Tuesday, December 27

Word of the Year 2023 - Self-Sufficient

Each year, we choose a Word of the Year...something to focus on energies on for the upcoming year.  It's akin to the New Year Resolution, but less of an actual task than a change in mindset.  For 2023, we selected Self-Sufficiency.  While this is something we've been working on for a while, we've decided it's time to put just a little more energy into this goal...

Previous words of the year include:

You can visit each of these to pick up resources and ideas for incorporating those principles and goals into your home.

Homestead Skills

Good planning is essential to a successful vegetable garden. Vegetables have specific requirements, and you must choose your site carefully to ensure a bountiful harvest. Get to Planning Your Productive Home Garden, and follow the basics.  

Want to take it a step further, or spruce up your front yard?  In Raised Beds & Pallet Planters, you'll get step-by-step instructions for unique planters!

Canning, freezing, and drying -- do you know which is best for each food?  Learn to put up your harvest (or bulk buys) in Home Preservation Basics.

At one time, most children learned Basic Outdoor Skills, but now we have to seek opportunities for teaching them.  Don't let another year go by without incorporating these simple tasks into your homeschool.

Whether you have a hobby-homestead, are a frugal momma, or just spent a lot of time with the 'Greatest Generation,' re-purposing is a simple fact of life.  Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!  These Repurposing Ideas for the Homestead will help you to save money, do a little recycling, and even bring a personal flair to your home!

Immunity is affected by daily habits, lifestyle choices, and exposure to toxins.  Your immune system doesn't just help prevent you from catching colds, but also prevents against things like cancer.  Maintaining a healthy immune system should be top priority all year long, not just during cold and flu season...learn more in Immune Boosting Herbs.

Animals, outbuildings, pipes...all of these things need tending to and don't just wait for better weather.  But be smart about it and follow these tips from Winter Safety on the Homestead.  All I can say is, on cold winter days, I'm so glad we don't homestead closer to the Arctic!

Unit Studies (not just for kids!)

In the Farming & Ranching for Teens curriculum, we've pulled together books, videos, and hands-on projects covering both animal husbandry and agriculture.  We start out by covering the difference between farming and ranching and how the work of these folks affects you everyday, such as in the grocery store.

The My Side of the Mountain novel study features Sam, runs away to the wilderness to escape his family.  He is tested and discovers strength and self-confidence.  Today, the Boy Scouts teach survival skills in their Wilderness Survival badge.

Herb studies combine both science and life skills.  In The Secret Garden novel study, students learn to start and maintain an herb garden, as well as the uses for each plant.

In the Willa and the Wood novel studyyou and your students will learn about foraging for plants and basic herb uses.

Download and print the Farming Book List to incorporate agricultural wisdom into your homeschool.  This list includes both fiction and non-fiction books.

Recently, there has been a rise in the popularity of survival-based books for children.  Our boys were definitely drawn to these more rough and tumble types of books, but they're not just for boys.  Here are some of the Best Kids' Books About Survival.

Eat In Tonight

It may take some adjustments in your shopping and cooking habits, but eating real food (and not nuking it in the microwave) is so much healthier for you!  Your body will appreciate the difference, and after a little bit your mood will improve as you begin to feel more energized.

We use the crockpot to throw together dinners quickly at night.  A bit of prep work, toss it in the pot in the morning, and it's ready to go in the evening!  We also do freezer cooking, so that healthy homemade meals are possible when time is short.  It takes a day of prep (or sometimes, a few hours here and there spread over several days), but is so very worth it.  Does that mean we never eat out or grab something fast?  Nope.  Everything in moderation....
A Slow-Cooked Year
This book includes : the whats and whys behind crockpot cooking, how-to tips and tricks, safe crockpot guidelines, printable planning sheets, and more than thirty seasonally-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes!
Another Year of Freezer Cooking
For anyone who wants to get a leg up on getting healthy meals on the family table, without much fuss...this book includes : the whats and whys behind freezer cooking how-to tips and tricks pantry freezing guidelines, printable planning sheets more than thirty seasonally-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes!

Courses & Resources

I cannot say enough about the Homestead Education curriculum!  Introduction to Homestead Science covers the art and science of homesteading in a full year science curriculum. There is daily reading and vocabulary, additional research projects, hands on projects both short and long term, and applied mathematics. Being an introductory course, there are some topics that are covered more in depth than others.  

Peek through the photos here and you'll see that it is multi-modal and incorporates all the subjects!! My son is using it this year, but mom is learning alongside him as well. There's always something new to learn in the homestead life. There's a curriculum for Little Learners as well (preschool / elementary). Use code RANGE10 to save an extra 10%!

One of our favorite courses at SchoolhouseTeachers is the Homesteading course! If you’ve ever wanted to ditch the chemicals in your household cleaners, can what you grow or purchase at a farmer’s market, make your own gifts and candles, or learn how to do things the natural way, you need to see the Homesteading class.

This ongoing course shares tips and detailed instructions that can enable you and your family to live more simply and naturally. Printables and some how-to videos are included with these weekly lessons...and it's all included with the 350+ other courses offered at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

Pick up the Homemaking & Homesteading Bundle in our Cottage Shoppe!  

The bundle includes twenty-four tutorials with background information for anyone who is interested in homemaking and homesteading. Topics are broken down into:
  • In the Kitchen – Fall & Winter
  • In the Kitchen – Spring & Summer
  • Around the Homestead – Inside
  • Around the Homestead – Outside

The Permaculture Student includes:

  • Private Community Facebook Group for Students
  • Unlimited Access to the Video Library
  • Includes eBook versions of The Permaculture Student 1 textbook & workbook
  • Hands-On Projects with Step-by-Step Directions & Video
  • Open & self-paced course. Start anytime, take your time & enjoy the design!
  • What you will learn:
    • Permaculture Design - homes, landscapes, society, businesses & more
    • Pattern Literacy
    • Reading the Landscape
    • Seed-to-Table Cooking
    • Earthworks
    • Seed Saving
    • Composting, Compost Tea, & Extract!
    • Food Preservation & Storage

DIY - Do It Yourself

Instead of getting desperate and spraying on commercial bug sprays, consider a better alternative... a Homemade Bug Repellant that smells wonderful, is effective, and takes only minutes to whip up!

For the price of one bottle of elderberry syrup at the store, you could make ten to fifteen times that amount at home! Homemade Elderberry Syrup is super easy, and anyone can make it.

Organic pecan butter is one of my favorite treats. It's also $18 per teeny-tiny jar.  I love to eat well, but I'm also cheap, so here is our recipe for Homemade Pecan Butter.

Making Homemade Mustard is simple and easy.  When making your own mustard, you can tailor it to your family's tastes, making it milder or spicier, and add herbs and spices to mix it up.

Another cost-cutting DIY is Homemade Fire Cider & Kombucha!  Get all the benefits for a fraction of the price.

Working out in the heat of summer can take its toll on your body!  Learn how to make Homemade Electrolyte Drinks, and skip the chemicals. (As an aside, I've also had friends and family use the replenishment drink as part of colonoscopy prep, with good results.)

What's your family's word of the year?  We want to know!

Make this year YOUR year! This reusable calendar features monthly at-a-glance pages and weekly pages with space for notes and planning. Each week also has a habit tracker grid to help keep the momentum going with your new habits! Just print and reuse each year for your planner.

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