Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency based on an agrarian “back-to-the-land” philosophy which means at least a partial return to the simpler farming life of the past.
Homesteading is characterized by subsistence agriculture and home preservation of food. Many homesteaders plant and grow heirloom vegetables and raise heritage livestock. Modern “off-the-grid” homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar and wind power.
Subsistence homesteading intends to provide for the basic needs of the family, with little surplus for marketing. But homesteading may involve the small scale production of food, textiles, clothing, and crafts for household use or sale. One or more family members may also have paid employment outside the home.
Homesteading and Homeschooling
Homesteading and homeschooling go hand-in-hand. Homesteads require the use of many different practical skills on a daily basis. Kids of all ages enjoy multiple learning experiences both in the home and around the homestead, and learn important lessons all year long.
While many homeschooling curriculum options include interesting experiments to carry out at home, homesteading lets kids see science and engineering in action. Not as an experiment, but as real life!
They can learn to plant vegetables, care for, and harvest a garden. They can forage for wild plants and learn to identify edible (and poisonous) wildflowers and herbs.
They can milk their own cows and use that milk for making yogurt and cheese. They can gather dozens of eggs from their own chickens. They can learn to can, pickle, and preserve food.
And they can learn other things like how the weather affects their garden or the impact a natural disaster would have on everything.
STEM in Real Life
Science – Researching how to grow more organic food in less space, with less weeding and maintenance.
Technology – Troubleshooting machinery breakdowns, fixing an off-grid water system, etc.
Engineering – Building structures like chicken coops, designing rainwater irrigation systems, etc.
Math – Calculating the cost of materials for homestead projects, how many cords of wood to keep the woodstove running each winter, etc.
Does homesteading interest you?
Homesteading on a large scale requires some acreage. However, the concept is not necessarily defined by where someone lives, such as in a rural area, but by the lifestyle choices they make.
Self-sufficiency movements in the 1990s and 2000s began to apply the idea of sustainable agriculture and homemaking to urban and suburban settings, known as urban homesteading.
While growing your own food, cooking from scratch, and preserving the harvest aren’t easy, homesteading can be a rewarding lifestyle. Want to give it a try? Start small! A simple garden can be planted anywhere, whether you live in the country, suburbs, or city.
Check out “Homesteading for Beginners – A Quick Start Guide” and see how you can begin homesteading in a way that works for YOU!