Since I blog on other sites, sometimes I like to share what I’ve written somewhere else. This particular article on homesteading and homeschooling is a good introduction into our current lives!
Our current projects
Our family has bitten off a homesteading project. It’s a whole-family deal, and definitely a life-changing process for us! We find that it goes right along with out homeschooling journey!
We are doing our best to move towards sustainable preparedness, which simply means that we are going in the direction of being completely off-grid, while having a sustainable way to provide what we need. Sustainable means something that regenerates itself, like the sun, wind, or something that you can harness from nature. In other words, you aren’t dependent on buying things that keep your way of life going.
Desiring and striving
Let me just say, we are not there yet! We are desiring, striving, and taking steps to get there, though. So far, we are technically off grid, in that we aren’t on the power grid, but since we still have to buy gas to run our generators and propane to cook with, we are not sustainable yet. But, we only moved into our property a few months ago, we are in the middle of building our cabin, and are living in our RV while we do that, so we are making steps. Even just me typing this has been a great reminder to me of how far we’ve already come in our journey!
How Homesteading fits with Homeschooling
We obviously homeschool, and this year had been the most difficult in terms of “normal” school days and “typical” courses of study, but it has also been the most rich with real-life learning and mentoring experiences, so it has been such a blessing!
I thought someone may be curious to take a peek into our world, in case they wonder if they could survive such an experience. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look in the form of a Jeff Foxworthy-style laundry list. So, in the spirit of “You Might be a Redneck,” here’s my version.
You Might be a Homesteading Homeschooler (or the Teacher of one) if…
So…I thought I’d go “professional” with my blogging! I have enjoyed blogging off and on (mostly off recently), and I wanted to spiff up my WordPress.com blog and get more serious about blogging! I’d let my homeschool blog go dormant for awhilewith life, drama, moving, schoolwork, and home projects filling in the gaps.
Since I clearly have nothing to do, I’ve decided to get into blogging again! I enjoy writing, and am eager to get back in the saddle.
First things first
But…my husband needed his website set up. “No problem,” I thought. “I’ve used WordPress.com to blog. Shouldn’t be much to it! I’ll bet I can do it and save him $100!”
I’ll set up my husband’s WordPress self-hosted website
And so I dove right in! I was eager to get moving along, so that I could get to my real goal of setting up my own self-hosted blog. I blundered through that set up. It only took me about five days to set up a simple website, a process that I’d read could take place in thirty minutes. That seems to be life for me! If anyone is curious, https://www.littleastree.com/here is my husband’s site, which still needs some tweaking, but is live!
Learn WP.org as you go…
Setting up my husband’s site was not difficult. I just had never done plug-ins, knew nada about SEOs, or anything that was not already loaded onto the basic WordPress.com site. Let me say that although I got pretty frustrated at how long I took to get it done, I really did learn a lot. I eventually came to rely on the http://WPBeginner.com site—and this is not a commercial for them. However, I truly was a beginner at the self-hosted world, and appreciated the step by-step tutorials.
Setting up my OWN WP.org site
Once I succeeded in getting my husband’s website set up, which is a very simple site, I plunged ahead into setting up my own self-hosted blogging site. Purchasing my domain and obtaining my web hosting was super simple. I opted to go with SiteGround, because of the good reviews I’d read. I believe that this could have been a good host for my blogging adventure, but it did not turn out to work for me. Here’s why (and let me just say that it took me two long days of tech support by chat, phone, calls to the phone company, and more to determine this information): We are off grid. Therefore, in our location, we can’t get internet service, and I rely on my cell phone’s hotspot. This works out great for us in most way. We have no worries about an internet bill, can pretty much watch what we want on YouTube and Amazon Prime, and we have unlimited minutes and data, so everybody’s happy.
Happy bubble bursting. I can’t use my hotspot for my self hosted blog.
Start writing or type / to choose a block
Our happy world ended when I tried to use my hotspot to power my self-hosted site. Everything seemed to work well, except that I COULD NOT get into cPanel. Not with the app, nor with the connection via SiteGround. Initially, I thought that I was doing something wrong. However, after consulting many online forums, clearing all my caches and cookies, and doing everything else suggested by tech support, we still could not access the control panel. Finally, I took a trip into town to log onto my parents’ computer, and voila! I logged in successfully on the first try! Then I knew what I had suspected—it was a problem with me using my hotspot for the internet.
