my children, probably. But I will tell you the adult people that I talked to that actually grew up homesteading, that chose to leave and go start their life in town or in the city or whatever the case is, and they end up staying there for years and years and years. They always have the yearning to return back to homesteading or farming, and if they don’t, they are still on my page. They don’t homestead, but they still come to my page and they talk about the memories of the life they once lived.
So type A child, the one that’s actually born on the property never leaves the property. Not physically in a sense, but emotionally. And that is so necessary to whether or not your children stay because those children who did leave the property and never were able to return, they still have the concept of what was maintained and achieved during the time that they resided there, meaning the accountability aspect of working hard and doing chores and pitching into the type of food that they’re going to consume as adults. So that is commending to these children.
I mean, we want to continue to say, you know, whether you choose to be here or not, you will forever have these memories. And I gave you those memories, so keep them and hold on to them strong. And if you return home, great, if you don’t take them with you in the life that you’re about to live, that’s for the type one child. When we first started homesteading, I really thought my children were going to be like the children of type one, the ones that just have this joy and fun knowing no other way, but I was wrong. And the reason why I was wrong was because we pretty much lived 15 minutes from town.
You know, the homes, the townhouses are 100, you know, a million dollar townhouses and they’re driving around in 70 thousand cars. And my children go to a really good school with these other children, and they when we first moved here, they love the life they were playing with the chickens.
They were in the garden all the time. They were romping around all the time. And then as they got older in middle school, and in high school, I discovered that they wanted to be more like their friends, and granted, that tends to happen.
The friends always have something more than they do. So, you know, having the type two child that’s brought into it, it’s not everything we think it’s going to be.
Most Important Points to Teach Homestead Kids
Some of our children embrace it and love it. I have a set of friends in Tennessee that brought their boys along, and they are loving the lifestyle and they’re in their teens now. But, you know, some of them don’t, you know, and we’re going to talk about what the type two child, the one that was brought into this life. What do I do to raise them, to hold them accountable for the lifestyle that we live?
1. Why Do We Homestead?
There’s one teaching that I never strayed from my children, and it’s this I always want them to know why we’re homesteading and why we’re doing what we’re doing, and you know, to them it means nothing today, but I know that it will mean something to them in the future. And as I explain to them why we’re doing, what we’re doing is, is because number one, we have got to be accountable for our footprints left behind. Meaning that if I cannot change the world and demand a better food source, then my children are going to be left with a poor food source.
And I don’t ever want that for them. I want them to be able to consume foods that are going to keep them healthy and understand that if they’re not, well, what foods are going to get them there? Or maybe why they’re not? Well, if they’re consuming a lot of junk, then we know that that’s not going to teach them well and keep them healthy. And I want them to truly understand the concept behind that.
I want them to know where their food comes from. I want them to understand the traditional values of how food reaches your table. And it’s not on a Styrofoam little container with Saran wrap around it. It is from basically farm to table, and that’s how it is. That’s the reality of it.
I want them to know that instead of going to the market to grab something that they have to find a local farmer if they’re not going to do it themselves and put a better food source on their table. And it’s important to me that they respect that and respect those individuals and continue to keep that momentum that we’re teaching them forward. And mind you, they may never raise their own meat animals. They may have a small garden. But because they don’t have their own meat animals, they need to respect the ones that actually can raise the meat and help them put it on their table.
2. The Importance of Homestead and Household Chores
The second thing to teaching children accountability is basically chores, and that consists of household chores as well as property chores. My children must do a chore Monday through Friday every single day, and we do give them a dollar. Now, mind you, they’re 13 and 16, and a dollar doesn’t go very far, but a dollar adds up to 20 dollars a day.
So if they want to hang out with friends, that’s what they have. And then if they work the property with us, we do pay them to work the property with us as well, too, because what we give them is kind of labor intensive. And just like anybody, if I was to hire anybody, I’m going to pay them so I would pay my children to do that.
Now some of you guys may be frowning, saying it’s part of the family tradition that there should help out. However, I am a firm believer that if you work, you get paid for it and you know, they do get paid in regards to the food that they consume and the place that they have to live. But, you know, I’m one of those. You work, and you get paid. I work. I get paid. Justin works. He gets paid. So my treat tends to treat my children in the same way so my children do a household chore. It’s either dishes every single day or vacuuming the house and sweeping the house and getting the bathroom cleaned every single day.
