How to Get a Homesteading Family Education

Education isn’t complete with a full curriculum program and a tidy set of books. In fact, I hope you’ll agree with me that education is useless without the wisdom to make good use of what is learned. As I write this, we are coming into summer in a few days, and my homesteading family has spent the last month establishing our homestead on our new property in Saskatchewan. Homesteading is not new to us, but going from an acre and a half to 50 acres has opened up many more options for our self-reliant lifestyle – and lots of opportunity to put our learning into action.

Our growing homestead in Saskatchewan

When you look at official definitions of homestead, you’ll see that they are mostly in reference to a house and the land around it occupied by a family or a section of land acquired under a homestead law or act. The Dominions Land Act covered what are now the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to encourage settlement in the West.


Homesteaders, who were immigrants from other countries, were given three years to build a habitable residence, clear the land for farming, and cultivate a certain area annually. Essentially, they had to be self-sufficient and be able to live off the land and not depend on resources outside of their “homestead” to survive. If they achieved this, they were awarded ownership of the land they worked.


Nowadays when the talk is on homesteading, it’s still about a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, but it’s not an all or nothing situation as it was for settlers populating western Canada in the late 1800s. Back then, families would endure a tough life as they were establishing unworked land, but today we have many resources to ease into the homesteading lifestyle in big and little ways.


Self-Sustainable Skills in Your Home

I want to encourage you to pick up some homesteading skills, even if your cozy home happens to be in an apartment with no land to call your own. Homesteading is more about being less reliant on outside sources for everything you need or want than any specific activity like growing food or raising animals for food. I’ll get into that too, but when I didn’t have much land (in beautiful central Ontario where rock is abundant and soil is not!), I spent more time on indoor homesteading than outdoor homesteading.


Even if you aren’t that interested in the long-term application of skills like baking bread, preserving food, sewing, growing food or raising animals, you can just make individual learning opportunities instead of a lifestyle choice. But you and your children may find that after you take on some of these lessons on homesteading, you get hooked on a few of these healthy alternatives to food and daily living.


No matter what your home is you can easily learn and benefit from food preservation in its many forms. You don’t have to be the one that has grown the food (added bonus if you did though!), but you’ll get the most nutritional benefits from food that you source from local gardens and which has been grown naturally. It could also be organic, but since that term gets used more nowadays for produce and meat that has been grown under certified organic practices, I use the word “naturally” to include the many small farms that use natural approaches to farming but haven’t gone through the official (and expensive) process to be certified organic.

Education on Homesteading: Family Activities

One article would be way too long to cover the various skills of homesteading. These are really just skills that the majority of families would do just to live day-to-day in the early 1900s and before. So most of these processes are made a bit easier than they once were with electricity and indoor water supply, but it’s a total kickback to those days of old. 

I tend to look at the Bible times for inspiration on how to provide food for my family as I believe God has made this an easy process for us to feed our bodies what it needs to be healthy with all that He has created in plants and animals.

Whether you want to do some canning, drying, freezing, fermenting, curing or smoking, you can practice some of the simpler methods and move on to the more involved ones as your knowledge and confidence grows! Here’s a list of links to give you some learning material for homesteading lessons.

Preserving the Summer Harvest – This includes a recipe on fermenting vegetables and some other links to learn more about preserving processes.

How to Make Sourdough Bread – Get the knowledge from this homeschool mom who regularly makes sourdough bread for her family and homesteads on 6.5 acres in Northern Alberta.

Preserving the Fruits of Our Labour Through Canning – Read about the reasons for canning, ways to do canning, and get a few recipes to try in your kitchen.

Homeschooling – A Part of Homesteading – One mom shares her family’s homesteading lifestyle and how educating her children is just another part of the homesteading life.

Preserving the Harvest – A good overview article on the home preservation methods of canning, pickling (a process of canning), drying, and freezing.

The Homestead Act – Beginning the Move West – Focused on the homesteading life portrayed in the Little House on the Prairie tv series and books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this article shares a bit about the reasons people were drawn to the hard life of a homesteader. The Homestead Act of 1862 in the U.S. was very similar to the Dominions Land Act of 1872 in Canada and also appealed to individuals and families for similar reasons.

 Fall Nature Study: Saving Seeds – Learn the incredibly simple process of saving seeds from your harvest. (This can also work for naturally grown or organic produce that you buy.) I have really just started saving seeds to replant the following year, but I should have been doing this easy self-sufficiency task years ago!

Homesteading Family Video Channel – As their motto states, they are helping families grow, preserve, and thrive! This couple seems to share about every aspect of self-sustainable living, either from their own life or by having other guests on their videos. I just started watching videos from this channel about 6 months ago when I was searching for ways to use an abundance of eggs and their video on glassing eggs. (Yeah, I had never heard of this type of preserving either. It got me hooked!)


Living the Way God Has Called Us To

In my many years of homesteading in big and little ways, I have found that it’s really more a calling from God to live this kind of lifestyle than any great idea I have had. Life is simpler even though I take more time in getting our food in our bodies than I used to. We have so many activities that we do as a family now than we ever had, and while it can be classified as work, it feels like a much better way to spend our time together. I like to call it work and play all wrapped into one!

The coop we had in a part of the shed on our 1.5 acre homestead.
In this shot, we have barred rock chickens, an artisan gold turkey and one black, fluffy rabbit.

We have really just started raising more animals for meat since we moved in the spring of 2022 to 50 acres in Saskatchewan from an acre and a half in Ontario, but on our smaller property, we still raised chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat and preserved some of our favourite foods like salsa, pickles, tomato sauce, and ketchup. We had never had a big enough harvest to preserve completely from our own garden, but farmer’s markets and local vegetable stands always had a good supply to buy.


While you may not desire to be more self-sufficient in full homesteading fashion, you can have some excellent science and history lessons from taking on the skills that built the foundation of our country. It will make you and your family more resilient and give your children experience in skills that will only benefit them, even if just for the sake of learning.

Stephanie Morrison has been building businesses, mostly from home, for over 10 years, motivated by her strong determination that her two youngest boys would be educated at home. She works for The Old Schoolhouse® on the Canadian team and also coaches and trains entrepreneurs to start and grow their business from home. She and her family are perfectly placed in the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada. She loves being a homebody and building up her permaculture property. Learn more about Steph at

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).