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Farm Day Epiphany: Be With Your Kids

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on the farm

Recently, Trevor and I had the opportunity to attend a homeschool class by ourselves. It was really nice to spend the day with just him, out in the sunshine. A local metroparks system runs a farm park. Lake Farmpark is a “family-orientated science and cultural center devoted to agriculture, farming, and country life” located in Kirtland, Ohio. They are open year round, and families can come let their kids experience milking a cow, touching the other farm animals, watching a border collie herd sheep, and much more. Throughout the year, they open up to schools and other groups for field trips, and offer classes specifically designed for homeschoolers.

This class was themed, “Springtime on the Farm,” and we looked forward to seeing all of the baby animals, grinding some corn, and helping the workers do some planting. We really had a nice time. The sun was shining, but there was a wonderful breeze that kept it cool and comfortable.

When we arrived we were sent to the milking parlor where a Farmpark worker talked about cows: what they eat, how their milk is extracted with pumps {no longer the hand-milking of the past}, and then sent to holding containers until the dairy truck comes to pick it up. Incredibly, as she said this, the dairy truck pulled up and we watched the driver hook up to the containers, empty them, and drive away. Then, each of the kids hand-milked the cow she had been talking about.

After that, we went to the hillside and helped plant some potatoes, and then onto learn about the Farmpark’s beehives. I loved this class. The instructor was really good, and though Trevor and I both have taken classes about bees at other field trips and programs, we still learned a lot. From there, we went to a classroom to learn about grain. I think the teacher in this class did a phenomenal job because the subject required more sitting than the kids had been doing and they were definitely getting antsy. She adapted it to include more volunteer time as she walked the kids through tools that were used far in the past for threshing and grinding through the tools that are used today. Trevor was even able to jump up and down on a pile of wheat to separate the berry – Just what my hyperactive boy needed!

Finally, Trevor and I made our way to the area he had been looking forward to the most – The Well-Bred Shed. This is where the goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and turkeys are kept, and we knew that there would be babies. In fact, we caught the piglets nursing:

Nursing Piglets

I love opportunities like this – spending time one-on-one with my kids doing something out of the ordinary. And, about halfway through the classes, I realized why: I felt closer to him by the end of the afternoon. He slowed down, matched his pace to mine, talked of dreams and plans, told me he loved me {repeatedly and unprompted}, and released the competitiveness that envelops him lately. He seemed like my little boy again, not a “too cool” nine year old.

Yesterday, I wrote about Ashley Pichea’s new eBook, 51 Frugal Father-Daughter Dates, and I urge you to take this message to heart: Your kids need you to give them time. I read a fabulous post today by a blogger I adore about the “In a Minute Mom,” and realized how often I do that – tell my kids I’ll get to it “in a minute,” and then realize later {sometimes days later} that I never gave them the time they wanted. While I can’t always drop everything to do what they want, when they want it, I can do it more often.

My kids, your kids, won’t remember that the house was clean, the car was washed, the paperwork was caught up, but they will remember a day on the farm with you. They’ll remember a “date” for apple juice and pastry at Starbucks. They’ll talk to their kids about donuts on Sunday after church. These are the memories that count. Create them – your family will thank you.

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Colleen