8 Modern Homesteading Family Rules We Mostly Follow

modern homesteading family rulesWe are a blended family, and among other things that means merging two styles of family rules and expectations. Wendie and I both came into this union with time-honored and sucessful ways of raising kids, but the approaches we took slightly varied. Well, sometime more than slightly. As a modern homesteading family, it has taken some adjustments and concessions to get where we are now.

A good example is how chores are handled around the house. Both of us believe that kids need to learn responsibility, however our levels of 'how much' were vastly different when we first married. As time passed, we grew more in tune with each other, developing a philosophical partnership that was truly our own.

The kids would be responsible for chores, but not so much that the homestead mimicked a sweatshop. Setting the table, clearing up after dinner, taking care of the chickens and bringing in fire wood. Maybe a load of laundry now and then and cleaning their room. Homesteading off the grid provides plenty of opportunities for learning good, solid life skills.

Modern Homesteading Family Rules We Loosely Follow

modern homesteadingPerhaps the most important thing about our modern homesteading family list is that there is a purpose behind each element. Each of the 8 rules must accomplish something beyond the act of seeing it completed. A lesson is involved. A way to improve our lives and do our part in making the world a better place. I suppose these can be relative depending on who is doing the chore.

Homesteading today is an idea of multiple uses, where each rule results in the action as well as something other than that. The concept derives from our homesteading nature. Everything must provide for more than one use. If we incorporate new livestock or tools into our spread, they must fill more than one need.

The chickens provide eggs and meat and lessons in husbandry for the kids. The tractor can not only move dirt, but plow snow and provide heavy lifting. The dogs offer companionship and love as well as protection for the other animals.

Therefore, each of our homesteading family rules must also provide more than one result in order for us to add it to the list.

Our Modern Homesteading Family

modern homesteading family
So, on to our modern homesteading family rules. I guess it sounds like it would be an dictatorial decree. It's not, and in fact, we don't always remember to practice what we preach. That's OK. Sometimes we get distracted and pass them by altogether. I'm notorious for forgetting the recycled grocery bags at home when I go shopping. 

The rules are there essentially to help us remember to take a mindful approach with our actions and help make better world. This is either through raising good and empathic children, or doing something more immediate like recycling.

These are our current rules:
  • Chores are done in the morning and evening to not only get the task accomplished and help maintain the homestead, but to reinforce responsibility for one's actions. Mastering the task provides a lifeskill in preparation for adulthood.
  • Use recycled grocery bags when shopping. This rule is one Wendie developed, and is meant to not only reduce our use of plastic, but also to simplify getting groceries from the truck to the house as few trips as possible.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. Again, this reduces our trash waste in the community but also reduces the 'stuff' in the house. Each weekly trip to the transfer station has at least one box of donations.
  • Be a good neighbor. Take every opportuntiy to help someone out without looking for an angle of personal benefits. 
  • Tell no lies. Our family is based on trust and honesty, and though the truth may be hard, it is always better than a lie. Always.
  • Shoes come off at the front door. We are a homesteading family, so there's a lot of ickiness that gets on your boots and shoes. Though it's obvious during mud season, dirt still comes in during the summer and winter. This also lets us survey the line up to see who needs new shoes.
  • We plan meals with with leftovers in mind. Each meal must have at least two other meals planned into it. This improves our food budget and ensures that chickens we harvest don't die just so only the dark meat gets eaten.
  • Any food scraps, minus meat, goes into the scrap bowl for the chickens. This reduces our need for store-bought grain and varies our ladies' diets considerably for a healthier flock.

Homesteading Off the Grid

homesteading off the gridModern homesteading today is a combination of instilling values in the next generation, reducing our consumer footprint on the planet and doing what we can for ourselves. Homesteading off the grid allows us do all of that with our kids, teaching them a better way of living. 

Each day, our society is inundated with marketing messages designed to keep up the consumer credit/debt cycle. So many useless things cross ours path that falsely promise to make life better.

They don't, but are cleverly designed to provide a little boost in our pleasure centers with joyful colors, promises of cleaner toilets or healthier sugar snacks. As a homesteading family, we teach our kids to be mindful of the media and it's messages so they can see through the bull and come to a conclusion on their own. Do what you can for yourself and buy only what you need. Our rules help them accomplish that.

The rules are also in place to keep things running smoothly on our little homestead. Animals need to be well looked after if they are going to contribute. The house needs to stay organized and clean so we can live a clutter-free, healthy life. We need to love and respect one another so we can all be better people.

Homesteading Today

homesteading today
As a modern homesteading family, the goal is to improve our lot in life by removing the disposable, one-and-done influences of the consumption-driven world. By raising kids who will see beyond the curtain and learn to develop their own ethics and independence, we believe this will translate to a stronger community. I think that's the best we can ask of the next generation.

We love sharing our life on the homestead with you all, and want to hear from you. What are some of your homesteading family values and what do you hope to achieve through homesteading today? Let us know by joining the conversation below!


Mike Hancock said…
Great read! Congratulations to you guys on several levels.
WT Abernathy said…
Mike! You gotta come visit. Private bass fishing off the dock near the beer cooler, light farm work, seclusion and privacy for writing the next Great American Novel... Wendie might even let you drive the tractor:)
Unknown said…
Great list! We use chores for many of these same benefits, not just getting the job done. We've also found that each family member has at least one chore she especially likes which makes chore time seem less tedious. (And hooray, our girls love doing dishes, which I don't love, so that's win-win!)
WT said…
It's only partial, but definitely a reality around here:) How groovy that your girls love doing dishes! Elizabeth does them as part of her chore list as a trade off for her sister Carolyn to do the wood stove tasks.

We do have a caveat that if the kids want to swap chores they can, but it's yet to happen. They are pretty content with their lot.

Unknown said…
This is great! We are trying to do many of the same things with the hope of raising good adults. If only I could get my husband to take his boots off at the door!
WT said…
If it makes you feel any better, I tend to forget to remove my boots now and then, too. It's not that I'm stubborn, just that I have a lot going on in my head and push aside the things I think aren't important (though they really are). But, if that happens, I'll be happy to clean up after myself-
Cheers, and thanks for dropping in:)