The Life Skills School of Agriculture
As a home educator, I spend a certain portion of my time thinking about what I wish someone had taught me, and how I can keep my own children from missing out on important life skills. In my academic life I was an overachiever- I was a member of Beta Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, an officer in FFA. I received the Presidential Academic Fitness Award (signed by Ronnie!) and was a National merit scholar. In college I paid for my whole ride with scholarships and work studies. I made the dean’s list a couple of times and was a member of Alpha Zeta and earned an American Society of Animal Science Scholarship Award for academic excellence. But graduating from college left me wholly unprepared for REAL life, especially REAL life on a farm. Even though I spent my whole life living on a farm, I have realized that all my agriculture degree did was educate me enough to make it impossible to make a living on a farm. My degree taught me how commercial agriculture operates, how big money does it, but it taught me nothing about the agriculture that was important to me: how agriculture can be a healthy lifestyle for a family. As I look back on my education, I realize my little country grade school gave me an excellent education and I have it to thank for my academic excellence. But living in the country also allowed me to miss out on a lot of things I wish I had pursued, like music, art, home economics. On the flip side I learned much about tough self-sufficiency from the farm life. My life challenge has become understanding how to create a balance between farm life, town life and family relations. Perhaps that is why I choose to home educate; in order to rectify the deficiencies in these areas. And I wonder how many people realize that the biggest advantage to home education is what the PARENT learns. Home schooling makes any parent blatantly aware of her own faults and strengths, and unfortunately some other home educator will have written a good self-help book about how to fix those weaknesses! I believe home educating and farming create both great struggles and great personal growth. Over the past 15 years I have struggled with wearing all the hats the position requires: wife, mother, housekeeper, teacher, soul coach and farmer. It has taken 15 years to realize that all the self-help books in the world won’t change anything if all those hats preclude time for SELF. I think this blog will be consumed for quite some time with my long list of lessons learned at the life skills school of agriculture. I will start the outline privately and share the results with you. Maybe my notes can become a course in itself. As I look back on my days in ag college, I will design a course that fills in all the gaps that were left in my education.