When it comes to homeschooling our children, we focus on academics. As we should. We want out children’s educations to be well-rounded, so we fill our curricula with subjects like Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Physical Education, and Art.
However, a well-rounded education is one that extends beyond books and the classroom. In fact, this is one thing that appeals to people about homeschooling. We can teach them book knowledge, but we also have the freedom to focus on life knowledge.
There are several life skills that I feel are important to teach our children. Here are just a few of them and how you can implement them in your homeschool curriculum.
Effective Communication Skills
When it comes to navigating life, people who have great communication skills tend to be more successful. Having the ability to listen well, express yourself, pick up on social cues, engage in conversation, and deal with people on a daily basis sets you up for success in so many areas of life – including school, work, and relationships.
Some great ways to help your child practice and master effective communication skills include assigning oral presentations, signing them up for public debates, signing them up for Toastmasters International, and encouraging them to always speak their mind clearly rather than keeping things bottled up inside.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to teach children money management skills from an early age. There are so many adults in this world who struggle throughout life because of their lack of money management skills.
They are up to their ears in debt, don’t know how to budget, and just generally have a lot of stress surrounding money. And it’s not completely their fault. The American public school system doesn’t pay much attention to teaching children how to budget, how to save money, or how to invest. By the time you become an adult and have to make financial decisions, you don’t really have the right foundation to make good choices.
We have the opportunity to change this narrative for our children. Even when they are toddlers, you can expose them to how YOU manage your money on a daily basis by taking them with you on shopping trips, to pay bills, to make deposits at the bank, and any other time you are doing something that involves saving or spending money.
Talk them through what you are doing and encourage them to ask questions. As they get older, you can actively teach them how to earn money, how to save it, how to spend it, and how to invest it. When they are old enough, you can help them open their own bank account teach them about credit, discuss the pros and cons of loans, and so much more.
Another money-related life skill to teach your child is entrepreneurship. Teaching your child that they are able to earn money by building a business centered on something they love is an amazing gift. I feel like the world would be a better place if this life lesson were commonplace. Talk to your child about their passions/skills and then help them to brainstorm how to monetize those things. In this day and age (especially with the internet), the options are truly endless.
Another important life skill involves food. We all have to have it. Your kids need to learn that food doesn’t just magically end up in the refrigerator or pantry. Teach them the steps of keeping your home stocked with healthy foods. Show them how to create a meal plan, how to create a grocery list, and how to go grocery shopping. This is also a perfect time to teach them about nutrition and about budgeting.
The next logical step is teaching your kids how to coo the food they buy. You can start really early with this by letting your young children help out in the kitchen. They can progress from stirring things to helping you cook to cooking all by themselves. Who knows…maybe this will become a passion for them and they will end up regaling the world on Chopped Junior.
Bonus: cooking helps them learn about math (measuring), science (heating and mixing things), and fine motor skills (pouring, cutting, etc). It also teaches how to follow directions, how to experiment, and when to do each one. Plus, what parent wouldn’t love some help in the kitchen?
Do you always have trouble getting your kids out of the door on time? If so, now is as good a time as any to start teaching them about time management. This is, inarguably, a skill that they will need as they get older. Some ways to teach kids how to manage their time are to help them create to-do lists, prioritize the items, and then show them the consequences of not getting things done in a timely manner. It may irritate them, but it is better for them to learn these lessons now than as adults who are constantly feeling rushed.
Related Reading: How to Find Balance as a Homeschooling Mom
Last, but not least, all children should learn how to set goals and create action plans. One great way to do this is to help your child to create a vision board and then use that to figure out exactly what they need to do to accomplish each goal. Ave them write out their action plan and then help them celebrate every time the achieve a goal. If you start them doing this early, then by the time they are adults, they will be ready to conquer the world.
These are just a few life skills that will help your child to successfully navigate the world. There are DOZENS more skills that we want our children to master before we set them out on their own. Thankfully, my friends at SkillTrek developed a homeschool program that specifically teaches our children over 500 valuable life skills! If you are like us and desperately want your children to truly be prepared for life, but you don't have the time to focus on developing engaging lessons to teach them the skills, then you will want to check out SkillTrek! It is a professionally designed, quality program that is designed for the entire family! From preschool through young adult, each and every member of your family will benefit from this program. I've been going through it with my children and I've picked up some new skills! The best part is, the children LOVE it! It is FUN. When my children complain of being bored, I direct them to the SkillTrek program and they stay busy for hours. Click here to check it out!