When it comes to providing our children with a well-rounded education, we tend to focus on the academics and extracurricular activities. Yes, both are important; however, there are other things we should be concerned about. It is essential that we teach them a variety of necessary life skills.
- I wasn’t homeschooled.
- Yes, we homeschooled our daughter.
With that said: when I came of age, I didn’t know the “basics” of how to maintain a house. WOW – do I sound like 1950s or what. I don’t mean because I am “female”. I mean I didn’t know how to do the basics for survival. I didn’t know how to balance a checkbook, change a tire, create a menu/food shop, clean a bathroom properly and so much more. However, today life skills look so different than they did back then. Yes, we still have the basics; however, in today’s world – life skills go beyond the basic. What are some of the life skills that our children should learn?
Being able to communicate with others, both in person and in writing, is essential. These skills include being an active listener, being able to restate what someone else said, being able to express oneself clearly, reading social cues and knowing how to take turns in a conversation.
You can teach communication skills by using presentations and provide opportunities to participate in debates and give speeches. These activities are usually available through local homeschooling groups. If that isn’t available to you, create your own. Invite a few homeschooling families together and do a “show and tell” with each child presenting something they are doing in their students. Another idea is to think outside the box and look at local community colleges, Toastmaster groups or community theater.
For younger kids, you can do things like play telephone, which is excellent for getting them to listen carefully and convey messages, or even have a verbal, directions-based scavenger hunt!
Another essential life skill is money management. As adults, we spend a great deal of time either trying to figure out how to earn money, spend money or save money. It would help the next generation if they began learning these skills at a young age.
Take your child with you on shopping trips. Have them keep a tally with a calculator in hand. Have them sit next to you when you pay bills. Visit the INSIDE (not ATM) of a bank. Have them see your bank statement. Show them how to earn money, save money, budget and invest.
You can give them a “paycheck” for completing jobs around the house. Create a “bank book” for them (yes, the old fashioned kind) so they can keep track of their money.
Give your older children a shopping list and money. Have them go to the store and see if they can buy everything (yes, with coupons and looking at generic brands!) on the list for the amount of money you gave. Then, when they come home, have them examine what ____ dollars bought. It will open their eyes up!
Logically, grocery shopping leads to cooking. Start early by allowing your child to help you in the kitchen. Every day have a different child assist in making dinner. Allow them to do the salads, side dishes and eventually, when old enough, create a meal plan, write down what needs to be purchased and prepare the meal.
You should consider teaching your child about how to build a business. This can come out of one of their hobbies or passions. For example, if they love to draw, perhaps they can do caricatures at a family gathering. If they enjoy baking, have a bake sale. If they are in high school and excel in a certain subject, have them tutor younger students. The opportunities are endless.
Personally, my daughter is a wiz at test taking and mathematics. Since she was 16 years old, she has run her own tutoring business. This provided her with spending money for half of high school, college and now graduate school.
Without the ability to analyze and reason, your child will likely fall prey to faulty logic and the inability to problem solve or think for him/herself. You can teach critical thinking in a variety of ways. The easiest is to use riddles, puzzles and mystery books from an early age. As your child gets older, discussing current events and the books they’ve read can help them think through the issues and formulate their own opinions.
This is so easy to teach! Have your child create their schedule and to-do list. Have them prioritize the items. Have them make lists. Have them have impute. Basically, give up a bit of the control and put it in their hands.
Teach your child about the three types of goals. Short range, mid-range and long-term goals. Have a three-column list and put up two or three long term goals and break them down into mid-range and short-term goals. Post this in a place where they can see it! Create a vision board with them. Help them realize what they need to do in order to achieve these goals. Teach them about perseverance and delayed gratification.
Now I will leave this in your hands…. What would you add to this list?
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.