Life Skills 101

I refuse to send my children out into the world without basic knowledge of a few key life skills. Cooking, cleaning, budgeting, laundry… These are all things that are pretty vital to being a productive, self-reliant adult, in my humble opinion. There are also a few other things that are nice to have a knowledge of like gardening and woodwork, and we like to involve the kids in these things when we can.

And come on, with all the conveniences in this day and age, is it really that hard to read some directions and cook yourself a meal?!?! If my kids can do it at 6 years old, there really is no excuse if your kids are able.

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Let’s face it, as parents, we’re tired… It’s SO great to wake up and hear my kids say, “Mom, I made us all some scrambled eggs!” Instead of, “I’m STARVING… Mom, what are you going to cook us?”

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Whenever possible, I would sign us up for homeschool cooking classes held at the library. Look into groups that may offer these for free or a small fee.

The library also offered other skills like knitting and crochet that I have very little experience with (or patience, if I’m being honest) that the kids participated in.

Sewing is also a biggie. We live in such a throw away culture, many people would rather toss perfectly good items that could be easily fixed. I want my children to have the skills to patch up a small hole or sew on a button that popped off.

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I might start sounding like I’m from a different era here, but bear with me… “Back in my day…” Hahaha. In all seriousness, today’s culture is a very “spendy” one. I pride myself in being frugal. We don’t use a credit card anymore because we saw how quickly debt can accumulate and how much it can stifle your life when all you’re living for is paying bills. Yes, we still have living expenses, but we live within our means and it’s not about “keeping up with the Joneses.” I try to instill this into my kids. Life is not about how much money or fancy new things you have, but the fun memories and experiences you share. Therefore, it’s important to be smart with your money and make good decisions when it comes to purchases. One day I was looking for something fun to do indoors to beat the Texas heat, so we ventured to IKEA and I gave them each a checklist and budget to furnish their own apartments. It was a fun way to “play house” and watch the kids as they imagined how their own dwellings would look. You can also do this from home and make it an online shopping activity, searching through sale ads or doing some comparison shopping with online stores.

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As an assignment over the holidays, I gave them each a budget to spend on gifts for one another. They had to also factor in sales tax with their purchase. It was great to see them research and find deals and calculate their budgets. We then went to the store, made our purchases and they all came home and went to hide to wrap up the gifts for one another. They LOVED it, and asked if we could continue to do it each Christmas. See how I snuck in all that Math into a project they viewed as fun? And see how that can help them in their future shopping as adults?

Some people may not consider it, but I feel gardening is a great life skill to have. Growing your own food not only lowers your carbon footprint and helps everyone as a whole, you also do help lessen your food budget. Planting seasonally, organically and companion planting is something I consider worthy knowledge that I try to pass down to my kids.

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Cleaning and laundry… I mean, they’re pretty self explanatory. Teach your kids to clean and do their own laundry unless you feel like being their maid the rest of your life!

Having the kids be involved in building projects gives them the opportunity to appreciate a sense of accomplishment when they are finished. There’s also measuring and engineering involved, so they’re getting extra knowledge while building.

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If possible, let your kids try new hobbies. You never know, you might ignite a passion that could turn into their lifelong career!

That covers the most of it, I guess! Ha! There are a few budgeting spreadsheets and financial literacy worksheets I’ve found on Teachers Pay Teachers. Have fun doing some Homeschool Home-Ec and learn some lifelong skills!

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