Homeschooling on the Homestead: Tips to Help You Get Started


Homeschooling on the homestead is the new normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some tips to help you incorporate homeschooling into your daily routine on the homestead. #homesteadhomeschooling #homeschoolingonthehomesteadHomeschooling has, traditionally, gone hand-in-hand with homesteading. Families whose lives centered around their homes have often chosen to homeschool their children on the homestead too, blending curriculum seamlessly with domestic life.

Nowadays, many homesteading families still choose to homeschool their children. But not me.

Not that I have anything against homeschooling. In fact, I used to be a teacher and have often romanticized the idea of keeping Evelyn (my now four-year-old daughter) home, sitting around the kitchen table with her doing read-alouds and math problems and science experiments together. But for me, I really need space and silence to get my work done. And, being a (seemingly) extroverted only child, Evelyn needs the social atmosphere that her preschool provides.

All of this to say that I am no expert when it comes to homeschooling, so don’t ask me!

(Am I inspiring confidence yet??)

 

Homeschool: The ‘New Normal’

Of course, 2020 being what it is with the pandemic and all, many, many people, both homesteaders and non-homesteaders alike, have suddenly found themselves having to incorporate homeschooling into their schedules for the first time.

Whether by choice or necessity, it’s not easy to add homeschooling to our already very full plates. Especially as homesteaders, we’ve got the extra work of gardening, cooking and preserving, plus all sorts of other domestic tasks that take our time and attention. For anyone who’s new to it, homeschooling can just feel like one more weight on our already tense shoulders, especially during a year when stress and anxiety is at an all-time high as we all try to adapt to the “new normal.”

And so, for this reason, I’m excited to introduce you to someone who does know what she’s talking about when it comes to balancing homeschooling on the homestead!

Ginny Aaron is a homeschooling mom of three children, ages 11, 9 and 7. She’s also a full-time homesteader and keeper of around 60 chickens, three rabbits, six goats, five bottle calves, and about a “bzzilion” bees (blame Ginny for that pun;).

Needless to say, she’s a very busy woman at the best of times, and today she’s here sharing her best tips for incorporating homesteading and homeschooling with your daily routine so that educating your children at home doesn’t just feel like “one more thing” on your to-do list.

If you’re one of the many mothers and fathers faced with homeschooling your kids for the first time this year, whether you’ve got 50 acres in the country and a herd of cattle to tend to or a small house and backyard garden in the suburbs, you’re sure to glean wisdom, comfort and inspiration from Ginny’s approach to homeschooling.

But don’t take my word for it. Read on, and be sure to leave a comment below to let us know what you think, or tell us how you’re approaching your child’s education this year!

 

Related: How to Prepare Your Kids For An Emergency At School

 

Tips From A Homesteading, Homeschooling Mom of Three

We’ve been a homeschooling family for the past three years. I’ve researched extensively, read books, joined groups, asked questions and have had people give me many opinions *ahem* on our decision.

We combine a wonderful curriculum with real life experience. Because life does not require you to just know your reading, math, and language arts.  It requires life skills, discipline, routine, planning and the ability to follow instructions.

My name is Ginny Lynn Aaron and I am so excited to be sharing a part of our family story with you!

I’m originally from a town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I met my husband while he was working in Ohio. I was a single mother at the time and never thought that I would be ready to meet the man of my dreams, but that is exactly what happened. After some time, his job ended in Ohio and it was time for him to come back home, to Texas.

We had a hard decision in front of us. We were still under a year of being in a relationship. But I knew that it was time to take the biggest chance of my life.

I said our goodbyes to family and friends, loaded the car and we hit the road. This city girl, who loved the nightlife in the city, the convenience of close shopping, and the everyday hustle that it brings was moved onto a red dirt road and tucked back into the woods of East Texas. It’s been an adventure to say the least.

My husband Robert is a hard-working man who has been in the oilfield industry for close to two decades. Triple 13 Livestock, our family farm, has been a dream of his. However, his adventurous life of being an oilfield man has kept him steadily traveling.