Static IP Address needed
It all boiled down to my IP address. Turns out that when using a cell phone, at least with our service (Cricket), the IP address is not static, and logging into cPanel requires a static IP. This is the layman’s explanation. Someone smarter about tech stuff could explain this better than I can, but if you can’t get your phone company to assign a static IP, then a hotspot won’t work. Apparently, some internet providers can do this. For us, it would work out much better if we had a regular internet service, but, alas, that’s just not a possibility for us on our off-grid homestead.
The story continues…
I canceled SiteGround and signed up for DreamHost, because they were one of the few web hosting services that does not use cPanel. That was easy too.
Getting WordPress installed up via the one click WordPress was simple. But when I got there, I didn’t find all of the familiar features like my .com blogging site boasted. I know you’re thinking, “Duh! That’s so obvious!” Obvious or not, logging onto a blank WordPress site is still somewhat disconcerting.
My blog transfer
The WPbeginner.com site proved to be helpful here also. I just followed their basic tutorial for setting up a WordPress site, transfer your old blog to a new, and the one about which plugins to use if you’re just beginning. That went well, except that only two-thirds of my old blog posts migrated with the transfer, and at least half of those had mixed up pictures–as in the photo from one post showed up on the wrong post. Very frustrating!
Why? I had no idea why the old posts did not transfer properly, so I used the WP Reset plugin and deleted everything and tried several times more. No success, and could not find any forums to help me. I figured I would need to just transfer those manually.
My first blog post
Now I moved onto writing my new post. I used the tips from Yoast SEO to get my post up to SEO standards, and this is where I made a big assumption that caused me a lot of grey hairs! I noticed that my post settings (permalinks) only showed the date and time, not the title of my post. Naturally, I wanted to be SEO visible, so I CHANGED THE PERMALINK SETTINGS! BIG MISTAKE! Only, I was too green to know what I’d done.
Don’t change the permalinks on your blog posts unless it’s not live, or unless you know what you’re doing!
(I will say that I have read that choosing the POST permalink structure is better to be seen via SEO than the default settings, but it’s just important that you don’t do it if you already have many posts, or if you don’t know how to go into your code to fix the broken permalinks it could cause)
Anyway, I blissfully kept on blogging, adding my affiliate links, my SEO titles, and just what I thought I was supposed to be doing. My new messages got linked to my old WordPress.com site so that the WP reader could see them. I had no idea that me clicking that little box had caused my site to actually go invisible! Naively, I believed that since my site was brand new, that those settings wouldn’t be a big deal. But every time I linked my blog, it apparently caused more jumbles in my code. Maybe it was because I’d migrated many posts, which had a permalink setting one way, and my new ones had a different permalink structure.
Eventually, I tried to go out of my site and log in, and noticed a white screen with the “Index Of” message across the top. Strange. But since I could still get in via my WordPress login, I didn’t worry about it. I kept making changes, to get my old posts up to date, to make my site more visible, etc. But, I did notice that sometimes I’d still see that Index Of message. It wasn’t until I consistently tried logging in as a guest that I started to get that queasy feeling. My site was inaccessible from the outside. Nobody could see it, no matter how great it looked to me from inside! Aargh!
Back to the forums and tutorials I headed! Most of the tips I found involved going into my blogging site’s code and making changes, most of which I had no idea how to even do! I watched multiple videos, tried the suggestions that I could understand, and got nowhere.
Next I went into my files via FileZilla, and followed the videos that I found promising to fix my error, but kept hitting a brick wall! I literally got to the point of tears, because this process took place over a week’s time, from when I got my site going until that point. SO MUCH TIME wasted over that simple click!
A Birthday Wish
My birthday came. I was DETERMINED to get this site up and running, because all I wanted to do was blog! My husband noticed my dismay, and he had also heard about all of my woes! He asked kindly, “Have you prayed about this?”
“Yes, a little.”
Actually, I had cried to the Lord in my distress, but just had not felt like I could hear any answer at all. Well, not any answers that I wanted to hear, anyway. I had just taken some prayer time, and had the idea of just deleting every post, but quickly dismissed that, since I didn’t know if it would help.
“Have you considered just erasing everything and starting over?”
“Yes, I have, I just didn’t want to lose everything.” But, in reality, I had already lost days of productivity, and with my experience so far, I knew that the setting up of the site was the easy part, as long as I didn’t click anything that I shouldn’t!
