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A creative way to educate

Published on 31 January 2018
ABC Illustration

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Every home is a university, and the parents are the teachers.”

Long before children start formal education, they begin learning from their parents at home. There are the basics, like walking, talking and good manners. Some parents also get a jump-start on schoolwork with colours, shapes, letters and numbers.



Then, once enrolled in school, reinforcing lessons and helping with homework is strongly encouraged. At the beginning of the school year, I am asked to sign a homework helper sheet pledging to assist each of my children in their educational journey.

Luckily, I have young children, so I’m only tasked with reading and basic arithmetic at this point. I might have to re-learn a few subjects the further on they get.

While those are structured activities, life itself provides plenty of moments for a good educational lesson. Raising children on the farm not only provides children with lessons on the circle of life and the meaning of hard work, it also offers unique situations where formal education and daily work can be combined.

I recently saw on Facebook how one dairy producer decided to combine a regular farm occurrence with educational lessons that excited her two children throughout the year.

Heather Peters, a dairy farmer near Stratford, Ontario, came up with a creative way to help her children not only learn their alphabet but also lessons in history, social studies and geography.


Like most farms, names in each of their cow families start with the same letter. Since it can be tricky coming up with new names for every calf, the Peters family decided to start setting a new theme each year.

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday last year, they decided to name their calves by the names of places across the country. Armed with a map on the wall and a set of atlases, they found names from small towns to capital cities in all provinces and territories. Along the way, they also learned about each place, as well as a bit of family history.

In addition, the project has led to farming being talked about in their classrooms and school, as the children will report what they learned at home.

To hear more about this project, I encourage you to read Peters’ article on our website (Progressive Dairyman-Canada: Celebrate Canada 150).

Those of you who receive our Extra enewsletter have already had a chance to read her story in our January email. If you don’t get our enewsletter and want to subscribe to this monthly opportunity to see exclusive digital content or articles before they appear in print, I encourage you to visit Progressive E-newsleteers to sign up.  end mark

Karen Lee
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