He has traveled all over the United States and worked in more states than I have ever dreamed of visiting. But after 17 years of that life, I am glad that he has decided that coming back to the dirt road home was the right thing to do. I am so blessed that he chose me to be his partner in achieving his dreams, and how fun the journey has been.

Izzy, our daughter, is 11 years old. She loves to cook and bake, and she loves to bottle feed our calves. She’s a terrific helper when it comes to helping with her brothers or cooking supper. There is not a challenge that she will not conquer, head on. She’s a strong young lady and I could not be more pleased with how well she’s growing up.

Maddox is our 9-year-old son. He is more laid back, but he loves to get outside and all but roll in the mud. He is his daddy’s helper and loves to make him proud. Though he may not always remember to wash his hands, he can tell you exactly how to mend a hole in the fence!

Our youngest son, Axyl, is seven years old and is as spirited as they come. He will talk your ear off, run circles around the yard, and climb the fence posts to hang upside down. Axyl isn’t always the most eager to help tend to animals, pick weeds from the garden, or complete his chore of straightening the bathroom, but if you need a good laugh, a great big hug, someone to read you a story, or someone to snuggle with, he is all in!

We incorporate our traditional homeschooling into our everyday lives. We use a terrific curriculum, but we know that education is much more than just opening books and writing answers on the lines.

Here’s how we incorporate homeschooling with daily life on our homestead, broken down by subject…

 

Language Arts/Reading

Along with following our curriculum, we apply language arts skills into our daily routine. The children all share the responsibility of writing our shopping lists. We work on their proper grammar, punctuation, and handwriting by writing letters to family members and friends. They love to use this time to practice their art skills and draw and paint pictures to send along with their letters. I also have them keep journals.

They keep a Bible journal to write their daily verse in and they put into their own words how that verse is useful in their lives. Izzy loves to do her weekly lesson plans and fill out her planner.

For reading, we love to visit our local library. Axyl goes straight for the computers, Maddox heads directly to the comic books and Izzy goes straight for the chapter books! They get to choose one book that they want to read, and I have them each get a book on a subject they’d like to learn. It could be a book about woodworking, lightning, plants, the Periodic Table of Elements, the options are never-ending!

Homeschooling is becoming the new normal thanks to COVID-19. Here are some tips to help you incorporate homeschooling into your daily homesteading routine. #homesteadhomeschooling #homeschoolingonthehomestead

The point is, you don’t need to read specific texts or only write essays, stories and poems in order to teach Language Arts. Instead, incorporate Language Arts into your existing daily routine and let your kids choose what interests them. This makes it much easier and more enjoyable for both the teacher and the students!

 

Math

Math can be monotonous, frustrating, and bring the whole vibe of the day down! It isn’t their favorite subject to sit drill (and who could blame them). But math can be incorporated into all sorts of tasks, from cooking and baking to gardening and finances…

First, we spice things up in the kitchen! We get to work on mental math skills, fractions, weight conversions, temperature, and the dreaded “telling of time” while we work on cooking and baking projects. The kitchen is such a great place to practice these useful math skills, plus it shows how to apply them in real life!

In the garden, we keep simple math skills sharp, such as grouping and counting by 5’s or 10’s by counting out seeds for our new gardens. The kids learn record-keeping and a little about accounting. Izzy is even practicing calculating area and perimeter as we plan our new square-foot garden!

Homeschooling on the homestead is the new normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some tips to help you incorporate homeschooling into your daily routine on the homestead. #homesteadhomeschooling #homeschoolingonthehomestead

She’s a planner by nature, so she gets to draw up ‘blueprints’ for the garden. She will calculate the area, research how far plants need to be spaced out, and draw out the plans so we know what is to be planted where. It’s a well-honed system…usually;)

They help figure out how much the grocery bill will be. We practice math in the car when we go for drives (ie. How many songs can we listen to before we reach our destination? We are driving 65 mph and our destination is 60 miles away, when will we get there? Etc.)

Every moment in life can be used as a learning moment, for you and your children. Education doesn’t have to be separate from daily life. And truly, it shouldn’t be.

