During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been closed and high schoolers are spending a lot more time at home.
We’ve checked in with a lot of parents about the challenges they’ve faced in keeping their kids learning during quarantine.
But, for many farm families there’s been a silver lining to all of this. Older children are stepping up and taking on more projects around the farm and gaining real world experience in the process
Kristen Vetter is a full time mom of four and she works with her husband Andrew to manage their 1,000 acre livestock and diversified grain operation outside of Linton.
“We have kinda a motto in our house. What’s going on around us, what’s gonna happen around us, and how can we help,” explained Vetter.
The Vetters run about 120 cow/calf pairs.
“Calving is gonna happen, that’s not gonna stop. Planting is gonna happen, that’s not gonna stop. So, what’s gonna happen. Well, we gotta get the drill ready. Well we gotta get the calving pens ready. And, with the kids being here and know what’s going on, well they were like what can I do,” said Vetter.
The pandemic has allowed their four kids to become more involved with the farm.
Daughter Angie Vetter has had a lot more time to pick up chores around the farm.
“Usually like last year I never got to pull a calf because I was never really around. Because, I was in track and like sports and school. But, now I get to go up. My dad will say I need some help, so I’ll go help him pull a calf,” explained Angie Vetter.
Daughters Angie and Precious spend about half of the day virtually learning via Zoom. They spend the other half of their day training for sports, and taking on duties and projects around the farm.
“If we were in school we couldn’t just come home and check cows whenever we watned to. But, now that we’re home we can when we have to,” explained Precious.
And, with the kids stepping up the Vetters have been able to catch up on projects that likely would have been overlooked.
“We know it’s been easier on our dad having us home and helping,” said Angie.
“Yeah, because he doesn’t have to go and stop working on the tractor and go check on cows. Or he’ll just shoot us a text and say can you go check cows please,” followed Precious.
The Vetter’s started a conversation pit with chairs around a fireplace. They meet there four times a day to sit and converse and answer questions about the Coronavirus, virtual class schedules, and about happening around the farm.
The absense of school and sports has given the family more time to bond and grow stronger than before they began the quarentine.
“When kids are leaving at 7:10 in the morning on the bus, and then they have sports after school and then you might go to a game of another kids who might have a game but they didn’t have practice, but they have a game and they come back at 9 or 10 at night, there’s not a whole lot of time for that. Not that it’s a bad thing, but coronavirus where have you been all my life. (haha) I mean we are just enjoying each other. And, I guess if that’s the message that we take home. How we take care of ourselves and how do we take care of others around us. You can really find joy,” explained Kristen Vetter.
The Vetters tell KX News their Catholic faith has helped them get through all of the challenges of the pandemic.
They say they’re at the point where they have let go of the need to get back to the old normal, and are ready to see what awaits them in the future as the new normal.