Homeschooling with Goats

Episode 20

For the Love of Goats

 

 


 
If you are homeschooling or thinking about it, you might find today’s episode interesting. We homeschooled our children until they went to college, and the experience changed a lot when we moved from the Chicago suburbs to our farm in 2002. Our youngest daughter, Katherine, was nine years old when we moved out here, and she credits growing up on a farm for her becoming a science nerd. 

homeschooled girl hanging from tree

We are talking about all of the opportunities you have for learning on a farm, from doing field necropsies to researching and writing. Katherine also talks about how her life with goats led her to major in chemistry and ultimately get a doctorate in bioanalytical chemistry. And we also give you some advice on doing necropsies, as well as homeschooling. 

college graduation after homeschooling

5:35 Exploring ecosystems and collecting bones

10:00 Rotational grazing

12:46 First field necropsy

Goats 365 Membership

19:09 Necropsy advice 

21:30 Goats as parenting training

22:45 Potty training goats

24:30 Writing about science  

Science on the Farm

30:30 Homeschooling advice 

TRANSCRIPT

Deborah Niemann 0:18
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode today is really, really special to me personally, because my guest is Katherine Boehle, who happens to be my daughter. And we are going to talk about homeschooling with goats. Hey, Katherine, I’m so glad you said yes.

Katherine Boehle 0:36
Hey, Mom, thank you for having me on and for choosing such a great date when I don’t have anything going on.

Deborah Niemann 0:42
Yes. So, I was talking to somebody this week, just about like, podcast ideas and stuff. And somebody said, Hey, how about homeschooling with goats? And so a lot of my best ideas come from other people. And so this is no exception. And I’m really excited to talk about it. Because we homeschooled before we moved out here. When we moved out here, we just continued with homeschooling. And Katherine was nine years old at the time, so she really feels like she grew up on a farm. And you credit growing up on a farm, for you becoming what you call a science nerd. And today, you have a PhD in biological chemistry, and you are doing some diagnostic research with diseases and stuff before COVID. And then, sadly, that company didn’t do so great. Now you’re doing freelance science writing and stuff. So anyway, can you tell us a little bit about what it was like growing up on a farm and how our method of homeschooling slash unschooling led you to become a science nerd?

Katherine Boehle 1:54
Yes, so I guess growing up on a farm, you know, granted, I feel particularly lucky, because it’s not like, I just grew up on two acres just outside of town with no trees on them. I was fortunate enough to be growing up on a farm that had 32 acres. We had all sorts of animals, in addition to goats, and of those 32 acres, we had a pond, we had a creek, we had 20 acres of woods. So in addition to having all of the animals, we also had a lot of wildlife. And I think having the wildlife also introduced the idea of Ecology and Zoology. And so when I first started college, I originally thought that I was going to be a Zoologist. And it’s kind of funny how most college advisors told me most people go the opposite direction, where they start up as a Chemistry major, and then eventually end up somewhere like Economics. I, on the other hand, started as a Zoology major, and I think it was that interest of the more,I guess, this way, I can describe it as macro science, essentially, something that you can see. And then that interest, kind of like when I went to college, and I got more into the molecular side of things, I connected it to the more of the macro that kind of gave me some extra appreciation for it. So I eventually went from a Zoology major to a Biology major, I thought that I was going to be a pathologist, which actually has a funny story in itself that’s connected to the farm. Well, I thought I was going to be a pathologist at one point. And I eventually went down to biochemistry. And then during my junior year of college, I realized that I didn’t really want to be a doctor. And I started doing undergraduate research in neuro chemistry, actually. And he had a connection to the biology department as well. And I actually ended up switching to chemistry. And during my senior year, I applied to graduate school, my advisor thought that I would thrive in a PhD environment, and I’d like to think he was correct. So then I went on to Colorado State University, where I got a degree in Bioanalytical Chemistry PhD, and that’s where I learned all about diagnostics, including detecting bacteria in milk, which, you know, will definitely expand on that given this.

