Monthly Archives: July 2012

Thinking About Tot School (Links to Reference)

I have been excited to start “Tot School” with Kent since I first read about it months ago.  If you’re not familiar with it yourself go check out the link for a full explanation.  It basically just involves being more intentional with our playtime and making a point to do a lot of fun, varied activities.  It’s perfect for someone like me who loves to plan everything.  Of course, things have to stay super flexible since we’re dealing with a toddler here!  Still, it is nice having a system in place that helps me pay better attention to what he’s learning.

We have only done this type of playtime randomly for the past few months.  I’ve read about other parents starting regular sessions as early as 9 months but that just didn’t work out for us.  Instead, we have only just started making “Tot School” a part of our normal routine since Kent’s first birthday this month.

For this post I just want to share some of the research I’ve been doing on education in general.  We haven’t decided what type of formal schooling we’ll opt for down the line (i.e. homeschool, public school, private school) but we are planning to do preschool at home in place of an outside program.  Everyone does preschool at home to some extent anyway.  I know the “unschooling” movement is gaining in popularity right now (or at least it seems to be) and most parents I talk to have a pretty laid back approach to learning in the early years.  That’s fine but… you know me… I have to research everything to death and I can’t take decisions like this lightly.  Okay, I rarely take any decisions lightly.  Anyone else spent multiple evenings researching sippy cups?  I have!  (It paid off, too, because the Klean Kanteen sippy rocks!!)

ANYWAY, on to the point of the article… since I am planning to take an active role in Kent’s education from inside our home I want to know what I’m up against.  What are other children his age experiencing at structured day cares?  What kind of developmental milestones would a day care provider be watching for and encouraging?  What will his friends be learning as they progress through the local preschool programs?  To answer these questions I spent several hours scouring the web, printing out information, and hashing through what I found.

Here are the most helpful documents I came across:

If you have any resources to share please link them up in the comments!  What is your approach to early learning?  Are you extra laid back or a little OCD like me?

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Farm Friday Debut: Chicken Journal 6/21/12

This is a new feature here at MarriedtotheFarm.  I hope to make it a series but I’m not going to promise anything because, well, we all know how it goes when I commit to blogging regularly.  I thought it’d be fun to update on our chicks as we take them from fuzzy balls of fluff to high quality meat.  We raise at least 100 chickens every summer to provide meat for our own family and several of our customers.  We’ve had excellent feedback and a lot of repeat customers.

The birds we raise are Colored Rangers.  They are a mix of old-fashioned breeds selected to grow fast but not as fast as the freakishly large Cornish breed that most people raise.  We have raised this breed exclusively here and are very happy with them.  They are lively and prefer foraging and running around in the grass over laying  by the feeders.  We start them out in a sheltered area under a heat lamp and then move them out to pasture when they have all their feathers.  I’ll attempt to follow along with one batch of birds here starting with the day they arrive on the farm.

Even though these birds are not Cornish crosses they are still a hybrid, which means they are the end product of crossbreeding different types of birds.  This means that two Colored Rangers bred together will not produce offspring of their same quality.  Imagine breeding two mutt dogs and getting the cutest litter of super-mutts.  Breeding the super-mutts together would probably not make more of the same.  For this reason, we order our Colored Ranger chicks from a hatchery and do not attempt to breed them on the farm.

Stats as of 6/21/12:

  • Age: 1 day old
  • Number alive: 102
  • Death Loss so far: 0
  • Location: Brooder

They normally arrive via 2-day shipping through the USPS.  They leave the hatchery on Wednesday and our local post office calls me very early on Friday morning so I can pick them up.  This time I was surprised to have the them hand delivered to the farm on Thursday afternoon by a nice postal worker in a minivan.  Apparently they had arrived at the larger city office that day and were being delivered right away due to the very hot weather.

I carefully opened the boxes and lifted one chick out at a time, counting as I went.  I dipped their beaks in the water quickly before setting them down to ensure they knew were the water was.  They didn’t waste any time drinking.

They quickly found the food on their own.

I left them happily scurrying about.

If you have any  questions about how we raise our chickens please contact the farm directly through www.BeckerFarmsMI.com.  I don’t intend for this to be a how-to guide but I will happy answer questions from other growers who have specific questions or need help with certain problems.

This post is linked to: