Farmschooling in real life...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tuesday dawned a beautiful winter's day after a long weekend break to celebrate the Queen's Birthday.  I had completed all my school planning on the weekend (as I try to do each weekend) & so we were ready to begin a very full day of educating.  I was attempting to condense what we generally do in 5 days into 3 days ( we have an excursion day on Friday with our homeschooling group). Now I know I should stop trying to do the impossible, but if you know me, that's what I do anyway... All was proceeding well & we completed our devotional/ table time & the older two commenced their various maths books independently so I could focus my time with the twins ( year one students need a whole lot more attention than older learners especially for english).  We all worked hard & they completed a good amount of their work before lunch ( since we have farm jobs to complete in the morning, we sometimes get a later start in the morning, but I count on a long afternoon stretch to catch up).  Very quickly the clock was telling me it was time for our noon meal &  so I began heating our left overs from dinner on the stove top (our microwave has died ~ I know it's better for our health, but it sure isn't as convenient) when the telephone rang.

Studious students... I love it!
We were selling our ewe lambs from last year as we just have to destock (usually we don't sell til September, but this time we had very little choice)  & Dave had spent a couple of hours the evening before making sure he had them all locked tightly in the yards.  The buyer was bringing his truck to pick them up sometime during the day & could easily load them himself .  I had noticed his truck pull up at the shearing shed a few minutes earlier but didn't think much of it because he was expected.

The telephone call was the said buyer & I was rather surprised since I knew he was just down at the sheds.  He quickly relayed to me that there was a problem.  The sheep were gone! There were not one sheep in the yards.  There was however an open gate... I could feel my well-planned day beginning to dissolve ...

I quickly gathered my diligent easily distracted students to attention.  They were only too eager to get outside (I'm sure the outdoors calls to my boys especially loudly during school hours).  They were off, grabbing gumboots & jackets & tumbling out the door.  I quickly followed after thankfully remembering to turn off the bubbling pot in my care ( of course I should have put it in the fridge too, but I didn't think about that).  

Our kitty cat loves to sleep on top of their work boxes while they are doing schoolwork!
Our buyer was waiting at the shed & we quickly came up with a plan to herd those pesky, mixed up lambs back into the yards.  Unfortunately by this time they were making their way into the forest where the only way to travel is by foot. (Because if you really want difficult herding ~ do it in a forest full of trees & fallen logs & undergrowth that loves to trip the less than cautious.)  Thankfully I had a full team of 'sheep herders' ready to go.  So we sent three of the children into the forest & Eli & I took the side & the buyer went around the shed to prevent them going directly past the gate & down into the newly emerged crop paddock (which is just as likely to happen to us).

I thought the children couldn't do it.  I quickly gave up my place & went to aid them in their pursuit of those wooly beasts, but to my surprise when I rounded the edge of the dam they were all coming towards me.  I quickly retraced my steps until they had passed & then helped the completely proficient team of shepherds ( who did not need a speck of help from their mother) complete the movement to the open area where they were used to being fed.
They only got away once, but some quick sprinting on Eli's part got them turned ( Mum is not quite as fast & took the side) & they moved amazingly well back & around into the yards.

Then it was time to draft them.  You see not only had the ewe lambs escaped the yards, but they had gone for one last play with their brothers and were all mixed up!  So we ran them through the draft which sounds so very easy, but can be so very difficult depending on the sheep you are drafting.  I think by this time they were regretting their morning of fun  ~ either that or they felt sorry for the poor, hungry farmers ~ because they moved considerably better than I expected.  

This is Ellie's 3D art project ~ any medium, but had to be about Joshua & Jericho!  I love it!!!
Eventually we had the ewe lambs back where they had originally been placed, ready to load through the shed & onto the loading ramp into the truck.  They didn't hesitate ~ maybe they'd heard rumours about the lush pastures they were going to.  The truck drove away with a very patient, understanding buyer driving.

The hungry children & I finally moved the wether ( males without their male part) lambs back into their paddock & returned to the house only to find our half heated lunch stone-cold on the stove top.

After coming up with a lunch alternative ( rather than risk food poisoning) & taking a well-deserved lunch break, the school day didn't pan out quite the way I had hoped.

Real life learning ~ on an excursion with our homeschool group!
This is life for children on a farm.  Some days the jobs come unplanned ~ chasing pigs/cows/sheep/chickens are all things that just can't wait.  (In fact Zai is just now leaving his maths to once again chase the escapee pig out of our house yard).  As a person who likes plans to go exactly as they were made at times I struggle with this, but I need to remember that schooling just doesn't happen at the desks or table.   In fact I'll add that a lot of the best education happens in these moments where we drop the books & real life takes over (yes, it's hard for me to write that ~ I'm a 'complete every page & tick every box' type of Mum).  I'm fairly sure that God is teaching me all about flexibility!

And what a great PE lesson.....

Real life...farmschooling


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