I graduated in 2018 and went to work for a startup company that was also doing it’s a field called point of care diagnostics. And point of care diagnostics is essentially like a pregnancy test or glucose test or for you goat people like the mastitis test where you add in a solution added milk, and if it changes color, you have mastitis. And those are the type of tests that I was working on. But for infectious diseases, similar to I guess, the COVID-19 situation, I was specifically working on gastroenteritis, which is detecting things in feces. So I guess you’re out on a farm actually really helped with that because I’m not grossed out by any kind of feces. But anyway, had that made me ideal for that role because most people don’t work with feces. Moving on from that though, unfortunately, as a startup company, we were raising money right when COVID-19 hit and the economy crashed. And anybody who’s planning to fund us pretty much backed out. And then I decided to go into writing with, which I very much enjoying right now and doing some freelance work, some contract work with just medical writing, writing educational materials for different things. So that’s kind of quick story. Now we can go back and do smaller chunks.

Deborah Niemann 5:31
Yes. One of the things that I remember that you started doing from a very young age, and this isn’t just related to goats, but you mentioned having like this huge ecosystem, with all these different things like the creek and the pond, and the woods and everything. One of the things that I think was really cool with in terms of science education, is that you had bought yourself a mammal encyclopedia. And part of it, there was a picture of every animal and then there was also a picture of their skeleton and their skull. And so you had quite the bone collection when you were growing up.

Katherine Boehle 6:12
You know, one of the reasons I love you as a mother is the fact that I did so much stuff that would probably scream this child’s going to grow up to be a serial killer. And I was going to grow up to be a scientist. So thank you for not freaking out about that stuff. But yes, bones were, I was obsessed with bones. I had a bone collection. And it actually kind of started an obsession with carrion beetles. So actually, in preparation for this interview, I looked back at my old blog scienceonthefarm.blogspot.com. It’s a little out of shape right now. But I was looking back on it. And I did have a whole post in there about carrion beetles. And I’d forgotten actually what spurred, you know, my obsession with carrion beetles, which is when we had butchered an animal on the farm, and we had it, I said in the post that we had put the pelt on top of the skull, and we left it there for a week. And, dad went out there and picked it up, and there was just a clean, perfect skull. And we were just like, Whoa, how did that happen? And luckily, we had a family friend who was a, he was a botanist, actually. But he had some knowledge of zoology and ecology as well. And I told him about that. And he was like, Oh, yeah, that sounds like something carrion beetles do. And so what I ended up doing a kind of sciency thing. I started doing this when I was like 12, or 13 years old was that when I would find a dead animal, and if it was still in good condition, I would put it in a cage so that wild animals couldn’t get to it. And I would see how long it would take for carrion before it became a skeleton. So that was, like I said, a lot of parents probably would have thought, oh, future serial killer, but I very much appreciate the fact that you’re just like, Oh, she’s doing science all on her own.

Deborah Niemann 8:05
Yes, that was how I saw it, it’s like you’re doing science experiments. This is so cool.

Katherine Boehle 8:12
Yes. Bones. Yes, I miss collecting them.

Deborah Niemann 8:17
Yes, I know, that was hard for you. When you went off to college, you were looking at your bone collection. And kind of thinking you probably couldn’t take it with you.

Katherine Boehle 8:28
Yes, it’s kind of funny, because when I was in Colorado, I went on a hike one time and I found a whole skeleton of a huge elk. And its antlers were like the size of me. And I just remembered the little kid in me. It was just like, I want to bring it home. But nature appreciator me with you know, leave it where you found it.

Deborah Niemann 8:49
Get a picture.

Katherine Boehle 8:51
Yes.

Deborah Niemann 8:53
Wow, that would have been cool. I know, one time here you found a deer skeleton. That was almost complete. And you could tell that it, parts of it had been dragged away by something that was eating it. But you were able to pretty much put the whole thing back together again.

