Homeschooling Practical Life Skills

Kids need to be taught practical life skills—skills that will teach them how to survive in society—how to thrive in society. Teaching these to your children can certainly be part of your Homeschooling endeavours.

Practical life skills can be divided into five categories (maybe more) and the skills that fall within each category are probably endless. The question then arises as to which life skills you value, and which ones you want to include in your Homeschooling program. To start with, maybe you can consider the following–

1) Communication skills. It is absolutely critical that people learn how to effectively communicate with one another, both verbally and through the written word. Communication skills worth teaching include–

  • Say please, thank you, no thank you, etc.  Manners never go out of style
  • The importance of eye contact
  • Speak kindly–don’t be hurtful with your words
  • Be truthful—your word means everything
  • As important as your words are, your actions mean even more
  • When in doubt, ask questions
  • How to write a good letter, report, etc.—how to get your thoughts across to others
  • Topic sentences are important

2) A similar important skill set is the formation and maintenance of relationships. The ability to form and maintain relationships affect every aspect of our lives. Following are some relationship skills you may like to focus on with your kids–

  • Friends come and go—but family is always there for you
  • Empathy—it’s so important
  • There is no such thing as being too polite, too kind, or too reliable
  • Do not confuse kindness for weakness. Recognise and value kindness
  • It is better to love and be hurt, than never to love at all (Shakespeare said it better!)
  • Treat other people’s property with respect
  • As important as your words are, your actions are even more important
  • Don’t purposely and thoughtlessly let others down
  • Be kind to those that love you
  • Where there is a will….there is a way….that’s an adage that applies to relationships
  • You have instincts for a reason.  If something or someone doesn’t feel right, trust yourself
  • It’s important to treat animals kindly
  • Never hit anyone

3) Financial skills are extremely important as money is a necessary part of life. The repercussions of not having these skills can be devastating. Some of the financial skills that are helpful for children to learn include the following–

  • Understand the value of money
  • Know how to budget and live within one’s budget
  • Know how wages and tax work
  • Know how to make money through investment vehicles
  • The concept of compound interest
  • If an investment opportunity looks too good to be true, then it probably is

4) Day to day living skills worth learning–

  • The importance of maintaining a vehicle so you don’t run out of oil or petrol and so your windshield wipers always work
  • How to change a tyre
  • How to read a map (yes, even with GPS, they should know how to read a map!)
  • If you make something from scratch it gives you a personal sense of accomplishment
  • One man’s trash is another’s treasure
  • Know how to do the washing, hem your pants, and sew on buttons,
  • Know how to swim

5) Philosophical lessons worth learning–

  • You can be happy if you choose to be happy
  • Thoughts are very powerful
  • Enjoy what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t have
  • Always do your best, but realise your best may change from day to day
  • It’s ok to be wrong—in fact, that’s how we learn
  • If something looks too good to be true, it probably is
  • Value and nurture your creativity

6) Religious/Spiritual Lessons—these are up to each family.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children and make sure they possess the skills they need to not just survive —but to thrive in the real world.