They’re also responsible for doing their own laundry, washing, folding, and putting away. And then on top of that, they are responsible for making sure that they cook at least once a week. I used to make them do it twice a week, but because school went basically online for them, it turned into a once-a-week thing because the patterns and the routines were really difficult and once a week is good now their meals can consist of anything that they want it to.
So if I don’t have it on the property, they do go and buy it just and I. When we cook, we use everything from the property as much as we possibly can. And then from there, if we run short on it, it’s purchased from the market. But I also teach them what to look for if it’s going to be purchased from the market now.
Mind you, we don’t buy meat in the market, but what they look for in produce is how to search for the best produce and what they’re going to select. Are they going to really eat it? Do they need that much or are they going to minimize it? Do they just want it for the meal? So things like that and you know, I also count four, if you’re going to have it for leftovers, did you buy enough of that to have for leftovers?
So those are the things that we teach them the chores around the property, in the house and by paying them, it teaches them the accountability of having the money to go out and spend if they go out with their friends.
3. How to Manage Money
I don’t needlessly hand my children money. If they go out and hang out with friends, they have to earn every single penny that they have to go and do that. So if they blow it all in one time and they don’t have any money to hang out with friends the rest of the month, it’s gone or they have to work and maintain it and achieve it again. I mean, then they can have something to spend with their friends.
I believe in teaching my children to work hard, and when I say that if their chore isn’t done properly, they either go back and redo it or they don’t get paid for that day. And you know, some people would consider that strict. Some people would consider that just inappropriate. But the concept is, is that when you step up to do something, you do it well all the time that something is not given to you.
Nobody is going to enable you to be this type of person. You choose to be this type of person. And if you choose to be lazy in doing your work and your work is a chore or a property job or whatever the case is, then you kind of develop those habits and routines as an adult.
And that’s not what I want for my children. I want my children to truly understand the concept of working hard in order to be successful. And you know, a lot of us do it through 4-H, and a lot of us do it through property chores and responsibilities or in their space and in their home and whatnot. But the concept of working hard is almost lost in today’s world because there are so many desk jobs out there.
The concept of a blue-collar worker is almost foreign across our country, so we want to get them back out there to understand that blue-collar work, whether or not it’s, you know, working on the property and digging ditches with Justin or whatever the case is, is strong, backbreaking work. And that is how you become accountable for your actions in order to be accountable, to get paid.
And you know, I keep talking about paying my children, and I want you to understand that it’s not a bribe in any way, shape, or form. It’s accountability for the actions that they’re doing. And I’m raising teens now. If it was a form of a younger child, I’m structuring them to move forward with something else. But because my children are older in the 13 and 16-year-old Mark, I want them to understand that they want something and they want money. They have to work for the money that they have.
4. Life Skills On and Off the Homestead
We joke around often about the zombie apocalypse around here, and it’s a topic in our house almost that every single, every single dinner, and it’s a joke, whether it’s a cute 30-second topic or just a quick, you know, 15, 30-minute topic. It’s something we joke around about and you know, we tell them all the time, Can you really survive the zombie apocalypse?
I don’t think you can Maile and or Giovanni or Lola, and it’s one of those things that we talk about. And, you know, while you know, Lola will say, Well, you can’t because you made this dinner and you had to go buy those noodles when you should be making those noodles at home. And you know, the bantering will continue back and forth between everybody else or not.
Or, you know, Lola’s the sharpshooter and she would be stationed on top of the roof, sharp-shooting zombies or whatever the case is. And Maile can cook. She can cook just about anything and take any cut of anything and transform it into an excellent dish. And she’s also a teacher, so she could be the teacher of the property. But what I’m teaching my children, and I think that as a homesteading parent for yourself or for myself is that this is what we want to teach our children- life skills. And, you know, the stems back into point two and point three about doing chores around the property and the home and working and earning money.
So teaching them the life skills of everything is great. Now, Lola used to have this dream of being, you know, agriculture science and agricultural engineer and things like that. And you know, these were her goals. She is an honor student and in the gifted program. But her goals were this from like young age of eight through, I think, 11. And recently she’s decided that she’s thinking that she still wants to do something in agriculture, but she’s not quite sure what yet. Her schools of choice has changed. You know, this is a 13-year-old kid who already has picked out her college like six times.