Katherine Boehle 9:09
I was. Yes, I was able to. I went online and I found like a diagram of a deer skeleton. And that actually, I mean, it’s kind of neat, because the thing about being a child is that you’re so naturally curious. And with the internet these days, it’s so easy to go down a rabbit hole. So when I was looking up the skeleton of deer, that’s when I learned that based on by the anatomy of deer, they technically walk on their toenails. So, you know, their hooves are their toenails. And then the next bones are their phalanges, which is our toes. And like I said, that’s a neat thing about having internet these days. And you know, once you start looking at things like skeletons, you learn these things.

Deborah Niemann 9:52
Yes. So, I’m with the goats, what are some of the things that you can think of that we did with the goats that you felt looking back on it, you’re like, wow, that was really educational.

Katherine Boehle 10:08
Rotational grazing, because of parasite resistance definitely comes to mind. So, a big part of my research as a PhD student was detecting antimicrobial resistant bacteria. And before I discovered my passion in diagnostics, I had originally thought that I would be interested in working for a pharmaceutical company and developing antibiotics because of the whole worldwide pandemic, essentially of antimicrobial resistance. Before COVID, this was something that was definitely getting a lot more attention. And I actually cited this in my entrance essay to graduate school in terms of why do I want to go to graduate school? Why am I interested in doing research? What kind of research am I interested in doing? I actually cited back when we lived on the farm. And, I thought of anti parasitic agents as being, you know, oh, you give them to the goat and they feel better. But there were instances where we would give them medicine for coccidiosis or worms, and they wouldn’t respond. I was like, Mom, why is that? And you’re like they’re resistant? I was like, what do you mean? And you’re like, Oh, well, sometimes if you give something too much, you know, basically, evolution takes care of that. And you’re going to be emerging parasites and bacteria that are going to become resistant, and can live in the presence of it. So we need to invent more anti parasitic, and anti microbials in general. That’s definitely the one that comes to mind. Because like I said, That’s definitely kind of acted as a spark for my interest in antimicrobial resistance. And I still remember when I was only like, 15, or 16, I’d be talking to people about antimicrobial resistance, and they would have no idea what I was talking. What are you talking about? And I guess still, as an adult, I still meet people who don’t know what antimicrobial resistant bacteria are. Because like I said, this was a very big part of my PhD research was specifically detecting bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. And when I would explain to people about my research, they’re like, wait, what’s that? And so I have to go into more detail. And apparently the term superbug I have learned is becoming more well known. So now I know when I described my graduate school research to say I detected superbugs and a lot more people instantly connected to things that they hear on the news. But yes, that was instantly what I thought of in terms of connecting what I do now to something I did specifically with goats.

Deborah Niemann 12:31
Yes right. One of the things I remember in terms of like, where you really started to get into the science was after you did your first, basically, you did a field necropsy on a goose. Do you want to tell that story?

Katherine Boehle 12:49
Sure, because yes, I enjoyed telling that story from time to time. And I get a very large mix of reactions. You know, real friends are like, Oh, yeah, that’s super cool. And then other people who aren’t really my friends are like, okay, that’s really weird. Okay. But anyway, going back to the actual story, we had been having issues with coyotes, and we had had issues with them eating our lambs, but one time, relatively early in the morning, they got one of the geese. So, our pond was right in the backyard. So when we heard commotion, we looked out and saw a coyote running off with goose. And I went ahead and ran after it. And I chased it down to the edge of the property, and they dropped the goose at that point. And when I brought it back, I asked you, I was just like, Wow, it looks so clean on the outside. Why is it dead? Like, you know, I think there was you could see, like, one little thing that you could see a couple little marks from the teeth, basically. And I’m curious, I’m not sure if this was a joke on your part, or if you were actually being that kid like, I don’t know, you could cut it open and find out if you want.

Deborah Niemann 13:49
I was totally serious.

Katherine Boehle 13:51
Okay. But yes, I was just like, Oh, yeah, that’s such a good idea. I’m really curious about this. So yes, I went ahead and grabbed a couple of our kitchen knives.

Deborah Niemann 14:03
No, it was disposable scalpels.

