Keeping a Balance While Schooling on the Farm

by Dawn Oaks on August 11, 2013 · 0 comments


There are so many blessings to living on a farm and how this really encourages learning beyond the textbooks. The difficult part is in juggling it all. This will be our last post in our 5 Days of Schooling on the Farm series.  Our wrap up is on how to keep a balance while schooling on the farm.

No matter what walk of life we are called to or what season we find ourselves in, there are always challenges to getting it all done. The tough thing about both farming and homeschooling is that you don’t ever really get it all done. They are both works in progress. Both can also become huge taskmasters if you allow them. Both endeavors can become all consuming if you allow them. We face this challenge in going back to the basic questions, “Whom is the God I shall serve today?” In the nitty gritty of life, the god we choose to serve is the one we sacrifice our greatest resources for.  The one that wins out on the priority list time and time again.

As long as we have homeschooled, we have farmed. This has been a source of conflict between Gary and I. He is the head farmer on our place and knows at a much deeper level all that needs to be done to keep things running smoothly and all the animals cared for. As the head schoolteacher, I see all the potential in our children and all of the things we could do in school to enhance their learning. To be very honest, the head farmer and the head schoolteacher do not always agree on the emergence of the other’s cry. I am a lover of learning and see all kinds of creative things we can do in our schoolday. Gary is very pragmatic. He knows what it takes to run the farm, accomplish the next project. He knows what help he needs to accomplish these tasks and that help usually comes in the form of my students.

There are many romantic notions about both homeschooling and farming. These are good, because they are what initially drive people to walk off the beaten path of public education as well as city life into the rural areas to begin farming or homesteading. The reality however is that high school credit hours need to be met just as much as the corn needs to be picked and the cows need to be milked. Some days there just does not seem to be enough hours in the day. So what do we do?

We decide fresh each morning that we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We put our faith in Him that He will order our day and then we decide to just do the very next thing before us well. We can’t always see how it will all work together for our good, but He promises that it will in Romans 8:28. God asks us to plan our course and He will determine our steps. If we will just take the next step and do what is required as if serving Him rather than man, He will be honored. He will work all things together for our good. This seems so simple and it really is. The difficulty lies in our memory. We fail so many times to remember all the ways that He has been our deliverer. We allow what we perceive to be the interruptions in our life to get us sidetracked and to call into doubt whether He is still in control.

Each homeschool family has different pressures and demands on them. Some are homeschooling in the midst of great financial challenges. Others are homeschooling in hospital waiting rooms as their child battles medical issues. Some of you are trying for the third year in the row to teach your dyslexic child to read while your toddler runs underfoot. Our challenge is homeschooling when interruptions come in the form of pigs that have broken out of their pens, equipment that is not running properly, or a calf that needs constant care to save its life.

The best thing we can all do is to stop seeing these as interruptions, but rather as God’s working in our life. He is still the God of miracles, but He is also the God of the everyday ups and downs where we seem to lose sight of Him. Some days we find that great balance between farm demands and school. Other days, we find ourselves out at the barn for what seems like forever and never even crack open a book. And then there are those days when the demands of the farm are light and we make haste to get to school in trying to really get that math concept that has been haunting us all week.

God is the God of the mountain-top experiences, but He is also the God of our everyday details. May we all seek to walk contentedly as each day poses its own challenges and victories.


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