Unschooling Ourselves and Our Children - Ben Hewitt #51

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Unschooling is a growing movement for those looking for an alternative to the traditional schooling system. Ben Hewitt — modern homesteader, unschooling father and author — calls it "self-directed, adult-facilitated life learning” or “immersion learning.” In this episode, Ben shares his experience with unschooling his two boys on their Vermont homestead. Rather than sitting at a desk, in a fluorescent-lit classroom, memorizing facts all day, Ben’s boys’ days are spent doing things like building barns, apprenticing with a local blacksmith and foraging food for that night’s dinner. Our conversation is fascinating, and whether or not you are a parent (or soon-to-be parent), if you went through traditional schooling for any portion of your life (most of us), you are sure to enjoy this show!

Episode Breakdown:

  • How Ben & his family raise and forage 90% of their calories
  • Self-directed, adult-facilitated life-learning
  • Role of mentors in unschooling
  • A day in the life of Ben’s kids
  • Immersive learning in rural vs urban environments
  • Induced busy-ness and time management
  • How to get started with unschooling

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Meet Ben

Ben Hewitt lives in Cabot, Vermont with his wife, Penny, and sons Fin and Rye. Over the past 17 years, the Hewitt family has transformed an over-grazed pasture and neglected woodlot into a thriving homestead, producing an abundance of nutrient dense food in biologically active soils.

Utilizing a combination of permaculture design, wildcrafting, and small-scale regenerative agriculture they call “practiculture,” the Hewitt family raises and forages better than 90% of their calories, with a focus on pastured meats, healthy fats, and fermented vegetables. They also produce all of their lumber and firewood, and practice traditional land skills such as hide tanning and basket making. Ben speaks frequently on the subjects of food, education, and economic relocalization. 

The Hewitts consult frequently on homestead-scale production and processing of nutrient dense foods, as well as homestead planning, design, and implementation. They also run Lazy Mill Living Arts, which offers workshops in a wide variety of traditional land skills.

Ben is the author of five books, including The Town That Food Saved, Home Grown, and, most recently, The Nourishing Homestead. He blogs at www.benhewitt.net.