Katherine Boehle 14:05
Oh, they were disposable scalpel.

Deborah Niemann 14:06
I had some disposable scalpels.

Katherine Boehle 14:09
Okay. I grab these disposable scalpels and went out into the yard. I think I just set up on the kitchen table, put down some newspaper, plucked the feathers away from the wound and went right in. And I discovered that its ribcage had been completely collapsed and had severely punctured the lungs. And I was like, Okay, so that’s how it died. Like even though you couldn’t see hardly anything on the outside. Clearly that chomp you know, that bite force from the coyote just collapsed its ribcage and punctured the lungs.

Deborah Niemann 14:45
Yes. And so then with that story is the background and then you kind of became a necropsy crazy person. It’s like, every time an animal died, you’re like, I want to cut it open and see why it died.

Katherine Boehle 14:59
I did do that a lot, I could open a pig at one point. If you recall, We did cut up on a goat at one point, because that one was a lot harder. Probably because, you know, it’s like, this is a goat that I loved and everything you know, so you’re a little bit more connected to your goats than you are to your geese. But I remember it was when you were suspecting the copper deficiency, for the first time you found out that you needed to get delivering it was like, okay, Kat, I think, my pathologist over here, we need to cut open a goat and find the liver. And that was definitely a good learning experience that you don’t want to puncture the rumen of the goat, if you ever have to, you ever have to cut open a goat to retrieve an organ at some point, I highly recommend being very careful cutting into it initially, you don’t have to worry about a rumen on most animals. But yeah, that you don’t want to puncture a rumen on the goat. And we found the liver sent it to a lab. And that’s how we discovered we had serious copper deficiency issues.

Deborah Niemann 15:56
So it was really funny, because I remember going out there you’re like, do you know what you’re doing? And I said, Nope. But it’s dead. I can’t hurt it.

Katherine Boehle 16:05
I do remember that?

Deborah Niemann 16:07
And we really had no idea where the liver was going to be. And here’s the thing too. This is funny, because we just made a video here for my Goat 365 membership platform of removing a liver from a goat. And it’s very, very smooth. You know, it’s like, just slice the skin. You know, this is how you do it. It looks very good. Completely, unlike the first time, like when you and I did it. We stabbed the rumen?

Katherine Boehle 16:43
Yes. Oh, yes, we stabbed it.

Deborah Niemann 16:46
And that is like the most horrible smell in the world. And I think it’s in the video that we just made. I think I say like, no, don’t stab the rumen. Because that smells really bad.

Katherine Boehle 17:02
Yes, and hindsight, we probably should have googled goat anatomy before doing it. But it was a learning experience.

Deborah Niemann 17:09
That’s true. It was because we did not have any clue whatsoever. So we had this goat completely opened up from sternum to pelvis. And just when searching, so it was quite an anatomy experience. You know, like kids in a public high school, maybe they get to dissect a frog, if they’re lucky. Some get to dissect an earthworm. And you got to dissect just about every mammal.

Katherine Boehle 17:40
I do have a funny story with that when I did go to college and took biology to there was like a whole anatomy portion we cut up an all sorts of animals. First one was an earthworm actually. And I remember my professor came by and was very impressed with my knife work. She was just like, Wow, that is really smoothly cut open. And she’s like, Can I actually use that for the lab practical in a couple weeks? I was like, sure. I wasn’t sure if it was a good time to launch into Oh, yeah, this is like the 10th animal I’ve cut open. Don’t worry.

Deborah Niemann 18:11
Yes, you had lots of really fun experiences like that. And I think whenever we had a question, instead of saying, we don’t know and calling it a day, it was like, well, let’s try and find out what happened. And I know you and your sister Margaret both helped a lot in terms of like trying to figure out when we had goats that had a problem with copper deficiency. And we didn’t know like we just knew we have goats that are dying and not getting pregnant, not staying pregnant, giving birth to tiny little toothpick, kids. And really, I mean, then those are options, pretty much where we will just give up or figure out why they’re dying and not getting pregnant and stuff.

