Prepare and Pray, is a family preparedness study based off the book Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss. SFR is a delightful "living" book that is rich in natural science, vocabulary, geographical details, history and physical science. It is a timeless classic with strong moral and spiritual content. We read the original version and love the rich language. The subjects we cover in our curriculum include Bible memory, Handi-work/Crafts, Life skills, Clothing, Shelter, Health, Safety and Nutrition, Natural and Physical Science, Geography and History. The discussion questions provided provoke deep discussions. And I love the Toddler Tales for the little ones.
I think the thing that stuck out to me most in this chapter is that Franz is finally considered mature and ready for manhood at the age of 24, as determined by his father, with respect to his judgements and abilities, rather than by a cultural norm that says a child is an adult at age 18 without respect to their maturity, abilities or parental authority.
". . . that our eldest son is now of an age to be dependent on himself. I shall, therefore, henceforth leave him at liberty to act in all respects according to his own judgement: and, especially in the matter of voyages and excursions, he must not be hampered by the fear of alarming us should he choose to remain absent longer than we expect. I have such entire confidence in his prudence, and at the same time in his affection for us, that I am certain he will never needlessly cause us anxiety."
This is my hope for my boys that we will have such confidence in their prudence and affection for us! Just as the Robinson boys had work to do, so do we. As we discussed each character trait of the Robinson boys, we also evaluated where we are and where we hope to be ten years from now.
I began with my oldest (who is 13). I printed off a list of character traits and had him write the definition of each trait with a verse from Scripture that describes that trait and a blessing for displaying this trait. I also had him do this for negative character traits that we want to avoid. He had to write the desirable trait that we want to replace it with as well as write a list of natural consequences if the negative trait was displayed. This was a good lesson for him and one that I hope we will continue to develop as we shape and mold his character.
I used the Character Traits Check List from Heart of Wisdom, Doorpost's If/Then Chart and Blessing Chart and the book Parenting With Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments
as a guide for our "character training."
Also in this lesson, we talked about how our family would survive in an extended crisis. We have become more conscious of how we use and save items that can be reused. This is not always easy in a throw away society (so much is considered disposable).
We talked about what kinds of recreational activities we would enjoy doing as a family if we had no electricity, telephones or internet (like learning to play a musical instrument, games and handi-crafts). I would love to acquire a treadle sewing machine, spinning wheel and floor loom. I would also love a foot powered potter's wheel. The boys said they would build forts and toys made from wood, explore, collect rocks and unusual items to make a museum like the Robinson family did.
One of the assignments this lesson was to start a family journal. My scrapbook is a family journal and memory keeper and my blogs also serve as an online journal of our family, but it did get me thinking about another aspect of our family that I do not journal much about and I would like to.
Many of the other activities in this lesson we have already done or did not have much interest in doing right now.
One of our discussion questions caught our eye. It was on gardening techniques and how to deal with challenging situations such as steep slopes (terrace gardening), dry soil (irrigation, mulching), poor soil (composting and raised beds), cold temperatures (cold frames, green houses), small spaces (trellises, container planting). We have many of these conditions on the homestead we are building in Montana, so we tried some of the techniques.
On the lower banks of a seasonal creek bed, we planted a terraced strawberry garden from babies that we transplanted. While we were digging, we discovered about 6 inches of composted pine needles that resulted in a very rich black soil. Underneath that was a lot of rock that we dug out.
I made sure that we gave them plenty of room to grow. They have a way of spreading and taking over the place.
We added coffee grounds to the soil for acidity and used large rocks to create a border and prevent erosion of the soil.
We raked the nearby pine needles over the top and then added hay for more mulch. We also built a make shift fence to keep the cows out.
All that hay will be tempting, but I am hoping the fence will keep them out. This is only temporary because while it may keep the cows out, it will not keep deer and other critters out.
I enjoyed the rest of our discussion and reading Toddler Tales to the little ones. I wasn't sure that Mali was listening but he came up to me afterward and asked me what to do if a cougar attacked you. (In the story, Susanna frightens away a cougar by opening up her cape with her arms and looking big.)
Other posts in this series can be found in my sidebar under the category Prepare and Pray.