This month in our homeschooling schedule we plan to overthrow the local government and take over the world! Or, we plan to ask the city officials if they wouldn’t mind, if it was alright with them, if it’s no bother at all… could pretty please with a cherry on top raise some chickens in our small home town. We’ve asked them once, they said no. We’ve asked them twice, they said no. Some other dude asked them earlier this year, they said no. I asked AGAIN this spring and they said “Look lady, stop bothering us. Why not go talk to the other dude and see what you can both come up with?” Progress! So me and said other dude put our heads together (his very beardy, mine, not as beardy) and we decided on a plan of action! FIRST: a petition! SECOND: a Facebook page! (What grass roots effort is complete without a Facebook page?) and THIRD: get our mugs in the newspaper! Actually the third one happened all by itself but I’m getting ahead of things.
Our small but mighty town of approximately one thousand six hundred and eighty two residents (and roughly one thousand eight hundred and twenty six DOGS!) sits on the edge of a reasonably sized city in Nebraska. Most (if not all) rural towns around us allow their residents to keep a few chickens. Many large towns and cities also allow their residents to keep a few chickens. Good grief even New York CITY allows it’s residents to keep chickens, so it seems only right and proper that our little town, out in the country would be ripe for chucks. Apparently the Mayor doesn’t see it that way. He may have something against the simple chicken, I don’t know, but I am going to do my utmost to get a few feathered friends around here if I possibly can!
I summonsed the mighty Google and found a draft petition I could edit to suit my needs. I made a few tear off sheets to distribute around town and – with the baby on my back and petition in my hand – the kids, dog and I set off to canvas the neighbors. I wanted the children to learn that if the local governing body is being heavy handed with the law then it’s ok to question it. It’s our right to question it and it’s NECESSARY to question it. Sure, we may only be talking about a few chickens today, but if we can’t stand up and fight over CHICKENS are we really going to stand up and fight over and even more controversial issue?
We got many signatures, everyone I have spoken to so far has been for the idea (several people actually expressed the desire to have chickens themselves) so that seems like a good step. Next we started up a little Facebook page and after only a day or two the local paper sent me a Facebook message. They wanted to write a little story about us! That paper came out yesterday and we were on the front page! Well it’s on like Donkey Kong now! The City Officials know what we are doing, they know our plan, they are fore armed. Now we need to get our battle plan together.
The children and I have been researching the keeping of chickens, what they require for space, how far they can fly, what they eat, if they carry any diseases, etc., and also researching the constructing of chicken coops, what they require for nesting boxes and the like. We’ve checked into local city ordinances in neighboring cities and towns so we can share how many chickens they allow and all their specific details. We’ve been doing a fair bit of learning without really trying.
This is how we homeschool, folks. Real life learning situations. Much as it can be a pain at home, we are trying to raise the children to think for themselves. To question elected officials, to uncover alliances and to be able to foresee the lay of the land, so to speak. Of course this means bedtime is constantly up for debate…