Katherine Boehle 18:52
Absolutely. I think that’s a very big thing is that when people ask questions, especially with the whole wealth of the internet, where you can have all the information on your fingertips be like, that’s a great question. Let’s find out.

Deborah Niemann 19:06
So if you were going to give somebody advice, who was going to do a necropsy for the first time? What would you say?

Katherine Boehle 19:16
Be very careful. Be very careful especially when first cutting into the skin, I would definitely recommend that so that you don’t puncture any of the internal organs. I feel like that should be pretty obvious in hindsight that I like it, you know, thinking about the rumen and thinking about some other necropsies I did.

Deborah Niemann 19:36
I’m sad to say it was not obvious to us before we cut open our first goat. I don’t remember if it was you or me, the part I remember the person who did it. I remember seeing it, we just stabbed it. And it was like, Oh my gosh, you don’t stab it. Like you just very carefully cut the surface of the skin.

Katherine Boehle 20:03
Absolutely. Yes, there’s a lot of different layers you need to go to. Just cut to those layers very gently and gingerly until you get through. I forget the exact name of it, but basically the wall that holds in all of your organs. Once you get past that layer, then you gently open that up and then, that way, all of your organs are in tact. And quick disclaimer, I did not go to medical school so I’m not a professional on all of that.

Deborah Niemann 20:30
Right. And it’s funny that the first thing I thought of when you asked me if I knew what I was doing was we can’t hurt anything. It’s already dead. I didn’t think about something as simple as no, but if you accidentally puncture the rumen, your sinuses are gonna get assaulted.

Katherine Boehle 20:50
That is true.

Deborah Niemann 20:51
I just remember the rumen is a giant fermentation vat, it grows stuff. It smells bad. I guess if you’ve ever had a goat really breathe in your face very much or kind of burp in your face? You would know, you know that?

Katherine Boehle 21:09
Yes, to add on to the discussing goats and education, I do think it’s important to add that I like to joke that with growing up on a farm sometimes we’d have orphaned baby goats that were rejected by their parents. And I would raise them and I always joked that baby goat I have was my sex ed baby. So that was you know, in school, they give you robotic babies. And so I always joke that my baby goats are my sex ed babies to remind me not to do any teenage pregnancies because goats are not near as needy as human babies,

Deborah Niemann 21:45
And they grow up so much faster.

Katherine Boehle 21:47
Thank you. I think raising the baby goats was just its own, like educational experience.

Deborah Niemann 21:54
That’s true. Yes because you realize how much work goes into it. You know, like, you’d have a baby goat in your bedroom for one or two weeks or until you got tired of it. And then you can put it out in the barn and sleep through the night.

Katherine Bailey 22:07
Actually,

Deborah Niemann 22:08
You can’t do that with a human baby. It’s like, if you have a human baby, you’re gonna be getting up in the middle of the night every night to feed it for many, many months.

Katherine Boehle 22:18
I guess for any parents concerned about their children not getting, you know, sex ed this year. If they have kids in high school, give them a baby goat. If you have an extra one that can’t be raised by the mother.

Deborah Niemann 22:30
That’s true, because it was a lot of work. Like, people think of how much fun it is. But if you have it in your bedroom, which you always did, I think every single year, you had at least one baby goat in your bedroom?

Katherine Boehle 22:42
I think so. I tried a lot of different things in terms of potty training it. Anybody who’s raised a goat in the house understands that. Yes, baby goats do have bladder control. And I definitely found that the thing that worked best was litter box I think.

Deborah Niemann 22:56
Yes. Instead of litter box training, it was more like soft fabric or soft floor covering training.

Katherine Boehle 23:06
Yes,so there was, I will say do not try and train them to pee on a towel. Because if you leave clothes on floor, they will pee on the clothes too.

Deborah Niemann 23:14
Right. Yes, they can’t tell the difference between a towel and your shirt or your blue jeans or whatever.