Finally, even though I did not really want to admit defeat, I had peace. I would go back to square one. Half my posts needed fixing anyway, because of the transfer, and I knew I could get it right this time.
I decided to go about it like a chicken at first–I’d delete my posts first to see if that would fix things. I found a plug-in called WordPress Reset, that promised to keep my theme and plugins. We did the reset, which worked properly; but I found that I still had that Index Of error on my site. After that, I just did a complete uninstall through my DreamHost web hosting side, then went ahead and did the One Click Install again.
Back to square one
After this very long tale of my errors, I quickly set up my new WordPress blog site. This is my new first post for my blogging journey. It took me days of frustration to get here, but I am finally happy to say that I am launching my new blogging journey here!
Maybe I will still try to migrate my old site into this one, but one at a time, as I get the time!
What is the take-home lesson?
While this is a homschooling blog, it is also a blog about learning lessons of life. If I can help even one person to resist the urge to click on that permalink button, I will save one person a ton of tears! And for anyone who is chuckling by now at my foolish blunders, just be happy that you know better than to make the mistakes that I’ve made!
Watch for more true stories from our home in the future! And good luck as you try to set up you own WordPress self-hosted blog! Happy blogging!
I am reblogging this in its entirety here, because I am having difficulties with my self-hosted site. When I get it up and running again, this post will appear there.
Have you considered an apprenticeship in your Homeschool plan?
I am excited to share some experiences that I believe will turn your home education journey into a memorable and enriching time–using homeschool apprenticeship!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you use my link, I will receive a small percentage, and you don’t pay any more!
This is the core of my homeschooling philosophy: apprenticeship.
Homeschool Apprenticeship is learning at its best–whole-body, hands-on, fully engaged! This is what our family has been involved in this year, and is total immersion learning.
I wrote this article for our homeschooling blog site, and found that it resonated with many families. Especially with boys, this kind of learning is key to getting the whole child involved and engaged.
First wall going up!
Homeschool Apprenticeship — what is it?
Why would a homeschooling parent want to find out, and how could it help your child to prepare for his adult life? I hope to answer some of these questions, as well as give a peek into a homeschoolapprenticeship experience our boys have been enjoying recently.
This post will especially focus on our young men, but if you have young ladies, take the principles and adapt them to their unique situations and skills.
Consider this statement by John Taylor Gatto, former public school teacher, and now an advocate for a different way of educating.
“Independent study, community service, adventures and experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships — the one-day variety or longer — these are all powerful, cheap, and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force open the idea of ‘school’ to include family as the main engine of education,” John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
Definition of Apprenticeship
1: a position as an apprentice: an arrangement in which someone learns an art, trade, or job under another
He obtained an apprenticeship with a carpenter.
So, apprenticeship is just a word that means “learning under someone else,” and is usually thought of as a period of time in which someone with a talent/skill helps to communicate that skill to another. In former days, this was a primary way of obtaining a means of employment, since a higher education was out of the reach of many. You will remember that many famous men served as apprentices — Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Jesus.
I think of apprenticeships as opportunities for our youth to get their hands into a skill that they are interested in, which can help them to see if they’d be interested in doing that for their life work. I also see them as a neat way to experience a new interest in order to gain a talent, which would broaden their horizons. Also, an apprenticeship could be a way to see what a talented craftsman or artist does, and decide whether they would want to pursue it or not, but in a more active way, since they’d be helping, not just observing.
Now, while it’s true that in former years, apprentices served an average of seven years, this is not the type of apprenticeship I am suggesting, as an active homeschooler. Rather, I am thinking of shorter-term home school apprenticeships in order to help our youth to get a feel for something they’re interested in, or to learn a useful skill that could help them provide for themselves, whether or not that’s what they ultimately do for a career. These experiences could take place over the whole school year, many years, or just a few days or weeks, depending on your needs. But, long or short, I believe that these experiences will serve an important role in your young person’s educational experience.
“When children reach a suitable age, they should be provided with tools. If their work is made interesting, they will be found apt pupils in the use of tools. If the father is a carpenter, he should give his boys lessons in house building, ever bringing into his instruction lessons from the Bible, the words of Scripture in which the Lord compares human beings to His building,” Child Guidance 355.4.