 

Science

Science is a favorite subject for all of the kids (and the teacher, too!). We tend to bounce around in science and incorporate their lessons with whatever we’re doing that day.

If we’re planting a new garden bed, we go over how plants grow. How do they reproduce? What’s the life cycle of a plant? What do plants need to survive?

Digging in the soil and observing natural life is a great way to get kids interested in science and asking questions about the world around them!

If we’re making changes to our calves’ bottles, we go over the life cycle of a cow and how their stomachs work. That works well with the goats, too. Collecting and packaging eggs to sell? That’s a perfect day to talk about the life cycle of chickens!! Why do hens lay eggs and what is needed to fertilize them?

Homeschooling is becoming the new normal thanks to COVID-19. Here are some tips to help you incorporate homeschooling into your daily homesteading routine. #homesteadhomeschooling #homeschoolingonthehomestead

We get to hunt for bugs and look at them closely. We really love to learn about honeybees! We’ll go to our hive and watch the new baby bees doing their orientation flights, watch the worker bees bringing back pollen and open the hive up and go on a search for the “torpedo butt” queen! It’s all just so exciting! Science is the subject that makes me forget that I’m the teacher because we get so caught up in the learning.

Homeschooling is becoming the new normal thanks to COVID-19. Here are some tips to help you incorporate homeschooling into your daily homesteading routine. #homesteadhomeschooling #homeschoolingonthehomestead

We incorporate science into cooking and baking as well!

Why does a cake rise? What ingredient do we put in it to make it rise? What happens if we use baking soda instead of baking powder? Sometimes we will mess up a recipe JUST to see what happens and how it is affected! Don’t worry, we will still make it edible!

 

Social Studies

We love to visit local museums and learn about how our great state was founded and established. While Robert traveled for work, we used that as an opportunity to visit many museums and learn about each area.

If you ever get to come to Texas, it comes HIGHLY recommended that you visit the Washington on the Brazos State Park. The park is absolutely beautiful, the museum is educational, interactive and it is so fun that you forget that you’re learning.

Texas requires that homeschooled children learn about citizenship. We learn to be good citizens in our community. We pick up garbage at the park, help someone put groceries into their vehicle, take a person’s cart back at the store, or offer help to the local librarian with putting the books away.

Another great way to learn about Social Studies is from our Bible studies. Love Thy Neighbor. We will use our math and science classes cooking up a great snack or dessert and then Social Studies will be to take it to our neighbors, who also happen to be their great-grandmother and their grandmother. It makes for a wonderful break in what can seem extremely monotonous and tedious.

When it comes to learning about history, the library is a great place to start. But there are tons of great videos for kids on YouTube that make learning about the past both fun and entertaining. You could also have your kids act out historical events and perform them for you, which incorporates art and drama into your homeschool curriculum too!

 

Find teachable moments in the everyday

One of the greatest misconceptions about homeschooling is that we need to do it just like public school. But what if you are homeschooling because your child didn’t thrive in public school? If you mimic the routines and lessons that you took your child away from, what’s the point of homeschooling?

Homeschooling is becoming the new normal thanks to COVID-19. Here are some tips to help you incorporate homeschooling into your daily homesteading routine. #homesteadhomeschooling #homeschoolingonthehomestead

Throughout history, until very recently, education has happened at home. The truth is, there are teachable moments to be found all throughout our days so long as we take a little time to stop and recognize them and capitalize on the lessons to be learned in everyday tasks.

You don’t have to sit at a desk for 6-7 hours a day drilling kids’ minds full of memorization, repetition, and bookwork. Not to mention, what takes a public-school teacher 45 minutes to teach to 25+ children, you can teach your child in 15 minutes! You have the added advantage of knowing your children and their passions well. And if you don’t know their passions well, homeschooling gives you a fantastic opportunity to learn more about them as people and bond more as a family.

