Do you teach life skills in your homeschool? While you may be focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic, you shouldn’t neglect teaching life skills!
Teaching Life Skills
Teaching life skills is an important part of being a homeschool family. Not only are we concerned with content area mastery, but we want to prepare our kids to be competent adults. And part of this preparation is teaching life skills.
The importance of learning life skills
The importance of learning life skills can’t be overstated! And with the decline of maturity in early adulthood in the last several decades, it’s more important now than ever to make sure we’re teaching life skills to our homeschooled kids.
The fact that we even have a word like “adulting” in our vocabulary now shows how much life skills are lacking in young adults. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can set your kids up for success in their adult years by intentionally teaching life skills during their homeschool careers.
Why students should learn life skills
Students should learn life skills because it helps them to become independent and successful adults in society. They will be mature, able to handle stress, take care of themselves, their property, and their finances, and enjoy more confidence in what they do.
Remember that homeschool moms should be working themselves out of a job. This isn’t just academically speaking. In the areas of life skills, like budgeting, cooking, health, and more, our kids need to learn how to live on their own as competent and successful adults.
What is an example of a life skill?
One example of a life skill is organization. Sometimes homeschool moms forget to teach this important life skill to their children! While we keep the school papers and supplies organized and take a lot of ownership in how our homeschool day flows, our kids might not be challenged to learn to be organized for themselves.
But as they get older, their ability to be organized can make a big impact on their success at home and work.
Important Life Skills to Teach Students
There are dozens of important life skills to teach students. Some of these life skills will be taught on an ongoing basis through the years and your kids will grasp the skills more and more as they grow and mature.
Other skills are more beneficial during the teen years. But of of these life skills are important to teach before your kids leave the nest. So, what are some life skills that we should be focused on while our kids are in our home?
Behavioral Life Skills
Behavioral life skills include those social skills that help us live well with others in society. Here are some specific behavioral life skills to teach your kids.
Isn’t self-control necessary to be a successful adult who can live within their means? Some of self-control relates to healthy eating, some of it relates to money management and being able to postpone purchases until you have the money on hand, and some of this relates to controlling your emotions in your relationships.
All of these areas of self-control are necessary to address and teach from an early age and continue on until our teens graduate from homeschool high school.
Communication skills include things like listening, respecting others, and being aware of body language. Interpersonal skills like conflict resolution are best modeled and taught within a healthy family environment.
Then your kids will have the emotional skills and communication life skills necessary to take into adulthood.
One of the basic life skills that our kids need to know is making connections. A good starting point here is to emphasize cause and effect in life. Decisions have consequences. How can you have greater success based on your life decisions?
Many of these life skills can be taught with open lines of communication in our homes.
Critical thinking, discernment, and problem solving are all key life skills that we should teach our children. One easy way to teach critical thinking is to talk about current events, the bias in news sources, and how to tell what is truth versus error.
Taking on Challenges
Our kids need to know how to take on challenges and use creative thinking in overcoming obstacles. When stressful situations come to them, do they know what to do? What is their support system?
How can they work through challenges without falling apart?
Learning How to Become Self-Directed
Part of working ourselves out of a job as homeschool moms is helping our kids learn how to become self-directed. Self-directed people are able to set goals, have the initiative to follow through and complete those goals.
You can start small with teaching this life skill to your kids. But by the high school years, your teens will want to grow by leaps and bounds in this area so they can succeed in adulthood, whether that includes pursuing a college education or entering the workforce. Being a self-directed adult is crucial for confidence and success.
Teaching Money Management
It’s important to start teaching financial literacy at an early age. Even young children can learn to do simple chores around the house and earn a small allowance. This allows you to teach them about spending, saving, budgeting, and how to be good stewards with their finances.
There are several different electives in high school that you can take for money management.
And by teaching money management at an early age, they’ll be able to make small mistakes while they’re young and the cost of that mistake isn’t high. It’s best to teach money management skills while they’re safe in your home and under your guidance.
The first step to learning about spending is to let your children spend their own money on items. This will help them learn the value of a dollar, teach them that they can’t spend money they don’t have, and also let them see that hard work brings reward.
At a young age, let your children open a bank account to keep their savings in and watch it grow. Help them set some goals for savings and celebrate it when they reach certain savings milestones.
Budgeting is an important life skill that many young people still struggle with into adulthood. Let your teens help make the household budget for the month so they can learn how to give every dollar a job in the monthly money management.
Learning the life skill of budgeting will help prevent your young adults from falling on hard times because they were never taught about how to manage their finances in a responsible way.
Unfortunately, bills are a part of the real world of adulting. Everyday life includes some sort of bill-paying. So by the time your teens are in the high school years, give them an eye into the monthly bills and expenses of running a household.