So teaching them the life skills will be able to guide them into something else, Giovanni. Oh goodness, no, this boy. This boy will have memories of this life, but he will never live this life, and that’s all I can give them. As long as I can give them that aspect of having such incredible memories to the point where to this day, you can hear my children say. You can go visit Maggie and Granddaddy, you know, and make these memories, and that’s what I’m doing with my grandchildren, you know, Jared doesn’t live on the property, nor does he want to have the lifestyle that I live. But I’m passing on these memories to my granddaughter and hopefully my future grandchildren, and that they will understand it, feel it, have compassion about the animals and the land that we’re raising, but know why we’re raising them and then bring them back to their own home.
So I have hope in some of my grandchildren and my children. It’s just knowing that these are the life skills that they see every single day. If a tree falls on the property, we’ve got to remove the tree. If I need space for the goats, I’ve got to go out there and work that space. I got to muck every spring, a deep litter method out of my coop. So those are the things that I want them to learn and to understand and to appreciate out of life.
Before I get to point five, I just want to recap real quick, so the first point, if you are raising children, the first value that we’re going to teach them is why do we homestead? Why do we do the things that we do? What is necessary to this lifestyle that we live? If it’s food freedom, if it’s raising humanely raised meat, if it’s just getting away, clearing the land, working the land, if it’s just to live simply and to appreciate traditional values in life, whatever it is, teach your children those values and be repetitive. Be a broken record. Continually repeat it and just put it in their head every single aspect and chance that you have.
Point two accountability. Give them chores. Give them property chores. Give them house chores as soon as they can. Teach them how to cook. Those are the things that they’re going to move and take forward with them at some point in their life. I look at Giovani sometimes, and I wonder if he’ll ever take these things with them. But in the end, I have faith that he will. To some degree or another, and if he takes 10 out of the 20 things that I teach him, that to me is still successful. So give them the responsibility to do chores inside and outside and also teach them how to cook.
Point number three is to teach him how to work hard and earn money. Do not give them. And this is I don’t have to really even say this. Do not give them money just to give them money, have them earn the money that they have. Yes, we’re in the property, and working and doing chores is part of a family unit. And I get that.
But I never want to hand my children a twenty dollar bill and go here just because unless it is for a birthday or a holiday or something like that, but any other day of the week hanging out with friends, going to a movie or whatever the case is, they have to earn their spending money and they are not old enough to work in Washington state yet. So if they want money to go out and do something, they’ve got to earn their money and there is no shame in having your children do that.
And point four is life skills. You’re teaching them life skills you guys earn, you know, for them to earn the skills, they have to practice these skills, right? And it’s going to teach them the value of moving forward and doing something for it. Miley is twenty-three, going to be twenty-four years old. She moved back in when she decided to go back to college and further her degree, and she does work full-time as a teacher. But there are things that she has learned since she moved back home with us and our journey to homesteading, and it’s this.
5. Live Intentionally to Reduce Your Footprint
Everything we do is done with intention. Everything we do is done with the purpose. Everything we do is to minimize our footprints being left behind. So yes, you are giving them life skills by teaching them the little things that they’re doing, whether they’re mirroring them with you or watching you do them. It’s to teach them how to work hard all the time because they will always remember how hard their parents work. Always. You heard me talk a little bit about minimizing our footprints being left behind and let me show you what that looks like in our family. Ok?
You know, here are the basics we all do this… table scraps go to the pig and the chickens. You know, we try not to waste. If we have leftovers, we eat it right away. We freeze it for later. You know, we do not buy things that are frugal. We buy things that are of intention. But here’s how I teach my children how to minimize their footprints left behind.
We do not use paper products. So for example, what I do on occasion, if I’m having a whole bunch of people, I will whip out the paper plates that are compostable. However, we use glass. We use linen napkins. We only have a certain amount of towels designated to us, meaning that the kids have two towels each for the week and they have to wash their towels or else they don’t have another towel.