When it comes to homeschooling on the homestead, the bottom line is that it’s exactly what YOU make it, and my family has decided to make it fun and captivating while still being very educational. In the uncertain times of our current world, nothing makes me happier than being on this adventure, every day, with my family.

I will leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes that help to inspire me on this homeschooling journey:

“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

 


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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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The weather this summer has been as unpredictable as 2020 itself. The cool, grey, wet start to the summer meant that our sun-loving crops got a slow start in the garden, and that’s led to an unprecedented number of green tomatoes at the end of the season.

You’ve probably heard me complaining about our green tomato “problem” all summer. We do, after all, have great fruit set and TONS of tomatoes on our plants. They’re just almost all green!!!

While I do love me some green tomatoes (green tomato relish is my FAVE and fermented green tomatoes and hot peppers are out of this world), I refuse to give up on luscious, red, homemade tomato sauce and salsa just yet. I refuse to accept that they’re all just green and that’s just the way it is! So I’m taking matters into my own hands and ripening them myself.

Luckily the process of ripening green tomatoes indoors is ridiculously easy, so if you’ve got more green tomatoes than you know what to do with too, or you’re just keen to get another batch of sauce on your pantry shelves, I’m sharing this simple trick with you today for ripening green tomatoes that has stood the test of time (for real... my great grandmother used to do this).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/how-to-ripen-green-tomatoes-indoors/ to learn this simple hack!
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Okay, I MAY have totally messed up a batch of blackberry jam today, but check out this carrot! Thing’s almost as thick as my forearm and as long as my face! (Is that an accurate way to measure things?)🤷🏻‍♀️
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#homesteadersofinstagram #peoplewhogrowfood #humanswhogrowfood #homegrown #harvest
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September is such an odd time of year. It’s the time of year when we tend to find ourselves with a foot in two worlds: A transition season, if you will.⁣

In the garden, some plants are dead or dying. There’s brown, crispy stems, dried pea pods bursting with next year’s seeds and a natural layer of mulch in the form of fallen leaves. But at the same time there’s still so much life. So much greenery and colour. So much of summer still left.⁣

Indoors we’re busy putting up the harvest, stocking our shelves with jars of colourful food, baskets of cured onions and garlic, dried herbs hanging everywhere and crocks of fermenting foods on every countertop. But while we’re still dealing with the summer bounty, fall has begun, which means we’re back to schedules and routines and, for those of us with kids, school.⁣

But this year our return to our “normal” fall routines is anything but. For many families, there is no return to school. Not in the traditional sense anyway. Instead, more families than ever before have found themselves educating their children at home for the first time, whether by force or by choice. And trying to balance all of the usual September tasks with navigating full-time homeschooling can feel daunting, to say the least.⁣

I know we can all use as much help and expert advice as we can get at this time, so I’m honoured to have Ginny Aaron, a full-time homeschooling, homesteading mom of three sharing her wisdom on the blog this week. She’s generously shared her best tips for incorporating homeschooling with your existing routine and finding the teachable moments in the every day so that you don’t need to uproot your life or find another 7 hours in your day to recreate a classroom environment at home.⁣

I just love Ginny’s approach to homeschooling and if you’re anything like me, I think you will too. You can check out her full post by clicking the link in my bio or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homeschooling-on-the-homestead/

It’s also Ginny's first time guest posting so be sure to leave a comment while you’re there and let us know what school looks like for your family this year.⁣

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
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I’ve been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders lately. Between balancing work and the garden and all of the canning and preserving tasks this time of year, I’ve already got enough on my plate. Add a string of social commitments, back-to-school and extracurricular activities, and I’m definitely feeling the pressure, as I usually do this time of year.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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But lump on a pandemic, worsening political tensions, division and civil unrest, intensifying environmental disasters (we’re currently socked in with smoke from the California wildfires), and it all just becomes too much to bear some days.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I know I’m far from the only one who’s feeling this way. And yet, we all have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going even when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and burnt out. Even when the present is frightening and the future is uncertain.⁣

