I know, I know, that title seems a bit obvious! If you’ve been homeschooling for even a semester you know that teaching your children at home definitely includes teaching some life skills! Getting them involved with cooking and cleaning the kitchen afterward, or daily chores like sweeping the kitchen after lunch or folding their own laundry are pretty much Home Ec 101. In addition to these basics, there are so many more great skills we can teach them!
Full disclosure: I struggle with this in my home. I’ve always been the “just do it myself” kind. One of my biggest weaknesses is requiring (more like allowing) my kids to do something that I can do more effectively and efficiently. But, if I don’t let them do it, they really won’t learn! I also struggle with implementation. Asking them to clean up a mess for me as I notice it, is really different than assigning them tasks that they are responsible for every day. The former doesn’t teach responsibility or time management, or any of the other vital life skills they should have a firm mastery of when they grow up. Adding some life skills training to our day-to-day curriculum is the best way for them to learn effectively.
A Practical Approach
Get organized. Having a program to follow with specific skills planned out in advance will make it easier to stay accountable. Knowing what skills to look forward to throughout the year might also help motivate your child.
Recordkeeping. It’s hard to keep track of life skills learned. So much instruction happens naturally in homeschooling, but when you really think about it, we don’t give our kids enough credit for the jobs they do. Print out certificates of completion and add them to your child’s portfolio.
Learn new skills along with your child. Confession: I don’t know the first thing about gardening. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things I’d learn along with my children’s life skills study.
Cover skills outside of your own comfort zone. I don’t want my kids limited to the skills I have or the skills I feel comfortable teaching (see above). We all have different gifts! I’m sure we’d come across lots of topics I wouldn’t naturally cover on my own and that is a good thing.
It can be counted as high school credit. There are so many courses available to high schoolers. Look for courses outside the title “Life skills” or “Home Economics”. Although those would obviously be perfect, there are also more specific life skills courses available such as Personal Finance or Leadership Management Skills.
Where To Begin
Luckily, lots of other homeschooling mamas have already covered this ground and have provided us with some pretty amazing ideas.
10 Areas of Essential Life Skills for Teenage Boys by Michelle Caskey of Homeschool Your Boys has a great list of things to teach teens. And it’s definitely not just for boys! Every task is essential for anyone who will have to live on their own someday. She even includes a handy, printable checklist!
Don’t Fail Your Kids  by Dachelle of Hide the Chocolate. Don’t be afraid of that title! This site is anything but judgmental! And between giggles, you’ll find some really great info about how to teach them the basics.
Practical Life Skills for the Gifted Teen , a post series by Renee at Great Peace Academy, is filled with information worth bookmarking. Although gifted education is Renee’s niche, this series would be perfect for all teens. She covers topics like cooking, finance, and home management.
Check out this Life Skills Bingo  printable pack from Ginny at Not So Formulaic! Even if you’re not in the mood for bingo, she has a fantastic life skills post series worth reading.
Books About Life Skills
1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They Leave Home : (Or Else They’ll Come Back) by Harry H. Harrison Jr.
This is a great chapter book and a must for parents who want to make sure their kid can make it out there!
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens  by Sean Covey.
Effective teens? Um, yes, please! This book is adapted from the New York Times Best-Seller, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, and author Sean Covey has updated it for the children of the digital age. Adding this one to my cart right now!
The Leader in Me  by Franklin Covey.
This is a series for elementary-aged students based on the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In the guide levels 1 – 6, lessons feature 10-minute activities that help students reflect on their lives, develop leadership skills, and set goals. This is a flexible program that can be assigned daily or weekly. A teacher’s guide is also available.
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