And then on top of that, I encourage them to buy items from the thrift store first before they go and buy something that’s full price. That is the key to the lifestyle that we live. Ok, so when I say that is, is that you know, at first, you know, I was. I was never ashamed to shop from their store because I love their story, restoring thrifting, I should say, but you never know how your children are going to react. My children have no hesitation, no hesitation at all in going to a thrift store and buying something. And if they don’t see something that they want or they really saw something like at Target or online somewhere.
And if they have the money, they are more than welcome to buy it. Now, if we go to the thrift store and they actually need pants or shirts or sweaters or sweatshirts or whatever the case is, I buy that for them. But they only have a certain budget in order to do so. And it’s not because I’m being cheap, it’s because I don’t necessarily think my children need 20 pairs of pants. Sorry, I don’t.
So I teach them that if they have 10 pairs of pants and they need 10 more because they outgrew them or they tour or whatever the case is, I’d be happy to buy it for them. But if they want five more pairs, they better have the money to pay for it upfront. In that sense, we buy furniture from the thrift store, we buy all of our dishes and our silverware from the thrift store. So in a sense, I’m teaching them to minimize that footprint.
I encourage them to make soap instead of us buying soap and by minimizing paper products other than toilet paper. They understand that linen napkins can get washed in when they’re at a point where they’re not being able to use them. Then we switch off to rags for as long as we potentially can. So teaching them the simple skills of minimizing your footprint is a huge homesteading trait that we should all have, right? And that includes raising livestock.
Raise Livestock Intentionally
I am not a pet sanctuary. I don’t raise pets. I raise livestock intentionally knowing what I’m bringing onto my property, how to utilize it, and whether or not we’re going to use it for meat purposes or production purposes or clearing the property, or whatever the case is.
That is another form of minimizing your footprints left behind and just being able to know what you’re doing and being intentional in that is also the form of minimizing your footprints being left behind. Do I wish that I had birthed my children onto the homestead and raised them here from birth until they left for college? Absolutely. Absolutely. Without a doubt, especially knowing what I know now about the lifestyle that we live.
However, I do believe that God has a plan for everything and that he knew our plan in life from the moment that we were born, and that includes our children as well, too. Will my children continue to homestead after this? I don’t know. I do know that they have plans to go about and live their own life.
Do I hope that they return to this lifestyle? You know, after they’ve sowed their oats and gone to college and whatnot? Yes. Yes. Oh my gosh. Yes, of course, I do. Do I know that they will? I don’t know. No, I don’t. But the one thing that I am going to teach them as children who entered this lifestyle later on with us is the five points.
The first point is why is it necessary to live a traditional, sustainable, homesteading life. The second point is being responsible for household work and property work and cooking as a whole and teaching them from the moment that they can do so. The other point three is to work hard and earn the money that they have, and we do pay for chores and property chores. And some may not agree with that, but I’m teaching them the form of money by doing so. Point four is to learn life skills. Yes, life skills. Absolutely. These are life skills, whether or not it’s mucking a barn or working in the garden or cooking dinner or keeping the house, or setting up an electric fence that is a life skill. And then number five to be able to learn how to minimize their footprints being left behind and to live traditionally and as simply as possible.
Does this method work for everybody? No, it’s not. Especially some of you guys are going to have. It’s a hard pill for some of you guys to swallow that I pay my children to do chores and I pay my children to do property, jobs, and things like that. But each its own, you know, I’m teaching them the value of money and doing so at the same time. You know, maybe one day Lulu will have her own homestead, or Giovanni will have their own homestead and they will raise their children like that.
But you know, I can’t wish it. I can wish it, but I can’t demand it. And so, you know, these are the things that we learn in life, and I hope that you could take those five things that I told you and really think about how you can break it down for your children and how you can make it for your children. You know, giving them memories of the lifestyle that we live is enough, but giving them the skills to succeed in life and this lifestyle is skills. So however you choose to do it. I just wanted to share with you guys how we do it here, and maybe you picked up one or two things from this, but we’re kind of tough parents. We really are. We have fun with their children, but we are tough and we expect a lot from them in regard to ownership. Ownership is key to being successful in life, and that even includes ownership in regard to your emotions and how you project them. So that’s it. That’s how we raise our children on our homestead. And like I said, take from the list of five that you will. If not, then, you know, get back to me and let me know what you do. All right, you guys, I’ll talk to you next time. Have a great day.