Primitive Skills

March 5, 2014

Primitive-Skills Primitive Skills Primitive-Skills Primitive-Skills Primitive-Skills Primitive-SkillsPrimitive-Skills

Primitive-Skills

Primitive-Skills Primitive-Skills Primitive-Skills Primitive-Skills- Primitive-Skills Primitive-Skils

Primitive-Skills Primitive-SkillsWhen my boys came home to homeschool last year, I was very interested in finding them an outdoor environment in which to be involved. I sent that intention pretty clearly into the universe, in the hopes that it would manifest into something tangible. Little did I imagine that just a few short weeks later I would be writing an article for Rhythm of the Home on a woman who had begun a small, cooperative type farm on her property. Rosemary had been an acquaintance for years, but I had never before heard of the work of that she was doing.

The boys now had a place to learn those things that our home environment simply could not do. Rosemary’s farm, in the past year, has become a second home. The boys attend farm school there once a week, and have recently begun a full homeschooling class with new lessons each month on such things as chicken husbandry, horse maintenance, and learning about a larger garden than our side yard can handle. It is an opportunity to give them skills and knowledge that is being lost in our world today, and also to be able to do so in an environment with a teacher besides myself. Both of those things are very needed.

This past weekend, Rosemary hosted a special class on primitive fire making skills. Using both a bow drill, and flint, the boys had a unique opportunity to learn from two men who have been crafting this lost art for many years. Rico and Alex took three hours to sit with a small group of children, patiently guiding them through the basics of beginning a fire with these tools. I believe that the event was made even more magical by the 12 degree temps and freshly fallen snow that reminded the kids that fire is a very useful tool when it is cold and wet.

Did the idea of, “We have matches now, is this necessary?” cross my mind? Of course. Looking to the past for new skills is not about shunning the technology of today, although it is often referred to as just that. Rather it is a way to connect ourselves and our children to the process of something, and to the world in which they live. Learning this skill teaches them so much about how fire can be created, and the science behind that is awesome. It also connects them to their own hands, and the ability to create like very little else. There is a need to remind our children that they have the tools necessary to survive on very little. That knowledge can’t afford to be lost, no matter how far technology comes.

About half way through the first hour of the class, I looked at the teachers and said, “My kids are going to start building fires in the backyard, aren’t they?” That is exactly what has happened. Bows and flint, wood and rain are all being tackled with a little bit of success, and a lot of heart. It is not an easy skill to learn, but they are keeping with it, and they are more than a little excited at the year’s first camping trip to show off what they have learned.

Primitive skills might not be something that we use everyday, but they are incredible learning tools for adults and kids alike.

To learn more, you can check out this wonderful set of videos from You Tube, and Rico’s blog (Check out these incredible hand carved bowls and spoons as well!) 

 

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

a little crafty nest March 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm

What good fortune for you and your boys, Heather, to have an established Farm School in your neck of the woods. It is exactly (and I mean, Exactly!) what I am trying to create here with our homeschooling group. So far, it looks like each homeschool family will host an afternoon of Farm School at their homestead or a friend’s…but there hasn’t been a whole lot of interest besides a few of us. But the skills your boys are acquiring are fundamental, in my opinion, to being self-sufficient. My 8 year old son also loves starting our fire every morning in the cookstove, and he loves to whittle beside the fire during the day. Such great life skills that nurture a healthy self-esteem…what more could a mama ask for?
xo Jules

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Heather March 6, 2014 at 10:02 am

I think that is so neat that you are trying to do things like this on a regular basis. A homeschool group is really something I would love to have for the boys, but we really are no where near close where I live. There is a large group of homeschoolers, but very scattered activities as a group. I would love to hear more about how you come together, etc. Sounds wonderful!

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Kim March 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm

How wonderful! I have to say when I saw your first picture I got chills. I remember my first coal with my bow drill and starting that first fire…it is an amazing experience and one I will never forget. We belong to a community in our area with a focus on deep nature connection, cultural mentoring and primitive skills. It fills me with such joy to learn from the people in my community, but even more joy comes knowing that these people are mentors for my little man.

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Heather March 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

Having a community of like minded people is so wonderful, especially when you are deeply connected to nature. I think that it is something that both adults and children need. I love the idea of cultural mentoring, and would love to hear more about that if you get a chance.

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Andrea March 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

So cool. My boys would love this–they love watching The Art of Nothing wilderness survival DVDs. (Which is pretty ironic now that I think about it.)

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Heather March 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

Going to have to check those DVD’s out right now!

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Tracey March 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

All four of my boys when they were younger have loved to sit in the yard and practice fire starting skills. They would also make arrowheads with rocks, build ‘man houses’ in trees and just have fun in nature. It’s wonderful that your boy are learning skills that
will last them a lifetime.

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Heather March 6, 2014 at 10:05 am

I think that a deep connection to nature is a vital part of childhood. When I listen to stories of those that I respect, or admire their work, often times that connection was a major part of what made them who they are.

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kyndale March 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

What a great opportunity for your kids! I think that putting your desires out in the universe really works! Things just appear! xoxo

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Meryl March 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

How cool! I’m actually going to outdoor camp this spring for myself. When I signed up I joked with Blaine that I never went to camp as a kid, but I don’t see why being 30-and-some should stop me now.

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Heather March 6, 2014 at 10:06 am

That is so cool! They have outdoor camp for adults???

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Lacey March 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm

This is SO inspirational!! We have been thinking and thinking on ideas for classes and workshops for kids and families together. I love it so much. I just wish we were closer to visit!

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Heather March 6, 2014 at 10:06 am

That would be so much fun!

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This Little Blue Homestead March 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I agree such a great skill for kids to learn. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn as a kid as well and always feel a bit more confident when in the woods that I have the ability to start a fire if need be. Way to go mama for finding such a great opportunity for your kiddos!

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KC March 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm

YES! A huge resounding yes. This is so awesome to hear. I want to take this class. I am so into learning all the old skills.

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