There is no doubt that homeschooling can put you and your kids at an advantage. The lists of homeschooling benefits grow every year. Advancement in technology helps with all sorts of opportunities that homeschoolers have never had before. Don’t get me wrong – I totally support (obviously) online learning, STEM and problem solving; however, what about some of our long-lost knowledge. Is there a place for teaching those lost skills, those life skills or dare I say it – those “old fashioned” skills? You know the ones I mean; the vintage skills that Grandma and Grandpa used to know that seems to have disappeared.
“Old fashioned” skills like baking bread, gardening, personal finance, sewing, fixing cars, working with animals, knowing the land… How have we as educators and our communities in general let these skills go-extinct to the detriment of our kids?
Luckily, this is something that the homeschooling community can generally avoid with little forethought. As with many homeschooling parents, I try to make everything a learning lesson when possible. Grocery Shopping. Baking. Sewing. Any task can teach skills that your child can benefit from.
When was the last time your child built a birdhouse from scratch?
When was the last time your children baked something other than brownies or a cake?
What do you do with what you were taught? Those are the “lost skills” that you should focus on this upcoming year.
This list is by no means complete; however, it might get you started thinking about other things. This list is as much about creativity as it is learning:
- Personal Finance – Setting a budget, debt management, savings, understanding credit scores
- Goal Setting – Setting short term and long-term goals and how to break them down to achieve them!
- Time Management – Using planners and tools to manage time
- Cooking and Baking – Basic cooking skills that include baking bread from scratch
- First Aid – Basic to advanced first aid
- Emergency Preparedness – Preparing for various natural disasters and what do do in case of them
- Mending / Sewing – Basic hand sewing, repairing and using a sewing machine
- Planting a Garden – Gardening basics, companion planting etc.
- Map Reading – Sure, there is WAZE, but break open an “old fashioned” map and teach your kids how to read them
- Storing and Preserving Food – Canning, dry storage etc.
- Reusing Materials – Recycling / Upcycling, or repurposing used items
- Animal Care – Managements, feeding and basic needs of various animals
- Plant Knowledge – Understanding and identifying local and native plants
- Basic Carpentry – Using hand tools, building basic items
- Vehicle Mechanics –Basic car maintenance, changing a tire, checking the oil
The possibilities and opportunities that homeschoolers have at their disposal are many. Kids today will need problem solving, advanced technology and a solid understanding of science to make the world a better place; HOWEVER, they also need to rely on skills common to our grandparents’ generation to navigate our changing world. Call them “life skills” or “old skills” or “lost skills”, but please give these skills to your children so they can have an advantage in the world of tomorrow.
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.