That word invokes all sorts of ideas from different people.
Some good - like the idea of sitting around the hearthfire on a cool evening, reading a great book aloud while your children drink hot chocolate.
Or maybe reaching into the pantry to pull out another jar of your homemade jam.
Some not-so-good - like picturing long hours of work in the fields under the hot sun to help ensure a large harvest.
But what I hear from people the most is stress and worry because they don’t feel "cut out" to homestead.
I hear things like “I wish I could do what you do, but I’m just not crafty!”
Or, “Homesteading really appeals to me, but I just don’t have the time or patience to keep up with everything.”
There is so much more to homesteading that just being crafty.
So let’s talk about that. Let’s define what homesteading is all about…
A homestead can be defined very simply as the place you make and call “home”.
By law the term “homestead” refers to a person’s or family’s residence.
I think we can agree that everyone falls into that most basic of definitions; whether you live in the country or the city; in a house or an apartment.
But there is a bit more to the idea of a “modern homestead”.
These ideas harken back to days of old when people were self-reliant. When people made everything from scratch and knew how to live within their means.
While “projects” and Pinterest worthy works of art are wonderful and have a place… they are not at the heart of a modern homestead.
So what is at the heart of modern homesteading?
1. Taking control of your food sources.
Know what you’re eating. This is good for a lot of reasons, and a great way to homestead that anyone can do.
Grow your own food if you can, and don’t waste anything. Buy in bulk to save money and be aware of what you have and use it before it goes bad.
For tips on how to eat well for less, see my post “10 Tricks for Clean Eating on a Budget”.
2. Taking control of your finances.
Don’t let your money get away without a fight. Squeeze everything you can out of those dollars before you let them go.
Sometimes this means making things that others buy (i.e. soap, bread, clothes…)
Change your mindset to include time as a commodity. Time really does equal money in this case.
If I could buy something for $50, how many hours at work will that be? Could I make it for $5 – if so, how long would that take me?
More time at home and less time at work is a wonderful outcome of the modern homesteading mindset.
3. Taking control of your children’s education (and in some cases, your own).
I was homeschooled, but I know that’s not for everyone, so that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Taking control of your child’s education can be done no matter where they go to school.
Make sure they are learning how to be functioning people. And I don’t just mean learning how to be another cog in the social machine…
Show them how to think for themselves and how to use logic and reason.
Expose them to truth, beauty, and goodness everyday.
Read to them the great works and show them what it means to be Godly.
Help them to love learning and knowledge and give them the understanding that mental, physical, and spiritual growth should be desired for life – not just until they are out of college.
And if you don’t have this knowledge for yourself… get it. Fast. Click here to learn more about Classical Education and its benefits.
The Extra Stuff.
For me, homesteading goes beyond the three practical ideas above and into the realm of the heart.
Like the idea of finding joy in simplicity.
Not everything has to be a big event. Sitting together at the kitchen table and enjoying a plate of chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven is a wonderful way to spend the evening.
Serving others has its place in homesteading as well.
We so often think of only ourselves and how our actions and choices change our own lives… but when you are homesteading, reaching out to others and helping them in whatever ways you can is extremely rewards.
Giving gifts made by hand and full of thought.
Yes, this one is a little "crafty".
But it doesn’t mean you have to learn how to knit if you don’t want to.
It just means that you put real thought into what you are giving to someone else and you do what you can yourself.
For example, I have a friend who is allergic to store-bought vanilla extract. So I make her a bottle of homemade Mexican-vanilla extract every year for Christmas.
It takes me about 5 minutes to throw it together, and it’s super cheap… but it’s from the heart and full of thought.
How many of these could you start doing today? Or this week?
I’d wager that you’re closer to having a thriving modern homestead than you originally thought.
Good luck and Godspeed.
May you find great joy in the process and results of homesteading!