Guest Post: Life-Learning, an Important Homeschool Lesson

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Welcome back to our guest post series! Today’s guest post is coming to you from Carol over at Home Sweet Life. If you haven’t heard of Carol’s blog before, I hope you take some time today to head over there and check it out. Carol has an amazing knack for finding joy in the day to day, and frequently blogs about thankfulness (see her Thankfulness Thursdays series) – I just love to read it, and eke off her happy, thankful thoughts to brighten my own day.

Her post today is another one of those encouraging ones- Homeschooling can sometimes feel overwhelming, with all the things you have to teach- but have you taken a moment to stop and think about some of the most valuble lessons you can share with your child? We’re preparing them for more than higher level math and science, we have to prepare them for LIFE too! Cooking, cleaning, car maintenance…. all of these skills are important (and, fun to teach!). Keep reading to hear Carol’s thoughts on life-learning  with her homeschool kids.


supplies collage-2

By now most families have settled into a new school year. New notebooks, sharp pencils, and clean backpacks abound. Have you given any consideration to what your children should be learning besides math, history, science and literature? Whether you are a homeschooling family, or your children attend public or private school, there are some ‘life-learning’ lessons you can teach your Middle School and High School aged students this year that will benefit them the rest of their lives.

Our non-traditional school supply list includes items such as:

  • Hammer and nails
  • Pliers and screwdrivers
  • Sewing machine
  • Patterns
  • Checkbook register
  • Monopoly money
  • Work gloves
  • Kitchen utensils

If you’re hesitant about teaching your children, don’t be. You were their first teacher, and since they can walk and talk, you must have done something right! You don’t need to be Bob Vila or Guy Fieri to teach your children basic household maintenance or simple cooking. You don’t even need to be Dave Ramsay to teach your kids to balance a checkbook (although you might want to check his ideas for other money lessons you should be working through together.)

This is a call to invest in your children, and help them learn basic ‘adult’ skills while still having Mom and Dad nearby for help. Can your child make dinner start to finish by themselves? I’m not asking a 14 year old to make a Thanksgiving spread, but I do think they should be able to make more then mac-and-cheese and hotdogs. Can your 16 year old sew back on a button that popped off? Can you? Maybe its time for a little YouTube video watching by you, the parent.

Does your 12 year old know the principle of ‘righty-tighty, lefty-loosy’ or are you going to leave them to figure it out all on their own? Now is a good month to teach your children the basics of household repair.

I have found that sometimes, as parents, we are in such a hurry that we don’t bother to teach these lessons to our children because it is quicker to be their slave than their employer. Be your child’s employer! If you are feeling overworked, it is probably because you haven’t found the freedom in teaching your children household work and letting them do it. Kurt doesn’t need to hang up pictures for our daughters, nor do I need to make them bread for lunch. They know how to do these things because we have invested the time to teach them.

Three of our favorite ‘non-traditional’ places to shop for school supplies are Lowe’s, Jo-Ann’s, and Dollar Tree. Lowe’s is the place to find what we need to fix things (or build them int he first place.) We live in a 100 year old house, so opportunities for learning home repair abound. Jo-Ann’s is our go-to for sewing supplies, and Dollar Tree is a great ‘experimenting’ location. We’ve found kitchen gadgets to flashlights to science experiment supplies at Dollar Tree.

Just in case you’re wondering, we do still go to stores like Staples for traditional supplies, like paper, ink, and binders. It’s just that we understand the need to let our children grow up doing adult things around the house. Your child may not like to cook, but they can still learn how. Your child may never sew an outfit using a difficult pattern, but they should know how to sew on a button and hem a pair of pants.

I’m hoping you’ll consider adding at least one non-school lesson to your children’s schedule every month. I’ll be working on teaching our girls to balance a checkbook next month… even though it’s growing more and more unlikely they’ll ever write a check! Let’s face it, it’s a whole lot easier to learn this balancing/ budgeting lesson with monopoly money than with overdraft charges on their first checking account.

Give it some thought, what skill do you wish you had learned while still at home? Maybe that’s where you should start. If you’re still baffled, what skill could you learn together?

Happy parenting!

HappyuspicCarol is a home educating, out-door loving, reading, sewing, art-minded Mom who lives in the Midwest with her husband Kurt and two teenaged daughters. She blogs at Home Sweet Life.

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