In our homeschool…
With that in mind, here’s how our current homeschool apprenticeship is happening. Much of this has been happening over the summer months, but as we begin our school year, we will continue it, just working it into our school routine. I’ll be honest — it may take over our school day sometimes, which will mean squeezing more hours in with the books on the off days. But, we believe in hands-on learning, so some of the apprenticeship hours will count for electives in high school, and the work/service aspect of our lower-graders.
We chose carpentry as our current area to explore. Actually, it chose us, or fell into our laps. It’s natural to choose what is close and accessible. We’re in a building project (workshop/future house), so what better opportunity than the one in our own backyard? Think about your circumstances when you choose your homeschool apprenticeship.
Here’s what we are doing.
Make up class outline, based for the building experience off the Pathfinder honor in carpentry. (me)
Record number of hours worked each week, and have supervisor sign off, and fill out a work experience log report (with space for suggestions for improvement). I made up a sheet that we are using, but am probably going to switch to the one off the NARHS page since it has a grade. (Work Experience LogNARHS one)
Record skills learned as they go, on the work experience log.
Print pictures for a portfolio. (me)
To wrap it up
At the end (we haven’t gotten there yet), I plan to have the boy(s) write up a paper on what they learned. Since we are not technically in school yet (summer break), I’m not adding this in yet, but for each major section or skill, I will have them type up a summary of how it was done. For instance, framing the walls, building stairs, roofing, making the floors/ceilings, etc.
By the time we are done with the project, our boys will have witnessed and participated in every aspect of taking a standing tree, helping in the felling of it, observing it getting cut and milled into lumber, and helping in the sorting and drying process, and will have seen (plus helped) that same lumber get utilized in the construction of a building. Pretty awesome to be a part of that process, in my opinion! It’s a true homeschool apprenticeship!
This post contains an affiliate link, meaning that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, but you won’t pay anything more.
Here’s a fun article I wrote for my other homeschool site.
In case you wonder what types of crafts you could incorporate into your homeschool, that almost EVERYONE can do, check it out!
*Since I am currently having trouble with my self-hosted site, linked here at the bottom, I am just posting the entire article here, so you don’t have to go over to the other site to see it. When I get the other site fixed, it will be back over there!
YOU CAN KNIT A HAT!!
As promised, I am slowly bringing some of my blog posts from other sites where I blog. Why not?
Here is a fun one, and maybe will inspire one of your kiddos to pick up an easy hobby–or maybe you, yourself! Hey–I did it, so why not you?
Learn to knit a hat…if you can’t knit!
I never learned to knit! I always thought it would be neat, but for some reason, I have a knitter’s block. I can crochet, and enjoy it immensely. So, when our church hosted a “Learn to Knit a Slouchy Hat in Two Hours” class a couple of years ago, I eagerly showed up with my beautiful brown yarn and my knitting needles. Let me just say that WAY before the two hours arrived, I could see that I would not be heading home with a slouchy hat to wear. I was, at the one-hour mark, still trying desperately to figure out the whole casting on process, and the knitting basics. While others around me chattered away about “pearl this one,” or was that “purl”…and “knit that one,” I felt completely incompetent. Tears streamed down my face and I just wondered how I could get out of there. Gone were my dreams of a cute hat. Gone was my money for supplies. I literally gave away my circle knitting needles to a couple of other knitters, along with some of the yarn I’d brought. I’d never be a knitter!
A friend noticed my dismay, and sidled up to me to show me the way knitting is done. Only, she was from another country, and had learned another way! So, while the little bit I thought I understood was swirling inside my head, she clucked out yet another method, which she promised was far superior to the way the teacher was instructing us. Talk about confused! That didn’t actually help me, because then I felt in conflict over which way to choose. Another good friend, ironically, from yet another country, came to sit with me and walk me through it. But her broken English and way of describing the process just got me so befuddled that I didn’t know which way to turn. Sigh! Knitting just didn’t click with me. “Oh, well,” I thought, “at least I enjoy crocheting!”
And that was that. No hat, no knitting.
I wish I could say that one day I just rose up out of my non-knitting ability and conquered it. But, that did not happen. I have come to terms with the fact that crocheting is my thing, and other people can knit away!
However, another thing happened, and I am OK with it. Some time later, at the same church, with some of the same people, another class was held. The lady instructing it assured me that even a child could make the knitted hats she would be teaching. She told me that anybody could do it, and that this project would be easy! Well…I have to admit that I was a little needle-shy by then, but a part of me really did want to learn to make a knitted hat. So, I bought a Loom kit, grabbed some old yarn that I had on hand, and took my middle son along with me, just to have someone to share in the misery this time, in case it turned out like the last class.
