As part of my focus on the homesteading homeschooler, I want to introduce you to a few families that actually make it work. Today, I want to introduce you to the Beachy’s.
Alvin and Karen Beachy have four daughters and live in Northwestern Virginia. Two of the daughters are in middle school and two are in high school—all at home. Most of what the Beachy’s raise on their place is for their own provision, although they have exchanged some products via word-of-mouth and the Internet.
Enough of my rambling. Let me share what Karen has to say about their homesteading/homeschooling lifestyle.
What comprises your homestead? Animals, gardens, etc.?
We have what we call a McDonald Farm. We have just a few cattle, goats, chickens, rabbits, and of course the cats and our dog. We grow most of our vegetables and some of our fruit (what nature alone produces from several fruit trees). We get our milk from the cow and goats and eggs from the chickens. We put a bull into the freezer every year or two and we raise our own poultry which has been from ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys. We process the meat here at home and our oldest daughter took it upon herself to learn to slaughter the poultry.
I understand you use Bob Jones University’s Homesat program for your basic curriculum, but do you ever pull assignments or lessons out of your homesteading lifestyle? Can you give me an example?
The girls have learned to marvel at what all God has created, not only different types of animals, plants, etc. but how the weather can affect all of it and how things have to be in balance to work.
The girls have learned a lot about Science through the farming and gardening. They have learned nutrition as well.
The farm has taught them to learn about the health of animals and how to use nutrition to heal. It has taught them reproduction from start to finish as one daughter needed to assist one of our goats with a birth once and they have witnessed the birthing of goats several times.
Raising our own meat and through butchering it here, they have seen many aspects of anatomy and with that we have taught some physiology.
They have learned the quality of nutrition of the different types of vegetables and of course with the cooking and canning they have learned fractions, multiplication, measurements and so much more that I start taking what all they learn for granted.
What are the biggest challenges you face with trying to homeschool and homestead at the same time?
The biggest challenge is maintaining a Godly attitude at all times. Some of the other challenges are balancing work and play, and then maintaining relationships outside of family and church.
Is there anything else you’d like to share along these lines?
I feel that, although my daughters have very little free time, they are learning more about nature and Home Ec than most girls do in their first 30 years of life. My daughters actually ran our homestead for nine months when I unexpectedly went back to work due to my husband’s back problems. The only thing I did not allow them to do was use the pressure canner and totally plan their day’s work.
The girls are content with life being busy with homesteading. When asked what they would eliminate in regards to the homestead one daughter mentioned selling several goats. Other than that, they would expand before they would cut back!
I praise the Lord for daughters who enjoy entering womanhood and being a provider of the family’s nutrition. They have learned not only how to milk a goat, but to plan its nutrition, monitor its health, and administer the proper herbs or supplements.
The girls see Proverbs 27:23-27 in action. "Be you diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds. They have learned to monitor their health, shelter, and safety. For riches are not for ever: and does the crown endure to every generation? We need to do our share of management in order to be blessed – it doesn't all just come... The hay appears, and the tender grass shows itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. Here is a verse that shows that herbs are beneficial in the management of animals and that things do need to be harvested for later use. The lambs are for your clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. We haven't gotten into lambs and making our own cloth but we do realize the benefits of goats. And you shall have goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance for your maidens." We have found the more we work with nature and what nature intends for the certain species, the more we are rewarded with the health and products of our animals. We are able to bless many households with our animals as well as our household.
Karen, I want to thank you for your honest, heartfelt sharing with Everything Home readers. I admire what your family accomplishes. You are an example to us all.