Joining in Farm Life Year ’round…
Many of our Programs are for children 6 to 12 years old. They are designed for small groups of no more than 12-16 children at a time or whole classes with teachers. It is a small organic farm in the rolling hills near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Summer programs are from 9 AM to 3 PM, Monday to Friday. During the summer we will offer seven individual one week sessions. In addition, one week we will offer a shorter 3 day program for 4-9 year olds.
On weekends during the Fall and Spring, Saturday programs introduce the many seasonal variations in farm life. Most Saturdays are for grade-school children, but family days are also scheduled. Just coming for animal chores in the morning can also happen any week day but must be individually set up.
Classes and other groups can make reservations for sleep-over trips or day trips. 8 Children minimum.
This is, literally, a hands-on farm experience.
We are not so interested in perfect results (like a perfectly weeded garden!) What we are after is for the children to get the taste of themselves in action doing something that is needed here on the farm!
Should we call it Needucation? What does a homestead like this require from YOU, is the question.
The goal for us here is to expose the children to two things:
- The farm and its needs.
- Their own ability to meet that need.
In practice this means among other things:
Letting children do the planting of the onions, even though the row will not be quite straight.
Letting the child tether the sheep, even though maybe the knot will not hold! (The child may need to have the experience of seeing the sheep run into the garden, and having us all try to catch it….)
Making the pie all by himself…with some edges too thick and maybe not quite cooked. It’s going to taste delicious anyway!
Clearing the table and hanging out the table cloths on the line.
That means: not shielding the children from the reality of the work needed in the world. Of course, this can only be a taste of the work involved. We have the rule that everyone must try everything once.
How do children get connected to their environment? Only by plunging in and DOING things themselves. The children LOVE it! Why? Because they found out something more about themselves in the process! The end result is that the children feel they own the place!
At least 4 Activities every morning–
All children will be active with each of these themes for about 45 minutes each.
- Animals. Milking the cow or the sheep or cleaning the stalls, fetching eggs etc.
- Gardening. Weeding, pulling carrots or some other vegetable, harvesting fruits, etc.
- Cooking “from scratch” for the group lunch. All food, snacks and the hot “farmer’s” lunch will be made from organic foods if at all possible.
- Field. Mending and building fences and gates, digging and removing invasive plants and stones.
Afternoons always involve some clean-up chores, a little free play or making some natural crafts.
Singing between tasks!
In the full week summer camp programs, there is singing three times a day. We learn songs from around the world, and love to learn new songs from participants! On the last day, a performance for the parents will feature these songs. The kids also will receive their “Real Work” Diplomas.
Who are the Animals Living Here:
Besides all the earthworms, caterpillars, ants and flies
Our very friendly Jersey cow, Kua, and her pal Daisy, who gave birth to her calf, Isadora Duncan, calf this winter!
50+ sheep both meat and wool producers,
2 pigs over the summer,
a number of barn cats – and Elsa the farm dog.
Homesteading and Trying on Real Work
Experiencing doing these activities for REAL is very exciting to grade school children. Again and again we see the children come alive as they fully sense life on the farm and see how they, themselves, are connected with everything…