I think it first really caught my attention while I was in sixth grade. We visited a heritage home that had once belonged to my school’s namesake. There we learned about candle making, tin work, cleaning and spinning wool… it was a wonderful field trip.
My teacher carried it on into unit lessons that year. We even build a little shanty in our classroom. In French class for a few years, we were also learning about pioneers, as the french storybooks we were reading from had this theme.
I had my mom make me a pioneer costume for Halloween that fall, complete with a bonnet. The passion… the love for all things homestead, and pioneer has been with me since.
While I do not believe I could raise animals for meat, I grow too attached, and couldn’t handle the messiness of such things either, I still long for much of a similar lifestyle.
I do realize that life for them wasn’t the romantic view I hold of the time… life was hard. They often worked from sunup to sundown through much of the year, and I have already proven that I burn out fast. In this day, however, with vehicles, electricity, grocery stores… it may just be possible to live that life in part – the simple, down to the earth, find out what really matters parts – without all of the pain.
There has never been a real option for me to try this lifestyle out in the past. Society seems to grab a hold, and not let go, no matter how a person might battle against it.
When my son was young, and I had decided to homeschool him, I built his curriculum around these old fashioned values. For his Kindergarten year, we studied the Little House on the Prairie books, and used The Prairie Primer to do unit studies around this. We even turned cream into butter! It was a lot of fun.
For his primary years, we studies out of the McGuffey Readers, Ray’s Arithmetic, Harvey’s Grammar, and Spencerian Penmanship. It is strange how children do not always want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. My son was a computer boy through and through, and had little patience for history lessons, and how people lived long ago… sad.
While I could never interest my son in this subject, my own love of this time period has never wavered.
Though I was never taught how, and still struggle to figure things out sometimes, every year I have an urge to plan and tend my own vegetable and herb garden, and plant more fruit trees. Every year I plant something, but my fear of the neighbours keeps me hiding in my house, when I would otherwise be out happily tending my garden. Neighbours…
Every fall I get out whatever yarn I have lying around the house, and start knitting something. I am not really good at it, but I have knit simple sweaters, scarves, socks, hats, and finger less gloves. Having access to the time, material, and free online lessons might just encourage me to move further this year.
The longing to form such a life around myself grows stronger every year. Wood heat, well water, food from my own garden… it is what I want, I think. The trouble is, I have not had the opportunity to learn how, or to find out if I would have enough energy to maintain such a lifestyle.
The possibility may be here for us this year, if we decide to follow through.
The idea of having no neighbours, and with that the freedom to experiment and learn, sounds almost like heaven to me.