Katherine Boehle 23:18
I remember thinking I was really brilliant with that one like, Oh, yeah, we can wash towels we don’t have to worry about throwing out newspaper and stuff. And then I left jeans or a shirt on the ground. The baby goat like goes over there and pee. And I was like, I can’t even be mad because they are doing what I trained them to do.

Deborah Niemann 23:32
Yes. I think I don’t know. I guess with dogs, people who live in apartments may do that with those small dog to train them to go on newspaper. And goats are really, really smart. Well, at least in terms of peeing that you could have a newborn trained really fast like you would just put them like after about 15 minutes after giving them a bottle, you would just sit them on something soft, it squat and pee. So, because you would hold them until then, and they’re very, very thoughtful. They won’t pee on you while you’re holding them. However, pooping is a whole different story. They don’t seem to even have any cognition that is happening. They can be walking. They can be standing still. It just happens. But at least it is easy to clean up.

Katherine Boehle 24:22
Yes. Much easier, especially with a baby goat. Just a tiny little yellow turd.

Deborah Niemann 24:27
Yes. So let’s talk a little bit, you mentioned earlier about your blog, Science on the Farm. Which you started, do you remember how old you were when you started that?

Katherine Boehle 24:37
It was 2007? I looked at the blog recently. So I would have been 14 when I started it.

Deborah Niemann 24:43
Okay. Yes, because I started my first blog in 2006. And then as part of your homeschooling, we thought it would be fun for you to do a blog too. And your focus was all science. And this was actually, this was a great experience, because I know some people think of, I know a lot of people right now are really worried about their kids getting behind. But the reality is like there is so much you can do to keep your children engaged. And I think that the blog was one of our best ideas ever. Because that was a great combination of left brain and right brain work. You know, you were doing sciency stuff. And then you were writing about it. And you were taking photos and doing graphic design and web design. And so it was a really awesome all encompassing kind of an experience. So can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts about the blog and like maybe some of your, one of your favorite posts.

Katherine Boehle 25:52
I do have to say, it’s now that I am technically a scientific writer, again, when people, because oftentimes I get introduced to clients, I’m asked to introduce myself. So now kind of my gag thing is Oh, I like to say I’ve been doing scientific writing since I was 14. So yes, I wanted to add that little tidbit. But yes, I agree, it was a great way because I was really, there’s a lot of art that you can do on a farm too. So for anybody concerned about you know, lack of creative outlet without an art class, you’re standing in art class, whether you know, your children like to draw or something you can, you know, have them go outside and draw a goat or for me, I was really into photography. And I’d been I think I was, I’ve been really into photography, since you gave me my first disposable camera when I was like six years old. And yeah, the farm was a great way to take photos. And still anytime I visit the farm, first thing I do is grab your camera and start taking photos, just like to release that outlet. I don’t get to take pictures of things while living in a suburb surrounded by houses. Side note, I do hope to go back out to a farm one day in terms of living long term. But anyway, you know, photography, like you were saying layout design and then of course writing. I’ve been familiar with writing before that obviously, because at first I first started writing with a friend in turn, we were exchanging short stories over email. And I think it’s a good reminder to try and find any kind of way to have your child write. It doesn’t necessarily, I think it’s wrong to approach writing as you need to write a 1000 word essay about Abraham Lincoln. I don’t think that’s a great way to encourage someone to like writing. I think it’s better to encourage someone to write about something that they love. When I was, you know, 10 years old, I liked writing short stories about horses and goats. Margaret, my older sister enjoyed writing fanfiction. Jonathan, my older brother enjoyed writing movie reviews, we all had this writing outlet. And I like to think we’re all decent writers these days. But you know, we didn’t do any formal English classes in homeschooling. We were just encouraged to write about, you know, what we enjoyed. And as you write more, your writing is just going to get better. Because you’re going to look over your writing you’re like, Oh, you know what, it’ll sound better if I combine these two sentences or separate these two sentences. And so I was already into writing and then when you come up with the idea, it’s like, Hey, you know, there’s this great blogspot website where you can set up a blog, I think you’d really enjoy doing science on that Kat. And that’s what I did. So basically, I would kind of start with a question. That’s what I’m noticing. I’m pretty sure most of my blog posts started with a question. Like, I found a little wiry worm in the creek. And I picked it up and brought it home and put it in a glass and took a video of it. And I was just like, what is this Mom, you’re like, I don’t know. So I would get on Google. And I found out it was the nematamorpha, which is a parasite that infects bugs. Basically, they’ll often sit in water troughs, and bugs drink them, and then they eat bugs from the inside out. That’s what kind of parasite they are. And I just started with the question was, what is this and I wrote a whole blog post about it. And so starting with that question, doing your research and writing about it, I mean, honestly, that’s a lot of what being a scientist is, actually. And so it’s kind of funny, looking back and thinking, Oh, I did the scientific process when I was a little kid. And so that’s, and looking at the blog, it’s, obviously I do a little bit more formally now where you ask a question, write a hypothesis, you do your research in a lab, and then you write a peer reviewed journal article. I didn’t do that. But you know, I would write about it on a blog instead.

