Homesteading with a Family: How and Why It Works

If you’re bringing a family into homesteading with you, it may seem challenging. However, it’s the complete opposite of this, and I’m going to explain why.

Homesteading with a family

If one thing is for sure when it comes to the homestead, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re a lone wolf. 

However, even with family, it can become taxing if you have lots of responsibilities. Things like cows, horses, or general maintenance can all add up and fill your time. 

Having a family means that this load of responsibility can be distributed among everyone, making it quite a bit easier for you to get the job done. 

If the duties are split among everyone, this means you’ll each have more time for fun or exciting activities. Maybe you’ve wanted to try out horseback riding but never seem to have the time.

Now, you do, which is an example of the endless other endeavors you could get into with homesteading. Let’s talk about why having a family on the homestead is a good thing.

How & Why It Works

It’ll Be Less Taxing

If one thing is positive about homesteading, it’s that it can sometimes be taxing to make sure everything is taken care of yourself. This is where the family can come into the picture and help tremendously. 

The wife can be involved with her endeavors or keep up with you, and the kids can be given specific things to do as well, such as cleaning the animal shelters, utilizing specific child-safe tools, or merely doing regular chores.

This way, you have much more time to focus on the more significant and more important task at hand. Homesteading with a family is no different than living with them elsewhere, except that with homesteading, everyone will each have their mission, probably more than they’re otherwise used to. 

This isn’t a bad thing, though. Most of the tasks will likely be involved in the factors that sustain the crops, livestock, and water, which essentially sustains the family, so even though the job may be intensive, it’s for a great reason.

Everyone Will Have Their Role

This is where the distribution of the roles come into the picture. For starters, the more intensive task may be better suited for you, such as caring for the livestock and garden. 

However, aspects like maintenance, such as pen clean up, watering the livestock, changing out the old feed, and washing the smaller animals, are excellent task to assign the youngins on the homestead. 

The chickens, peacocks, and turkeys are great examples of many aspects that could be given to the kids. The wife, if there is one, could handle the cooking, cleaning, and bookkeeping of the homestead, if that is preferred. 

This position could be switched to the husband, though; ladies like getting dirty too! 

The roles could also be switched up every week to ensure everyone continues to experience new things regularly to keep it exciting, which means no one lacks any particular homestead skill over another.

They’ll Learn A Lot

I grew up on a farm for a large part of my life, and I learned a ton; I’m very thankful for this, as this allows me to share my knowledge with you and others. 

This same fact could also be something to consider for your family, especially the children. 

Raising chickens, for example, is not merely about getting their eggs, selling them, or eating them. It’s a chance to teach your children what it means to be a homesteader. 

Horses are another fantastic example; they’re a great animal to have on your homestead, as this teaches your children to understand the concept of caring and what it means to raise something. 

This concept cannot be learned in many other areas, the closest example would be raising a dog, but even this is an overly-simplified version of the bigger picture of homesteading. 

Plus, think about all the various types of skills that you could teach them. Gardening is a great skill to have, as this takes patience and know-how of when and where to plant. 

They’ll even have a chance to use many types of tools, and eventually, as they grow older, use more extensive tools like chainsaws, tractors, and more. These skills will stick with them for a lifetime, that’s for sure.

It Teaches Entrepreneurship

If you take a look at many of the traditional businesses like farms, mom-and-pop stores, and auctions, more often than not, if you ask that person about their childhood, it involves them growing up in a similar environment to a homestead such as a farm. 

Allowing children to grow up in this type of environment will enable them to learn how to be a thinker, as in many cases, they need to think of unique ways to get the task done. This makes them a hard worker who is not afraid to get dirty. 

This, after some time, creates an addiction to working on the farm. Your children will more than likely volunteer to complete various tasks, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. 

Whether it be cleaning out the livestock shelters, grooming the animals, feeding them, or maintaining the homestead, they’ll undoubtedly learn the core aspects of entrepreneurship: to push through the hardest of tasks by thinking and getting the job done.

The Kids Will Learn Responsibility

Finally, the family will learn a new kind of responsibility. In the city, most often, we have simple duties like paying bills, doing a little cleanup, and maintaining life like buying groceries or working. 

These are common, though, and not unique in most cases. However, if you and your family live on a homestead, you’ll each learn what responsibility truly is. 

You and your family won’t only be caring for yourself, but the homestead as well.  The garden will need to be maintained, which means that everyone must take their part in watering the crops, picking the produce, applying any natural pesticides, and more. 

