Sunday, July 20, 2014

What do my daughters know?

I'm planning the new school year.  I thought I had it all planned out.  It looked good on paper, but I just didn't feel at peace about my plan.  Have you ever been there?

I prayed about it.  Prayed a lot.  And I still didn't feel comfortable with my very good school plan.  Then the Lord brought to my remembrance a curriculum that I used four years ago with my oldest (and the younger ones as they were able).  It is called Prepare and Pray, and it teaches many survival and homesteading skills while going through Swiss Family Robinson as a unit study. 

I enjoyed doing it with my son and planned on doing it again as the girls grew up.  But I wasn't planning on it this year.  It requires a lot of teacher involvement (read big time commitment) and the willingness to make messes and go out of my comfort zone sometimes.  I wanted an easy school year this year.  

But such is not to be.  And I'm OK with that, because I can look at my plan for the year and smile and know it will be good this year.  We will have fun.  We will learn.  

I don't know if I'm going to follow the book exactly; my plan right now is to pick skills to work on along with the Bible memory and studies in Prepare and Pray.  I'll do some of the writing and science as well.  I hope to continue to work on US History as we got almost to the Revolutionary War last year.  

I thought that a good plan before deciding what skills to work on would be to list what the girls already know.  Since Isaac already went through this, I am going to tailor it more for the girls, though he will be joining us as well.  I'll probably pick a few skills for him to work on independently.  

So, without further adieu, 

Skills my daughters possess in survival, homesteading and homemaking:
  • how to pick mint and make tea with it straight from the garden
  • how to identify several herbs by sight and smell in the garden and what they are good for (other than eating directly from the plant while standing barefoot in the middle of the garden)
  • why we prefer goat milk
  • the delights of shopping at Farmer's Market
  • how to fearlessly gather eggs from under a broody hen and where the favorite hiding places for the eggs are
  • how to pull weeds so you get the root and not just the top
  • how to wash and dry dishes
  • how to clean the bathroom
  • what foods normally have gluten in them 
  • how to catch a Houdini chicken (Isaac's quote: "Mom, our chickens are the Albert Einsteins of the Houdini world."  Translation:  They escape their pen.  Often.) 
  • how to clean and bandage a scrape 
  • how to make a great salad, including washing the greens
  • what to do if they get lost in the woods
  • at least two easy to find and identify edible wild plants in our area
  • how to safely hike with a buddy
  • how to make homemade popsicles and smoothies
  • how to climb trees (I'm not sure if this counts in this list, but they sure are good at it!)
  • how to make maple syrup and how much sap and work go into just a quart of syrup
  • what part of the plant common vegetables come from and what they look like in the garden: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds...
  • how to pick, clean, slice and freeze strawberries
To some people, this may seem like very simple and basic knowledge.  Others might think these skills are complicated and unnecessary.  But this is where we are at on our journey of learning homesteading and related skills.  Their are other skills, but I'll not bore you with a complete list now.  There may be another list coming soon.  In the meantime, we'll be trying to learn more skills to use on our homestead in town.

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