In terms of my favorite blog post, I really liked when I put together the deer skeleton, and I took a picture of it. And yeah, that led into the whole research, I guess, going back to my obsession with bones that was probably one of my favorite. And then that and then the goose one. Of course, I had a blog post about dissecting a goose.

Deborah Niemann 29:58
Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t remember that you have blogged about the goose?

Katherine Boehle 30:02
Yes.

Deborah Niemann 30:03
Oh fun. Now I want to go back and reread it again.

Katherine Boehle 30:08
It’s a little painful for me to look at it as a professional science writer now. I’m just like, oh God, terrible writing, but I guess for a 14 year old actually it wasn’t too bad.

Deborah Niemann 30:16
Yes. Be nice to your 14 year old self. If you could give any advice right now to parents who are homeschooling who never planned to do this and who are worried? What would you say?

Katherine Boehle 30:33
Try not to be too formal about schooling. So encourage them to ask questions. Encourage them to do any kind of writing. It doesn’t need to be formal writing, it could even just be journaling, having them, you know, write about their day. Purge them to do any kind of creative outlet, like I said, it’s like, whether that’s, taking videos or taking photographs.

Deborah Niemann 30:56
One of the things I think is really important for people to know is that like, every child does not have to do the Abraham Lincoln paper, necessarily. Because, as you see with you and your siblings, like you all had different passions in life. And you were talking earlier about all of the different things that you wrote about and which were different from the things your sister wrote about. And that was different from the things your brother wrote about. But you were all writing, and you were all writing in different ways. And so like, you know, right now, a really great way for somebody to get their child engaged might be to have them to start a blog or something where they are writing about some of their animals or their art projects, or whatever their passion is.

Katherine Boehle 31:44
Yes. Absolutely. I think it’s important to try not to be too structured in terms of schooling. Because I feel like trying to be too structured like, Oh, hey, you need to write a paper, it needs to have an introduction. It needs to have a clever conclusion. Instead, try to do things like you know, for me, it was you encouraged me to ask questions, and you encouraged me more importantly, to find the answers to those questions. And I think that is such an easy, non-structured way to educate while also keeping the fun in learning.

Deborah Niemann 32:20
This has been so much fun. And I know, we could talk for hours about this, because there were so many stories and stuff, so many educational experiences that you had. But hopefully people got the idea that there is a lot that they can do with their children to teach them when they are at home. Especially if you have goats and other farm animals and stuff. Like your opportunity for science education there is just huge. So thank you very much for joining me, Katherine.

Katherine Boehle 32:49
Yes, of course. Thank you for having me on. It’s been fun to reminisce.

Deborah Niemann 32:55
And that’s it for today’s show. If you haven’t already done so be sure to hit the subscribe button so that you don’t miss any episodes. To see show notes you can always visit FortheLoveofGoats.com and you can follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/lovegoatspodcast. See you again next time. Bye for now.

 

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