Teaching our children
My spouse and I have successfully raised 3 kids outside the box. My advice is: find a community of like-minded people to share the experience with. Anything you do beyond the borders of the mainstream comes with a "contrary tax." It will be harder and less well-suported, which makes sense when you consider that – despite the American ideal of the "rugged individualist" – we are at core tribal creatures. A lot of energy is spent trying to keep the flock together, because our survival as primates depends on working communally.
My Journey into living against the grain and experience with "contrary taxation" began in my mid-twenties. My spouse and I built our own home before we had kids and that was difficult – no bank would finance amateur builders or a property over 5 acres, because it couldn’t be "resold" on the mortgage market. So we did without and built our place as the money trickled in. We homesteaded (while holding down "regular" jobs) and found that strattling the "professional" world with our back-to-the-land efforts was tough. We tried to have home births – and that bordered on the illegal. When our kids became school-age we homeschooled our children, but since we lived in a remote part of the state we found they needed (and actually we did too) more community. So we moved. We found a strong humanist (non-fundalmentalist christian) homeschool community a couple hours away and relocated. The decision to homeschool led to us starting our own business to integrate home-life and work. As the business grew, we dropped out of our previous careers, so we could be together as a family. In the end, that turned out to be a smart financial decision, but it also required 60 hour weeks for both of us while we raised the kids until we sold the business a few years ago.
It’s been quite a ride. And now, we’re back to homesteading again just as our oldest is heading out the door to Forestry School. Our second will be going to college next Fall. I’m still homeschooling our youngest. After the kids are gone, we expect that our "twilight" years will also be a struggle since we’re starting a commercial farm, but we have never regretted the core decsions we made as a family to live as authentic a life as possible. And really, although we worked hard, given the time and place we were born into, we also know that we have been extremely fortunate – more fortunate than the generations who will come after us.
Blessings to you, Lundsa, and your spouse and child as you begin your own journey on the path less traveled.
Thanks for all the great responses. We appriciate all of them.