Show them how you pay these bills. Your teens might even be responsible for their own bills, like car insurance or a phone plan.
Discovering Community Resources
Discovering community resources will help your children become competent and confident adults as they learn to live in society.
Kids and teens need to learn emergency numbers. Young children can learn how to dial 911 and older kids can be taught what to do in an emergency.
Do your kids know where to find important information on personal documents? Where do you keep their birth certificate? By the time your teen gets a job, he’ll need to know his social security number by heart. All of these personal documents and information are important to talk about with your kids.
Yes, voting is a life skill! And one of the best ways to teach this skill is to take your kids with you when you vote. Talk about the candidates, what they’re running for, what their positions entail, and why you’re voting for them.
Going to the voting booth with your kids can be a fun experience.
The summer months provide a great time to teach some oft neglected life skills like safe driving and auto repair. Do your pre-teens and teens know the basics of auto maintenance and safe driving? You’ll want to go over things like:
- how to change a tire
- what to do in an accident
- what to do if they’re pulled over by police
- put together an emergency kit
- how to check oil
Before long, your young adults will need to navigate the housing market. How can you best prepare them?
Leasing Vs. Buying
Discuss the difference between leasing and buying. Give them an imaginary monthly income and let your teen work out scenarios where they look for a local apartment to rent versus buying a home. Talk about the expenses and pros and cons of each situation.
Let your teens see your utility bills and talk about what it costs to pay for housing. In the scenario above, help them budget for monthly utilities with their income. How does this affect their budget?
Cost of Living
Cost of living is an important topic to talk about with our teens! What goes into a monthly budget? It’s likely more than they realize! Instead of keeping your finances hidden from your high schoolers, it will benefit them to have a front row seat to learn about the monthly costs of running a household.
Have you made some mistakes with money in your past? Go ahead and share those stories with your kids so they can learn from them and hopefully not repeat the same mistakes.
Employment is a key focus for many high school homeschoolers. You can help your teens navigate the job market by teaching these lifeskills.
Resumes and Jobs
The first thing you can help your teen with is to create a professional looking resume. All that volunteer work in middle school will look impressive when your high schooler sets out to land his first job!
What is the best work environment for your teen? Many high schoolers land great first jobs in the retail market or restaurant space. They’ll learn valuable life skills at any first time job.
Walk your teen through how to approach their first job interview. Talk about the importance of making eye contact, speaking clearly and confidently, and showing the ability to learn new things.
Cooking & Meal Planning
Cooking and meal planning are essential life skills that you can be working on little by little throughout the years. Include your younger children in the meal prep and eventually by high school, have your teens plans and cook an entire meal!
Grocery Shopping & Budgeting
One of the most important life skills you can teach your teen before they graduate are the household skills of grocery shopping and budgeting. Do your teens know how to cook a simple meal safely? Are they comfortable making a grocery list and keeping within a budget? Do they know how to shop for deals at the grocery store and compare brands and prices?
While we may think they know these skills already, they may not be aware of them unless we take the time to teach them.
Maintaining good health is important for everyone. Don’t neglect to teach these essential life skills related to health.
Do your kids have healthy habits? Have you taught them how to make good decisions about what they eat, how much sleep they get, and how to handle stress?
Good hygiene is essential so you don’t make a bad first impression. Teach your kids these life skills from a young age, all the way from brushing your teeth regularly to using deodorant to keeping a clean environment to promote good health.
Learning how to navigate the world of health insurance is a necessary life skill to teach your teens. They’ll need to know how insurance works, what to show the doctor at a visit, how to pay for it, and more.
Daily Living Skills
Teaching daily living skills begins when our kids are young. And no matter the ages of your kids, you can – and should – start to include them in the running of the household.
These household lifeskills need to be taught and mentored until your child grows in their ability to take ownership of them. So even though it can be tiresome and time consuming to work with each of your children to learn these simple tasks and household life skills, the time spent is a worthy investment!
Functional life skills will help ensure future success for your kids! In real life, these are the skills they need to be able to flourish. While they may not seem as important as teaching academics, you definitely want to make time in your homeschool year to focus on these skills.
Sonlight is a complete, literature-based, Christian homeschool curriculum with every subject for students from Preschool through high school. Our curriculum uses a variety of materials to deliver an engaging and complete education that extends beyond textbooks and memorization: literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations, and hands-on experiments. These resources come with thorough lesson plans and notes, so that you can enjoy successful homeschooling. Customers who buy from Sonlight enjoy a liberal arts education that produces critical thinkers who are ambassadors for Christ with a heart for the world. Visit us online and request a FREE catalog today!