This class was very different, though. It was easy! My son picked it up right away, and I did too! Soon, we both could whip out a hat that actually did look like a hat, and we were off to experience a hobby that everyone could succeed at! Before long, my other sons had their looms wrapped in yarn and began to crank out hats for stuffed animals, Grandpa, Daddy, and just anyone with a head! What fun!
At some point, we were gifted with a scarf/blanket loom, so the boys tried their hands at that too! We found that this craft was a good step up from those potholder looms that we had so enjoyed until everyone we knew had plenty of potholders!
My point here is to show you a craft that just about every child (and adult) can succeed at. It doesn’t take all that long to make a complete project, so it gives a sense of accomplishment right away as you see your rows piling up.
Because any kind of craft project is kind of visual, I am going to show a few pictures of some of the hats and scarves my boys have made. We’ve given some away, and some were made by my friend’s boys, who are younger than 8.
Now that you’ve seen a few items you can make with the knitting looms, you can be assured that anyone who wants to can learn to knit on a loom! All of the hats and scarves were made by children and youth. It’s a really fun way to spend reading times —with some knitting or doing another craft, it gives hands work while the ears listen.
Loom tool. This will come with your kit. You may need additional ones for multiple knitters.
Yarn! Here’s where you get to be creative! You’ll need two skeins to make the hat thick enough. Sometimes we even do 3 skeins for a really thick hat, or use bulky yarn, and even then, I’d use at least two strands. You won’t use the whole skeins, but have to have them to knit together during your project.
Scissors, yarn needle. You’ll need these at the end.
I decided that the best way to show you this project is to just link you to what helped me, rather than making a whole new video. I like to see someone doing the craft in person, but a good video is also quite helpful.
There are tons of good videos showing how to loom knit. I watched many before feeling confident, so just browse YouTube until you find one that clicks with your learning style. But, I would start out very basic — don’t try to add any stitches besides the plain knitting stitch until you’ve gotten the hang of it, and then you’ll feel like branching out maybe. This is pretty much what my first hat looked like (above video). I was proud because it really did look like a hat, and, in fact, was one! I added a cute pom pom to the top, and gave it as a gift! My dad wears it all over the place, so I feel like it was a success!
Now, after a little practice in their hat-making abilities, my boys have gotten to the point where they make hats as gifts themselves, and they’re getting to where the scarves are becoming easy as well! You can make a scarf on the same loom, by the way, just don’t go all the way around, and knit back and forth. I just found it easier to use the flat loom since I was given one.
Once you get the basics down, the sky’s the limit on what kind of hats you can make! You can make stripes, heathered patterns, brims or not, pom poms or not, and all kinds of other creative twists to the basic hat.
The take-away message of this post is to remind you of the fact that there will be skills that you and your children will pick right up and fly with, and there will be other skills that seem so much harder for you or your child than they “should” be. Maybe some can learn to knit, or draw, or carve, or whatever, in the traditional way, and have no trouble at all! And maybe others really want to learn skills that just don’t click, even though they are trying their best. Just remember the knitting loom and my flop at knitting, and remember that every person can find something that he or she is good at! Maybe it will involve knitting! 🙂
I am beginning the journey of starting a self-hosted blog! This is an exciting and terrifying adventure, honestly!
I’ve already made more than my share of mistakes on the process, but it is coming along!
I want to invite you to come over to my new blog and be my follower! I am literally building my site from scratch, but I believe that in the end, it will be worth it!
Currently, I am in the process of transferring my posts from this site to my new one. I did the transfer, but only succeeded in transferring a portion of my posts, oddly enough. So, over the next few weeks/days/however long it takes, I will be manually transferring them, and the site will begin to look more familiar, as far as posts.
If you have opted to follow my blog here, please don’t be surprised if you see that you’ve been directed to the new site. On the new site, I will continue to share about our home educating journey, and the lessons we’ve learned, and are currently learning.
For the time being, I will also be posting from my new site to this site via the Press This option. That way, new posts will show up in my Reader, but eventually, I will close this one down. But, I am following the advice I read about on another blog article, suggesting that I can better direct readers to my new blog in this way. We shall see!
Feel free to add ideas and comments. Maybe I jumped the gun on my self-hosted site, but with the direction I’d like to go, I am going with the best information that I have.