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Those charming children’s books, “The Little House on the Prairie” series, usher the readers’ mind back to a simpler time where simple values and skills determined not just success but survival. Too many of those historical values and skills have been lost in the decades since covered wagons sailed across grass-covered prairies and flat, golden plains like so many ships in a line. Many things are easier now than they were back then. We also have access to more information to help us be successful. Still, with everything so easy to get their hands on, some feel as though somthing is missing.
For some, the ability to pick up their phone and order dinner is the best thing ever. Others may feel a strange wistfulness as they browse stories of days long past, wondering how they would survive in a life with less. Many may chose, as we did, to pursue a lifestyle that mirrors one left behind by most of society. Along with pursuing a life of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, they may look for ways to bring back values and skills. These are ideas that seem to have been long forgotten in a world filled with instant gratification and conflict.
Historical Values & Skills – Family
Since the recession of 2008 it is more common for adult children and families to move back home with parents. Difficulties with employment, the opportunity to pursue higher education, and more recently, the COVID-19 experience has people returning home. But those of us who have a close relationship with our families aren’t really surprised by this. Being close to your family provides many benefits that some people never consider – safety, security, and even financial support and protection.
Family is a cornerstone of any healthy homestead and really any strong society. Returning our focus to building strong, connected families can only bring positive benefits to all those involved. Big Jim and Grammie, enjoy knowing that they won’t have to move back to the PNW and give up their dreams. Husbando and I will be there so they can age gracefully in place. In turn, we have the peace of knowing my parents are close and there to help us out if we need it.
Historical Values & Skills – Home Education
Homeschooling is, for many, a huge part of a simpler, family-oriented lifestyle. It is not, however, exactly what I mean when I talk of home education. Home education is teaching and learning the skills needed to run a household. For example – a survey of 15-year-olds found less than 20% knew how to create a budget or understand an invoice. Worse, only four US states require a semester or more to be devoted to personal finance. And let’s not even discuss things like teaching kids how to cook, how to shop for healthy foods and shop frugally, and how to mend their clothing. Schools are focused on “marketable skills,” not on teaching kids how to live day today.
Homesteading makes these sorts of lessons necessary to survive. You might be able to survive in a suburban or urban environment without the ability to cook. There’s fast food and restaurant delivery. In the country, chances are the pizza place doesn’t have a route that is far out of town. Home education becomes a part of life. Your kids learn from being with you, using their common sense and reasoning skills to solve problems.
Historical Values & Skills – Religion
Perhaps the most important value and skill that homesteaders are best able to enjoy is the freedom of religion so precious and protected in the Constitution. Out on your own land, you are free to have a Bible study in your front yard during the warming spring sun. You can stand out in your fields and lift praises to God at the top of your lungs, and no one can complain because no one but you, God, and nature can hear. You are free to teach your children your religious values and practice your religion freely.