The livestock plays a huge role, even if they’re not used for food purposes. 

The family must feed them, water them and replace these regularly to ensure they have fresh food and water, and more, like maintaining the water and food storage for you and your family. 

This may seem like a little much, but it truly is a big deal, especially if you want responsibility to be a strong character trait within your family, even more so than possible in the city’s grid.


Getting Your Family Into Homesteading

The Perfect Kid-Friendly Tools

If I were to recommend a few child-safe tools to get your kids into homesteading, I’d recommend children’s garden tools and perhaps any grooming tools for small livestock. 

This way, your child gets hands-on experience in terms of caring for crops and livestock. 

Otherwise, having them follow along while supervising them is an excellent way for them to learn. 

They’ll be ready to start throwing a hammer in no time. You could consider simple woodworking, too; this way, they get a chance to build various items like toys. 

Just make sure you aren’t scared to let them follow along; this is the best way to teach them how to homestead.

Learning The Lifestyle

There is no reason that you and your family could not homestead, even if you each lack any outdoor experience. 

Homesteads may seem complicated, but the entire point of a homestead is to move away from the complicated grid and live a simple lifestyle. 

If it were difficult, millions of others would not be making the switch. It’s not easy, don’t get me wrong, but anything you do not know can be learned as you go. 

This is probably the best aspect of homesteading, in my opinion. 

If you’d like, perhaps pick out a few books, or even check out one of the several YouTube channels of homesteaders alike.

Methods That Are Helpful For Learning

The best way to learn homesteading skills is by having hands-on experience. If you plan on having a chicken coop on your property, it may not go perfect the first week or two, but you will undoubtedly figure it out. 

Any other necessities like food and water storage will have the same concept, the more you do it, the better you get. 

However, if you want to prepare, you may consider visiting someone else’s homestead and ask questions, so you know what to expect. 

You can also look through our website as well. There are many forums online to check out that have tons of great information, too. 

Perhaps consider visiting an auction and talking to a few people there; they love to chat about everything outdoor-related.

Let Them Choose A Few Hobbies

If there is one thing that will have your kids excited about homesteading, it’s fun hobbies. I’m not talking about the typical hobbies, though. 

Things like beehives are neat because although I can’t point my finger at a specific reason, kids love bee-keeping. Plus, it’s an easy addition to any homestead, requiring low effort to maintain. 

Beehives are something that you could have the kids help with, such as draining the honey from the wax and allowing them to make fun candies with you, or even throwing on a kid-sized bee suit and letting them come along and help you harvest the honey. 

You could also consider adding a miniature horse; this way, your child can learn to horseback ride without you worrying about the risk of larger, full-sized horses. 

There are tons of ways to pique their interest, so it takes just a little imagination, and they’ll love it.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Are Homesteads Powered?

If you opt to have electricity on your homestead, then the most common way to do this is via solar panels

These are panels that take energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. The power is typically transferred into a large power bank, so even when it’s cloudy for extended periods, you still have electricity to power your homestead. 

You could also consider a gas generator, which is best for those who just want power on super rare occasions, as these are much cheaper.

How Is Water Sourced & Stored?

Most commonly, water is sourced via an underground well, which essentially pulls water to ground level from deep below the earth’s crust via underground water streams. 

If this is too costly for you, though, perhaps consider a water pump. Installing a few of those may be sufficient enough. 

You can also install rain harvesting systems on the roof, which catch the rainwater and place it inside a tank. This is great, mainly if you live in a rainy area.

How Can I Have TV & Internet Services?

This may seem impossible to have for those who’ve lived in the city for a majority of their life, but it’s super easy. 

You have two options, the first being satellite tv, and internet. I’ve personally used both of these and still prefer satellite TV residing in the city the few times I have. 

The satellite internet isn’t the best, but in most cases, it’s plenty to stream your favorite movies and browse the internet.


Verdict

It may seem like a challenge if you see you and your family homesteading in the future, but this is simply a massive plus for all of you. 

As mentioned before, you will each have your unique roles, making everything much more efficient. 

Plus, you’ll each get to learn together as you discover new things you’ve never done before, which is inevitable. It only makes everything easier. There is one catch, though. 

You’ll need more food and water supplies, which may be a little tricky if the homestead is new, as gardens can take a year or more to be mature enough to supply enough food for the family. 

Livestock is an excellent consideration for the first year especially. If you want to start a homestead with your family, I say go for it.



Written by Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things homestead. He grew up on a homestead and helped his parents do the day-to-day. Read more of Bryan's articles.