Back to School: How to Teach our Kids Life Skills

This post contains affiliate links for Skill Trek. I am excited to tell you about it! See my full disclosure about affiliate links by clicking here.

Fall is almost officially here, and we feel it because it’s back to school time. This elicits both a sigh of relief and a bit of nail-biting for most parents. Will our kiddos move ahead this year in their readiness for all the world holds? Are they learning the life skills they need to navigate it well?

Life Skills

Whether parents choose private, public, homeschool, or unschooling, I’m fairly confident most of us want our children to succeed. I think we all want our kids to be happy while they are learning too. We have mainly educated our kids through the public school systems (in Canada and in the U.S), though we forayed into Christian Schooling for a couple of years for one child, and virtual schooling for the two others. Each model has its benefits and drawbacks, but we’ve managed, and our children have thrived all the way through.

Back to School: How to Teach Our Children Life Skills

Sending my firstborn off to University recently, while seeing #firstdayofschool posts everywhere, has made me a bit nostalgic. It has forced me to consider the paths that led to this point. Have we prepared him well?

As I’ve thought this through, I’ve realized that much of what he needs to succeed he didn’t actually learn in school. Yes, he gleaned a lot there, and we’ve had some awesome teachers along the way. But he learned many of his most important life skills outside of the classroom, away from textbooks and technology.

This is #joyletloose.

When life becomes a vibrant classroom, life skills abound. Click To Tweet

Some of the skills that top my list as most important are:

  • Looking people in the eye
  • Listening well
  • Having a strong handshake
  • Extending hospitality
  • Respecting our elders

 

Then of course add in such things as cooking a variety of foods, laundry care, home repairs, money management, conversation and table etiquette and the list goes on… There are so many things we can add to the curriculum of life. And parents (and grandparents!) of littles, it is never too early to begin!

 

Skill Trek

Life skills are learned through repetition, in an environment that feels natural and enjoyable. They are internalized best when someone who loves them brings them alongside. And learning goals can be set according to the values that parents see as important in the adult world.

It just so happens that I stumbled on this great resource just last week. Skill Trek is a program designed for parents who want to make life skill learning a key (and fun!) part of home life. We didn’t have such a resource as our kids were navigating their younger years, but I wish we did! 

Whether your family is just entering the school world or starting into their teens, they can become Trailblazers, Rockhoppers, or Cragsmen. And Skill Trek promises 500+ skills are available to you in innovative and fun ways, with a reward system that encourages good habits to form through practice. Their goal is to banish boredom in your home, and to help everyone thrive!

Here are just a few of the testimonials I’ve read:

Skill Trek has exceeded everything I hoped it would be.  My children are eager to earn nuggets and master new skills, and the lessons have been fantastic jumping points for further discussion and learning.  I highly recommend this program to all parents of children!” ~ Dawn of Cedar’s Story

 

“My kids keep asking “Can we do Skill Trek?” They love their [trail]guide and earning nuggets! I love that they’re learning a wide range of life skills. It’s a busy mom win, for sure!” ~ Tauna of Proverbial Homemaker

 

So whether you’d want to include this in your homeschooling curriculum, or slip it into your after school routine, I encourage you to check out Skill Trek to see what you think! And I’d also encourage you to intentionally set some goals for your children. What are those key attributes you see in vibrant adults that they can learn now? What are the things you want to be sure they live naturally by the time they set out the door for university?

Goal-setting

Joy Let Loose adults are very often those whose childhoods were impacted by patient, loving mentors. How can you come alongside your children (or grandchildren, or other children you love) to help them grow to let joy loose?

I made a printable goal-setting sheet for you to get started. Download the PDF here. 

Life Skill Goals Sheet

How about you? What are some life skills you are instilling in your children that are invaluable to you and your family?

Elizabeth Joy

12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days

No matter what shape or form they take, or how they came to be, families are special. I believe they are a primary place where God intends for us to experience His  joy in our lives. In a culture where there are so many breakdowns to the family unit, having Family Traditions is one helpful way to foster unity, create special memories and build legacy.

Sometimes traditions begin on purpose, and sometimes they grow almost by happenstance. Some are tied to holidays, and some to the regular days, to create interest or to instil values. The traditions we have created in our family have been a source of joy for us as our crew has grown and changed. 

12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days

I’ve collected together 12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days that I hope you find inspiring for your family. You can use these ideas just as they are, or perhaps your family will put its own spin on some of them. Share in the comments below if you try out any of these ideas!

Birthday Pancakes

Birthday PancakesMy husband and I both had the flu on the day our first son celebrated his first birthday. Though we needed to postpone his birthday gathering by a day or two, we still wanted to acknowledge the milestone on the actual day, though we didn’t have the energy to do very much.

A few things were certain: the baby didn’t know it was his birthday, he wasn’t sick, and he still needed to eat! In true super-dad form, my husband Scott took one for the team and went to make breakfast. He wanted to make something special, and relatively new for our little guy, and decided upon pancakes. Long before ‘pancake art’ was even a thing, Scott made one pancake in the simple shape of a “1”, which he then served the baby, snapping a picture to keep for posterity. That was about the extent of the celebrations for that day.

When the next birthday rolled around, Scott remembered the previous year and poured a “2” with his pancake batter. Voilà, the first of our Family Traditions was born! As crazy as it seems, just this week, our oldest son will receive his 18th birthday pancake from his dad! In addition, we have served 28 others, between our second son and our daughter. It has become an enjoyable thing for each of them to look forward to on their big day. And, by virtue of our pictures heading out on the internet, we have seen the Birthday Pancake tradition spread from family to family over the years.

*If you have adopted the tradition of making birthday pancakes somewhere along the way, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

Tea Parties

Sometimes Family Traditions might be carried out in smaller groups (like Mother/Daughter, or Father/Son traditions). One tradition my daughter and  I  maintained with good regularity for many years was having Tea Parties.

 

When Grace was very small, I got the book Just Mom and Me Having Tea: A Fun Bible Study for Mothers and Daughters. It suited her perfectly, and gave us activities, craft ideas and launchpads for spiritual conversations while we had our tea parties. Our menu varied (rarely including tea!), and moved location almost every time (sometimes the dining room, other times a picnic on her bedroom floor). These times together were special, helping us to bond tightly. As she grew, our topics of conversation changed, and our activities modified to fit her stage of life, but our enjoyment of intentional time together never wanes.

 

Mother Daughter Tea Parties Continue reading “12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days”