I’ve developed some strategies over the past few years that have helped me keep moving forward and get things done even when I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, and I want to share them with others who need help coping with stress and overwhelm right now too.⁣⁣
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You can check out my list of 10 tips for managing stress and overwhelm on the homestead (and in life!) by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and then clicking the link to the full blog post at the top.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You can also grab my free time management planner by clicking the link in my bio and then clicking on “Free Resource Library,” (find it under “Homesteading & Self-Sufficiency Resources” in the library).⁣⁣⁣
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No matter what you’re struggling with right now, I hope some of these tips help keep you navigate these extra stressful times and stay focused and moving forward with your to-do list, as well as with your big goals and dreams. But most of all, I hope it reminds you that if you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to read more.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I don’t think I have a jar big enough for this pickling cucumber 🥒 ⁣

What do you do with the huge pickling cukes that inevitably get missed in the garden??⁣

Please leave suggestions below! I’ve got two of ‘em! 😂
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#humanswhogrowfood #homesteadersofinstagram #mypickleisbiggerthanyours
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Late summer is truly the time of abundance (and by far the busiest time of year for us).⁣⁣⁣
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We’ve got so much food that’s ripe for the picking in our own garden, plus baskets full of produce that we purchase locally when it’s in season and preserve for the winter.⁣⁣⁣
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Between harvesting and preserving (and trying my best to document it all for you along the way), there’s little time for much else in August.⁣⁣⁣
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We’re busy sweating in the garden and the kitchen, working around the clock to preserve all of the fruits (and vegetables) of summer so that come winter we hunker down and relax knowing we’ve got a pantry full of food to sustain us.⁣⁣⁣
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While there have been more times than I like to admit when I’ve asked myself why we do this when we could be at the beach or floating down the river like everyone else, come winter I am ALWAYS grateful for the time and energy we invested in the spring, summer and fall to grow and preserve all of the food that lines our pantry shelves.⁣⁣⁣
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With everything that 2020 has brought so far (and more uncertainty to come), this year I’m feeling grateful even in the thick of it; Even while I’m sweating and pulling late night canning sessions and constantly scraping dirt out from under my nails. This year it’s more apparent than ever how much growing and preserving our own food is worth the time and effort that it takes.⁣⁣⁣
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If you feel the same way and you’re looking to get even better at gardening, preserving and homesteading in general, or maybe you’re finally ready to start living a more sustainable lifestyle where YOU have control over your food supply, I highly encourage you to check out the Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle (link in bio @thehouseandhomestead). It’s packed with almost $600 worth of resources designed to help you take control of your food security and live a more self-sufficient life, and it’s on sale today only for just $19.99!⁣

If you ask me, we would all be wise to invest in our own food security as we head into fall and winter 2020, so click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab your bundle now. The sale ends tonight at midnight so don’t wait!!
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You know it’s blackberry season when it looks like you just murdered someone with your bare hands 😂 ⁣

To be fair, I think the red drips down my legs are a 50/50 mix of blackberry juice and blood from the blackberry thorns. #worthit⁣

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What are you foraging right now??⁣
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It’s another grey, rainy day here in the Comox Valley: The kind of day when all you wanna do is cuddle up with a good book, a cozy blanket and a warm cat on your lap!⁣

It’s been such a strange summer (as if the rest of 2020 weren’t strange enough already). We’ve had so much rain and overcast skies... We JUST picked our first red cherry tomatoes yesterday and almost all of our paste tomatoes are still completely green. Last year at this time we were drowning in ripe tomatoes!⁣

Luckily we did just come off a stretch of sunny days that the garden really needed, and that we really needed too! We spent the past week camping, at the beach and almost totally unplugged which was so, so needed. Now we’re back home, and while I know there is food that needs being preserved, weeds that need being pulled, computer work that needs being done and laundry that needs being folded (see the laundry pile photo bombing my cat in the pic above), all I really want to do today is just rest and relax. ⁣

I’ve felt the weight of everything that’s happened so far this year -both good and bad- hit me this past week. Maybe it’s because I was unplugged and took a bit of a break that it had time to creep in, sort of like when you finally take a break after pushing really hard and you get sick because your body finally gets a chance to relax.⁣

