Reading, Writing and Raising Hens?

Your child may have no intention of becoming a farmer. Perhaps even having a garden as an adult is unlikely. Still, as students around the country are learning, when schools add farming to the school day, students benefit in numerous ways.

Find available tutors

farming classes

A New Old Trend

At elite prep schools, rural boarding schools and even some public schools, students are quite literally getting their hands dirty as a part of their education. The schools are offering students the opportunity to care for livestock, such as chickens, and tend to a panoply of produce. For many students, it's the first time they're seeing an uncooked squash, learning how potatoes grow or finding out just how much weeding a garden requires.

At some schools, such as Scattergood Friends School, a Quaker boarding school in Iowa, farming has held an integral place in the curriculum since the 19th century. Other schools are returning to farming, though it was a part of their original mission. While the role of farming in student life disappeared in the early to mid-20th century at many of these schools, it has a new relevance today. This is the case at Loomis Chaffee School and Hotchkiss School, both in Connecticut.

The Benefits of Farm Learning

The students who experience farming as part of their education may not pursue a career in agriculture, but that's often beside the point. The work challenges students in a way that classroom work and sports can't replicate. It broadens their perspective on the world while helping them understand a job that is essential to the survival of the human race.

Furthermore, farming can provide a peaceful and calming break from other schoolwork. This is especially true at prestigious prep schools where the students are under intense pressure to excel. While students are weeding, picking peas or feeding chickens, the otherwise breakneck pace of their lives slows down. They must be present in the moment, away from their laptops and out in the sunshine.

Homework for Lunch

An even more significant effect that farming has on students is evident exactly where you might expect it: the cafeteria. Students are more likely to eat healthy fruits and vegetables if they have the pride of growing and harvesting them, as well as the knowledge of the effort required to get that produce from a seed to their plates. As an added benefit, the food students help to produce allows the school to provide locally-grown and, typically, more chemical-free food than they might otherwise.

The healthy food habits that farming may foster in these students will hopefully last into their adult lives. By developing an appreciation of the farm-to-table concept while in school, students may be more inclined to eat more natural foods, as opposed to heavily processed foods, and to shop at local farmer's markets. That's a lesson that's worth rolling up your sleeves to learn.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Is Less Writing a Good Thing for Your Student?

    Everywhere you look there seems to be some sort of educational reform being proposed, implemented or suggested. In many cases reform is intended to be for the better, but a recent bill being sponsored in Washington state calls for doing away with statewide writing assessments. Is less writing necessarily a good thing?

  • More Blog Articles
    Too Much Emphasis on Reading and Math?

    According to a large number of surveyed educators who teach grades 3-12, U.S. public schools are spending too much time on reading and math and not enough on other subjects. Yes, math and reading are important. But what about science, foreign languages and social studies?

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth