Five Skills You NEED to Teach Your Kids (that they won’t learn in public school!)
Homeschooling is about to be in full-swing in our household, and it has me thinking about priorities in my children’s educations. As my oldest approaches “kindergarten”, I know reading and math are at the top of the list for her. But, the more I think about it – and the more I talk to other moms – I realize that there are other essential things I need to teach my children that they would never learn in school.
Homeschooling gives me the opportunity to take charge of every aspect of their education, which is exciting!
I went to public school all 13 years, and then went on to spend four years in college. With all that education, I certainly should’ve felt equipped for adulthood, right?
Well… not so much.
My parents taught me so much that I’m thankful for, but there are other things they didn’t teach me that I wish they had. So, as I begin this homeschooling season with my littles, I want to remember to equip them for real life and not just the classroom.
Here are five things I want my children to learn…
Gardening is at the top of my list because it’s knowing how to grow your own food. (You’re thinking, um, duh?) But seriously, what could be better? Gardening is a quantifiable skill that can benefit you for the rest of your life. It’s something that gives you real results, gives you an appreciation for what you are eating, and saves you money.
I want my kids to have knowledge that can help them to be self-sufficient, not just help them to win Trivial Pursuit.
Gardening also has a whole host of benefits including heart health, stress relief, dexterity, brain health and immune regulation. Oh, and it also helps children appreciate the importance of patience and hard work.
Cooking is an essential skill for just about anyone, including men (because, how do I know they’ll get married immediately?). Not only do I want my kids to know how to cook, but I hope they learn to enjoy and appreciate having this skill.
The only way your children will learn to cook from scratch is if they see you doing it. Lead by example! Cook healthy, simple meals for your family using real food. They don’t have to be elaborate, expensive recipes. Search for “one-pot recipes” on Pinterest and you’ll find tons of great ideas. I have a few go-to ones, and they are the best (plus, less dishwashing. Win-win!).
My five-year-old has already started learning knife skills, which is important to me. She cuts up bananas and blueberries for the baby, and she loves the responsibility.
Kids who learn to cook tend to eat healthier and have higher self-esteem, and you will never be sorry that you taught your kids how to cook well. (Believe me, their future spouses will thank you!)
There are so many things I wish I knew about finances and budgeting as a young adult. First, I knew nothing about the way credit works. What a credit score was, how it affected getting a loan, what could make it go up or down, nothing. I didn’t even know the difference between a debit and a credit card until I was basically out of high school.
Luckily, my parents at least taught me how to be frugal. I knew that I should save money; but that’s about it.
I hope to teach my kids about all kinds of money management – pros and cons of taking out a loan, what goes into buying a house, credit cards, budgeting, everything. I don’t want them to move out of the house and have to figure it all out on their own (and probably make a bunch of mistakes that could affect them for years).
Once your kids are old enough to understand the concept, talk to them about money. Talk about saving, about prioritizing, budgeting, everything. Make sure they understand that you must use money responsibly and carefully. It will serve them well in the future.
This means just letting them be kids. It means letting them climb, throw, ride bikes, and jump.
It means letting them spend as much time as possible outside.
Not only does this encourage exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle, but helping your kids develop coordination gives them an appreciation for their bodies’ abilities. Kids who develop balance and coordination tend to be less socially isolated and have higher self-esteem.
Okay, this isn’t really a “skill”, but it’s important, so it’s on the list, alright? Admittedly, sex education is taught in most schools, but in my experience, they do a terrible job. (And I’m not talking about teaching abstinence – I support that 100%).
I had some type of “sex ed” class in fifth grade, as the school tried to prepare us for puberty, and then one other semester as a freshman in high school. I barely remember anything from my high school class except for watching the teacher put a condom on the banana, and playing a super-weird version of BINGO.
I plan to teach my kids honestly and age-appropriately about sex, obviously in the context of our family’s values. It is crucial that they don’t have to learn it for themselves once they go out into the world.
BONUS: A MORAL CODE
Again, not really a skill, but I had to add this one. This is the most crucial thing you can pass onto your children, especially if they are in public school.
This is a lead-by-example kind of thing. Talk about your beliefs. Talk what it means to love others, and then actually do it. Tell your children what it means to obey God, what it means to love God.
And for the love of everything good, do not be a hypocrite. Kids can see through hypocrisy like nobody else, and they don’t have the patience for it. Do not compromise your beliefs, and admit your mistakes to your children when you fall short.
They will grow to respect you for it, and your words will resonate with them more.
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS, WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THE LIST?