Homeschooling Life Skills in the Modern Era

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By Katie B.

Homeschooling certainly isn’t a new practice. But, it’s on the rise here in the U.S. and has been since the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are plenty of benefits to homeschooling kids of any age. It allows for greater flexibility, you can adapt lesson plans to fit your child’s learning style, and you’re right there to give them the one-on-one attention they might need to thrive in certain subjects.

Another benefit of homeschooling is that you can create a curriculum that doesn’t just focus on textbooks and tests. It’s an opportunity to teach your children real-life skills they can use both immediately and as adults. There is incredible value in hands-on experiences through education.

By having the right space to teach your kids, you can cater to their needs and interests, and teach them things about the world around them that they might not be exposed to in a traditional school setting.

Preparing Your Home Properly

Another practice that has been on the rise since the pandemic is remote work. Like homeschooling, there are many benefits to working from home, but one of the most important factors for success is having a dedicated space to work each day. The same goes for homeschooling.

If you don’t have a dedicated area for teaching each day, your kids might become distracted by some of the comforts of home. They might be tempted to watch television or wander into the kitchen for snacks instead of doing their work.

So, take the time to transform a specific area in your home into a place for learning. It could be a spare bedroom, basement, or garage into an office space. Converting a space like a garage into a learning environment is easier than you might think, with just a few simple steps:

  • Declutter and clean the space
  • Cover basic necessities like heat and power by adding outlets or wiring
  • Set up the right lighting
  • Choose suitable furniture
  • Add personal touches

In addition to having the right space, it’s also a good rule of thumb to have a daily schedule. Have your kids wake up at the same time each day, go through a morning routine before school, and then spend a few hours focused solely on education.

Hands-On Education

Kids have different learning styles, and for some, it’s much easier to learn by doing. Homeschooling offers so many unique opportunities for hands-on learning, as long as you’re willing to get creative. For example, instead of science lessons that come straight from a book, teach your children about renewable energy by creating a windmill together, or showing them how a solar-powered light works.

Educate them on lifecycles and sustainable growing practices by creating a garden in your backyard. Teaching your children how to grow their own food is also a wonderful way to educate them on botanical knowledge and nutrition. Some of the easiest herbs and superfoods to grow at home are:

  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric

When it comes to math, have fun with pizza or pie when teaching fractions, or take a field trip to a local bank when you’re learning about currency, addition, and subtraction. When your child is able to immerse themselves in a lesson and see how it can impact them in the real world, they’re more likely to stay invested and retain the information they’re learning.

Life Skills That Make a Difference

As your kids get older and start to enter their teen years, you can take the hands-on experiences you’ve been teaching and use them to get your children ready for the future. Some of the most important life skills teens need to learn include:

  • Budgeting
  • Maintaining a house and car
  • Staying organized
  • Perfecting their social skills
  • Building personal skills

There are fun and effective ways to teach all of these things by allowing your teen to experience real-world situations for themselves. Go with them to open a bank account and teach them how to budget with a debit card or checkbook. Help them set up a financial goal, like purchasing a car, and going through what they’ll need to maintain their vehicle.

When it comes to staying organized, consider having a “decluttering day” by encouraging them to clean out their room and donate or get rid of items they don’t need. Give them a time limit and tout the benefits of an organized workspace, like greater productivity and reduced stress.

Teach them social skills by encouraging them to go out for sports or other extracurricular activities. Build their personal skills by fostering their interests. If your teen loves food and has an interest in being in the kitchen, teach them how to cook. It’s a great way to incorporate scientific principles they’ve already learned into an everyday practice. Cooking is a skill they’ll use forever, and it could be something they become very passionate about.

No matter where you are on your homeschooling journey, don’t be afraid to have fun with your curriculum. What you teach your kids and teens now can be carried with them into adulthood, so consider the life skills you wish you had learned at a young age, and make them a priority for your kids.

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