In either case, I’m perfectly content to have this handsome boy on my lap right now and while there is constant work to be done in the summer, these grey rainy days help me to feel like it’s okay to just take a day to recharge, even in the middle of August.⁣

I hope that wherever you are, the weather’s good and the tomatoes are ripe and red! But I also hope you’re taking time to rest and relax too. We talk so much about being prepared for the fall and winter by working hard over the summer to put up food and get everything done, but I believe we also need to prepare our hearts, bodies and souls for whatever lies ahead by taking time to recharge our batteries too.⁣

And if you have a cat, invite him or her onto your lap for a while. If your cat’s as heavy as mine, you’ll have no choice but to relax because you won’t be able to move your legs;)
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For the past month or so I’ve been working hard “behind the scenes” on my very first home canning course, and I’m super pumped to announce that the doors to the 𝐘𝐞𝐬, 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐂𝐀𝐍! home canning course are officially open!⁣⁣⁣
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If you've ever canned before, you probably know the indescribable feeling of standing back and staring at your jars of home-canned food. There's just something so satisfying about it; something comforting and so rewarding about knowing that no matter what's happening in this crazy world, you're able to feed your family delicious, nutritious food that you prepared and put up with your own two hands.⁣⁣⁣
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I want EVERYONE to experience that feeling, now more than ever.⁣⁣⁣
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That’s why I knew this was the year I had to pass on all of the food preservation knowledge and canning skills that I've picked up over the past 5 that's helped me go from ZERO jars of food ever canned to HUNDREDS of home-canned jars of food on my pantry shelves each year.⁣⁣⁣
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Over the course of 4 modules, I'll teach you everything you need to know to get started canning your own food at home SAFELY and easily so that come winter, you can won't need to rely as heavily on the grocery store. Instead, you can go grocery shopping from your very own food store in your pantry!⁣⁣⁣
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Whether you've never canned before or you've done a little but are ready to take it to the next level, the 𝐘𝐞𝐬, 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐂𝐀𝐍! Home Canning Course was designed for you.⁣⁣⁣
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Since I’m still adding lessons to the course as more food ripens and becomes ready for harvest, I'm currently offering this course for a whopping 50% off the regular price of $99, which means you'll pay just $49 for lifetime access, which includes any future updates or additions to the course.⁣⁣⁣

So if you're ready to get started canning up all of the abundance of summer before who knows what hits us in the winter, click the link in my bio or go to https://seed-to-soil-school.teachable.com/p/yes-you-can/ to enroll or learn more!⁣⁣⁣
No matter what lies ahead, there's one thing we know for sure: winter is coming, and you can't go wrong with a pantry full of home-canned food.
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#canning #preserving #homecanning
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🥒 Well, it only took 4 days but all 50 lbs. of cucumbers have been turned into pickles and canned for the winter.⁣

25 jars of dills, 17 jars of sweet pickles and 3 jars of mustard pickles for something a little different!⁣

In truth, this will probably last us two years, which means I won’t have to make pickles next year and instead can focus on preserving something else! We also gift pickles at Christmas and for random hostess/housewarming gifts and to trade with our neighbours (I traded our neighbour a jar of pickles, a jar of strawberry jam and a dozen eggs for some cherries and beef jerky the other day!)⁣

In so many ways, canning is like currency; Like insurance for the future. Tuck a little away now and you’ll have food to eat, gifts to give and something tangible to trade in the future.⁣

If you want to learn how to can and preserve food so that you can put a little (or a lot!) away now for the future, click the link in my bio and get your name on the waitlist for my brand new home canning course, launching in just a couple days!⁣

Waitlist members will get access to exclusive advance enrolment and be eligible for my bonus video lesson and eBook on How to Make Herbal Infusions At Home, so you can preserve your herbs for food and medicine too!⁣

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to save your spot and make this the year you stock your pantry to the hilt with homemade, home-canned, maybe even homegrown food!⁣
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#canning #preserving #preservetheharvest #yesyouCAN
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