When we started homeschooling, we had a lofty goal: To teach them everything the school wouldn’t or couldn’t.
As time went on, we realized that there were many things that school would not have taught them. We also saw that, because there are so many things to see, explore, and learn about in this world, we really needed to prioritize. We had to find ways to incorporate the little things that slip under the radar – how to boil water, cook an egg, and open a checking account, for example.
In other words, we had to balance the ideal with what we could teach them in a reasonable amount of time.
We aren’t supposed to teach them everything
How many of you knew everything you needed to know, upon graduation from high school or college?
I don’t know about you, but frankly, the only thing I really learned in school was how to read, write, do math, and hang out with friends. The real stuff I needed to succeed in life? I didn’t learn that stuff until I was actually out in the world!
While we can do much better than that our children, we still can’t teach them everything. It is important remember this fact, no matter how how much we want it to be otherwise.
How do we decide what to teach?
We decided that in addition to the usual suspects of reading, writing, math, science, history, music, language, and art; we would teach them the things that we needed when we were first on our own.
When I was first out on my own, I had no real idea how to do several thnigs, but cooking was a big one. My mom had been traumatized by my abusive father and didn’t have any desire to cook – so never taught me. I was a single mom with a young baby, not much income, and I did not take any public assistance.
I had to learn how to budget effectively to put food on the table.
One thing I learned it was far cheaper to cook the butternut squash my son loved (he’s now 26 and a dad) myself. That tiny jar of baby food cost about 50 cents; but I could buy a squash for $1 and fill 10 of those jars. This was huge. It taught me to buy vegetables and meat, and learn to cook.
This is something I did not want my kids to have to learn on their own; lessons like the butternut squash were everywhere.
Skills like cooking and budgeting will never let you down, so they are on our list of “Must learn” topics.
Basic life skills your kids will need
- Budgeting to live within your means.
- Sewing on buttons, making simple repairs to clothing.
- How to cook.
- Balance a checkbook.
- Understanding credit cards.
- Finding deals on everything from clothing to food and more.
- Enough about a car to know when your mechanic is capable.
- Random things you’d never expect…
This is a short list and there is more that my 5:30 am brain isn’t seeing.
Remember: At the end of the day, our job is to give them the tools they need in order to learn what they want. Help them understand when to use which tool, and teach them that life is learning.
Life is learning, growth, and constant change. Teach them to seek knowledge and encourage their innate curiosity – those things will never let them down.
It’s our job to guide them to becoming fully-functional adults
A foundation in the classics, and knowledge of history give important context to life’s struggles. Knowing our past is vital, yet it seems trivial when you can’t figure out how to cook pasta.
In the spring issue, Amy Azevedo shares her ideas on what raising functional adults looks like. The little things that she realized they had missed along the way will crack you up.
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Learning Tangent is Gail’s brainchild. When it all goes down, she has to get the magazine out the door and on its way to subscribers. She has four kids, of whom she and her husband David homeschool two. She enjoys a wide range of activities including weaving, photography, writing, is a musician (both a teacher & performer), calligrapher, and is an avid sci-fi- & fantasy reader. You’ll generally find her busy doing whatever it is she wants to on a given day.