When I was a young mom with a preschooler, I attended a Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten workshop. I felt so “official” with my notebook and pen ready to hear a list of things that I needed my son, Jack, to know before his first day of public school.
Imagine my surprise when the speaker, a current Kindergarten teacher, told the group that the number one skill she wished all kindergartners had on the first day was “opening milk cartons”!
What? Yep, she said that school could teach them their colors, shapes, numbers, etc. but the rush of lunchtime left some kindergartners going through an entire lunch period with their hands in the air waiting for help opening up their milk.
It was a revelation to me and one that laid the foundation of my parenting from that day forward. I transitioned my son to homeschool with the express purpose of teaching him the life skills he will need to prevent him from getting stuck and frustrated in a world that moves a mile a minute.
Transform Your Homeschool By Teaching What Matters Most
It starts with a mind shift
Remember back to when your toddler had a meltdown in the store? All he wanted at that moment was the candy or toy he saw. Short term the way to “help” was to give him what he wanted.
Yet, we all know that giving in to the meltdown will not help him at all. Real help comes in giving your child what is best for them. Your child will spend 3 times as long-living outside your house than he will inside it, helping him be prepared is what is best.
When we take the reins from our child, we think we are sending the message “I love you and want to help you” but in reality, we are saying “Here, let me do this because you are incapable or not good enough”.
I want to challenge you to stop before you automatically “help” by meeting the need of your child and ask yourself “Is this something he/she could do themselves with a little guidance?” If the answer is “yes” then let me encourage you to take the time to teach your child to take care of themselves.
Time is short
We have a short time to prepare our kids for the real world and the list of skills they will need is long. From soft skills like empathy, having difficult conversations, and kindness to more concrete skills like cooking, cleaning, and financial savviness.
This is why I love homeschooling. You have the freedom and time to teach what truly matters.
Homeschool does not have to be confined to desks and books. Homeschool is as wide as your (or Pinterest’s) imagination. When you want to teach them how money works, you can play store or sponsor a lemonade stand. When you want your kid to learn how to type you can take a day to have him type a report.
When you want him to learn to take notes, you can stick him in front of a Ted Talk and ask him to follow along and write down the key points. There are creative ideas out there, and time to implement them.
As you are setting out your school year plan, throw in some life skills to integrate into the year.
- Lawn Care
- Simple Home Repairs
- Simple Car Cleaning/Maintenance.
Often, we don’t realize that we need to prepare our kids for the real world until they look (and act) like grown-ups. But, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the time to teach your kids the mundane tasks of life is before they reach the “know it all” years and are busy with school, work, friends, and social media.
When you try to tear your teen away from their electronics to take a day to teach them to paint a room, you better believe you are going to hear a lot of complaining. But in 5th through 7th grade, they are much more willing to learn new skills.
Believe me, the teenage years are hard enough without having to put up will all that attitude as you train them to bake a cake.
Yes, it is work to create opportunities for your child to learn adulting skills but the peace you will feel when your student embarks on their life as an adult makes it all worthwhile. You’ve got this, fam.
This post was written by….
Charla McKinley graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Finance. She went on to become a Certified Public Accountant with over 25 years of working in both the corporate and private sectors. While homeschooling her two children, Charla was inspired to write an interactive personal finance curriculum that opens the student’s eyes to the high costs of being an adult. After retiring from homeschooling, Charla continues to teach teens locally and across the country using her Beyond Personal Finance curriculum. To learn more about this unique, eye-opening class go to www.bpfclass.com.
This article is a part of our How We Homeschool Series; a collection of content from full-time, veteran homeschoolers sharing their own experiences on the versatility and diversity of homeschooling. You can read more about the series, and see all of the content, by clicking the image below.