Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life Skills 101

This week's Blog Cruise topic is incorporating life skills into homeschooling. I think at our house it might be more accurate to say that we incorporate homeschooling into our life skills. I feel it's soo important in today's world, to give children a good foundation in home/life skills. I recently read an article in which someone had criticized a mother for teaching her 5 yr old to do household chores (in this particular example, unloading the dishwasher) because "what if she doesn't want to be a housewife, what if she wants to be a lawyer or doctor?" Well in my world, even doctors and lawyers have to eat, and if they're going to eat healthfully, they should be eating at home, not eating out 3 meals per day. And if they're eating at home, they're going to have dishes to wash, so yup, even future lawyers and doctors need to learn to unload the dishwasher!  And the same argument can be made for most other life skills, that's why they're LIFE SKILLS!!!  So, in the grand scheme of life, I prioritize my training of my children as follows:  #1 Love of God and a relationship with Him, nothing else matters if we fail in this great responsibility! #2 Life skills and #3 academics (I'm sure if I thought about it I could think of additional categories, but for simplicity  sake, we'll stick with those 3. 

So, rather than incorporating life skills into our academics, I tend to incorporate academics into our life skills.  We learn fractions while reading recipes, while we're learning to cook in the kitchen.  Nutrition and gardening are important useful skills that also teach science. Reading can be learned in anything and everything, by . . .reading about . . .the topic we need to learn about. Money management skills are taught through an allowance, which also teaches math.  Chores teach cleaning skills as well as responsibility, patience, a good work ethic, unselfishness . . . and countless other character traits (learning to have a good character is an aspect of that #1 priority above).  Some days cleaning might also teach science or math or who knows what else, so much of school is just being aware and grabbing the learning moments as they present themselves. 

One key I've found to keeping my children interested and less whiny about life skills is to be constantly challenging them. It's much more fun to tackle a NEW life skill than to keep doing the same old chore over and over. As Little Bit gets older, another great learning tool will be having the older girls help teach her chores. We're already doing some of it, as they have her help them feed the cats, her job is to open the cat food bin and help put the food into the bowls when they bring the bowls inside, help sort the silverware when they unload the dishwasher.  She's also learning to take dirty dishes to the kitchen. She can't reach to put them in the sink, or on the counter, but she can set them on the kitchen stool or the floor in front of the sink, for someone else to move to the sink or dishwasher when they notice.

And that's a little bit about how we incorporate learning into life skills . . . er. . . I mean incorporate life skills into homeschool, hee hee.

Check the TOS Crew blog on Tuesday to see how other homeschoolers incorporate life skills in their homeschooling.

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