Homesteading Classes and Hands-On Homestead Courses
I’ve talked to a lot of homesteaders over the years, and have heard a lot of different opinions on what it means to homestead. In that time there is one thing I have NEVER heard: Homesteading is easy. But don’t be discouraged. With a bit of help from people who know how to live off the land, you can avoid many of the pitfalls and greatly improve your chances of success.
The first thing you should probably know is that most homesteaders have a second income. Maybe they work “in town” or telecommute, or perhaps they have their own business, such as selling honey or hand-made soaps. Even hardcore legends like the Nearings had supplemental income selling syrup and books.
One way some homesteaders help pay the bills is to give classes on homesteading. Below is a list of some homestead families who provide individual homesteading courses, along with a bit of information about each to help you make a decision.
Six Schools With Homesteading Classes
Homesteading Heritage Center for Essential Education (SustainLife.org)
This “school of homesteading” offers a complete curriculum for sustainable living skills from their model four-acre homestead located within their larger 510 acre working farm. Located in Elm Mott, Texas, they offer single day classes covering specific topics like owning a family goat, the family cow (course pictured above) and beekeeping, as well as multi-day classes like their three-day homesteading course that covers everything from gardening and dairy animals to fencing and water supply. Single-day classes are about $75-$85 and multi-day homesteading courses are $155 – $250. Accommodation is not provided. Homestead Heritage is part of the Educational Ministry of Heritage Ministries, which is a Christian community dedicated to preserving and nurturing those principles and values and applying them with new understanding to the present and future, to create a viable continuity from one generation to the next. Although we found no evidence of “preachiness” from literature and descriptions of their homestead courses, this might be something for those of other faiths to think about before making their selection of a homesteading school.
Midwest Native Skills Institute (Ohio)
This school focuses on homesteading skills you might need if the power goes out for good, including candle making, as well as cheese making and canning. Based in Cleveland, this on-site course is 4 days of homesteading course immersion over a long weekend.
Muller’s Lane Farm (Illinois)
Another Christian-based family farm offering classes on homesteading, the Muller’s teach visitors everything from driving a draft horse to soap making and canning. They chose to include these classes at the requests of visitors participating in their farm tours. We couldn’t find much in the way of prices on their website so you’ll just have to contact them and ask. Muller’s Lane Farm is located in Rock Falls, IL.
The Institute of Urban Homesteading (California)
Taking a different twist on homesteading classes, this school in Oakland, CA understands that not everyone who is interested in living a simpler, healthier life can live out in the country. Urban Homesteading is a growing phenomenon similar to the movement in which people living in city neighborhoods and suburbs are turning their small sub-acre plots into thriving vegetable gardens and small urban homesteads capable of providing enough food to feed their entire family. A classic example of success in urban homesteading is the Dervaes family’s Path to Freedom project. You can learn how to do what they’re doing by taking an urban homesteading class in Oakland.
Pioneer School of Homesteading (Michigan)
The Quaker Hill Farm is another Christian-based (Quakers) farm that offers homesteading classes to the public. Located in Harrisville, MI, the farm offers courses for about $75 each on topics like beekeeping, breadmaking, growing and using medicinal herbs, raising poultry, basic homesteading skills and many others. And who better to learn how to homestead from than the Quakers?
Denver Urban Homesteading Group (Colorado)
There are lots of classes available in Denver for everything from raising chickens and goats to building your own tiny house. Check out the Denver Urban Homesteading site if you’re in the area.
Aside from these on-site courses, there are plenty of web-based opportunities to learn about homesteading online, including the LASL How To section, and thousands of homesteading groups on Meetup.com with more local learning classes taught by group members.
If you have a farm or homestead and offer courses, please tell our readers about it by commenting below!