Life Skills: Are You Teaching Them?
Did you know that June 13th is National Weed Your Garden Day?
Weed Your Garden Day doesn’t hold the same appeal for me as say, National Doughnut Day (which is also in June), but it brings up a few questions.
For one, who comes up with a National Weed Your Garden Day? Is there, perhaps, a Clean Up Your Mess in the Bathroom Day, or a Did You Take Out the Trash Day?
Personally, highlighting those mundane but necessary chores would help me out tremendously.
I am raising a teenage boy.
But then again… having one day a year dedicated to tossing ones towels in the laundry wouldn’t quite do the trick. Can you imagine? I feel like I am one step from utter household chaos as it stands.
I have told a story or two about my adventures as a young girl laboring in my daddy’s garden. Those who lived in my house were just naturally drafted into all such shenanigans. In fact, I called my Momma this afternoon, only to find her in the strawberry patch. She didn’t plant said strawberries, she is just one of the minions available for duty.
My early gardening adventures withstanding, this is not a post about weeding the garden.
I want to talk to you about how important it is to teach our kiddos some real-life skills, though it is entirely possible one of those skills includes the care and weeding of a garden.
Life skills aren’t things our kiddos are generally born with; we have to gently nudge, or prod, or instruct. They are also vital to have. I know I want my son to be a productive member of society who is able to manage his life. I also want him to be a good steward of what God has blessed him with.
It’s even an extra blessing if a life skill turns into a passion. Maybe your home baking classes will give birth to a pastry chef; at the very least, it will be to help your child learn how to make the family’s famous chocolate chip cookies. Maybe you have a budding entrepreneur; those pet care classes or babysitting courses might lead to a small business.
For some, a child’s education is comprised of those things that can only be found in books, and can be “figured out.” I have taken the approach in our homeschool that part of my son’s education includes learning to be independent and self-sufficient. After all, Momma won’t always be around to cut his PBJ into quarters, or separate his whites from his darks.
So how does one go about making life skills a part of an education?
For one, we have to decide what kinds of things we think are important to know.
Making a bed? Check.
Preparing a simple meal? Check.
Balancing a checkbook and managing a bank account? Check and check.
Obviously, it is not so important that your 5-year-old know how to write out a check. However, knowing all the rituals of a simple morning self-care routine is invaluable.
Learning these important skills can be a couple of different ways. Some chose to teach certain life skills organically; they are seamlessly blended into a family’s day and lifestyle. Then there is the approach that teaches certain skills more formally.
I have chosen to use a mixture of both. For example, my son does his own laundry on Tuesdays as part of his weekly schedule. I taught him young. Through the years, he has become more proficient and capable.
We also used a series of lessons I found from a variety of sources, that are laid out in a more traditional way. For example, one year I used a unit of lessons on simple money management that I found online. Having an already prepared lesson saved me time. We have also used a Study Skills Course and a simple cooking school unit. My son just recently finished taking a Speech class at our Co-op; this class gave him more than ½ of an English credit. It also gave him more confidence to communicate in a public setting.
Next year, our homeschool co-op is offering a Home and Car Maintenance course. You can bet your bippy I more than encouraged my son to sign up for the class.
Regardless of the approach taken, I believe it’s so important to make learning life skills a part of our Homeschool Life. National Weed Your Garden Day is entirely optional.
If you would like to hear more of my thoughts on teaching life skills, head on over to my blog, There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining. I’ve got some ideas for you.
Rebekah Teague is the homeschooling mama to one busy and beautiful boy. She is married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a really great guy. In her spare time she can be found with a book and a cup of tea. She blogs at There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining