Friday, February 25, 2011

All The Other Important Stuff To Learn...

I am a planner.  Getting my master's degree in education turned me into a planner.  I was taught that you needed to know what your children needed to learn and then make a plan to cover that material.  Most of the time that meant you needed to create your own lessons because you likely wouldn't have books.

When I started homeschooling, I thought I would have more planning time--not less than I did as a classroom teacher.  What I discovered to be reality was actually that I have far less.  In my life with 3 children 2, 5, and 7, I need to be able to pick up and go with a lesson.  Formatting in a book can either make my life easy or very difficult.  I have a plan for their academics and I have been so blessed to watch God direct me to the right curriculums for my kids.  But, recently I came upon the realization that it was time to get on the ball when it came to all the other stuff besides the academics that they need to learn.  My girls are getting older and time has seemed to sneak up on me already.

So, in January, my girls began folding and putting away their clothes regularly.  Autumn took on making their beds and Sami began emptying the trash.  I have been trying to involve them more in the cooking and truly holding them accountable for picking up their toys.  Too often I had fallen into the habit of picking things up for them.  But, I knew I needed to stop--so I've mostly stopped.

Then, two weeks ago, my husband asked me about all the other things that he had hoped they would learn or have the opportunity to do because they are homeschooling.  At the top of the list were cooking and gardening.  I listened and took what he said and mulled it over.  I pulled out a book on my bookshelf called Life Skills for Kids by Christine Field, and do some research on the internet.

I couldn't find an all in one home economics/money management/manners/hobby arts curriculum.  The ones I found had a sharp dichotomy between what girls and boys were taught to do.  My husband and I do want our girls to be able to keep their home, but we don't believe in keeping them home until they marry.  I hope and even expect that my girls will go to college or receive additional education after high school.  I am preparing them to do that.  Not all girls get married and I don't know what the Lord has for them--though I do hope that he has a husband in mind for them and a wife in mind for Eli.  So, I believe I need to prepare them well--to be able to both mow the lawn, paint a room, cook a meal, garden, and manage their own finances well.

The curriculums I found also tended to be far more conservative in their beliefs about men's and women's roles than mine are.  I once was an evangelical feminist--which I am far from now.  But, I am not super conservative about my beliefs about submission either.  Dancing With The One You Love by Cindy Easley was such a blessing to me this year.  It is the first book I have read about submission that I felt is written with grace and the understanding that all marriages are different--while still believing firmly in the submission of a wife to her husband.  Since I didn't find a curriculum that covered everything I was looking for with lessons in it, I found myself in a quandary.  I decided to collect a list of resources and a basic list of the skills I want to teach my children.

So far I have the list and the resources are on their way.  I am going to post reviews of the books as they come and add a new tab to this blog that will keep a running list of the topics, my plan, and the resources.

So, here's my list of topics...
Elementary School
Money Management            Wise Purchases, Grocery Shopping, Saving
Decision Making                  Self Discipline, Wise/Unwise
Space Organization              Own Room, Clothing, Closet
Home Skills                         Gardening, Meal Planning, Cooking, Sewing, Recycling/Reusing
People Skills                        Manners, Making Friends, Phone Etiquette
Healthy Lifestyles                 Eating Right and Making Good Food Choices
Celebration Skills                 Family Traditions, Birthdays, Special Days/Achievements, Holidays,

Middle School
Money Management            Clothes Shopping, Grocery Shopping, Saving/Banking
Decision Making                  Time (Priorities), Self Discipline, Wise/Unwise
Space Organization              Home, Purse/Backpack
Vision                                  Goals/Purpose
Home Skills                         Menu Planning, Cooking, Knitting/Crocheting, Child Care
People Skills                        Email/Letter Etiquette
Healthy Lifestyles                 CPR/First Aid Class
Fine Arts                              Photography, Music Appreciation

High School
Money Management            Open and Use a Bank Account, Budgeting
Life Skills                             Getting a Job, Work Ethic
Home Skills                          House Maintenance, Car Maintenance, Painting, Wood Finishing
Animals                                Volunteer at Humane Society

I trained to teach K-5, taught Middle School, and tutored High School Students and adults.  So, I realize that I naturally keep in mind the end of the race.  I do still try to focus on what's right in front of me, but I have found that I need to know where I'm going.  I am running this race intentionally.  It doesn't confine me and none of what I've written is hard and fast, but it is a starting point.  A place for me and my kids to begin at.


  1. Great post! I know I need to start teaching my girls these things, too. And I am very excited to read your review of Sewing School.

    I am curious why you put "open a bank account and budgeting" under high school? I guess particularly the budgeting part? May I ask your reasoning on waiting until they are that old?

    Also, I know you have your hands full and probably have many other reasons for waiting, but the Humane Society will take volunteers at just about any age (I think Eli is a little small). But, as long as a parent is with them, they don't have to wait until high school.

  2. Opening an account may happen in middle school and I may introduce them to budgeting in middle school, but I'm not sure. Really, I was trying to divide up what I want to teach them and not pack too much in. We've been really slow to teach our kids about money. They don't have allowances yet and my husband has wanted them to just get to be kids and not focus on what they can buy with their money. I just ordered a book for 5-8 year olds by Crown Financial and I'm looking forward to seeing what they see as the appropriate ages to teach about money management, banking, saving, credit cards, and budgeting. There is a second book for older kids that I wanted to wait to order if I like the first one :)

    I do remember you saying that about the Humane society--and honestly it has more to do with just feeling like I have my hands full now. I did notice that Luna's House is opening a facility on Rte 40 near where we live and when it opens there may be opportunities to volunteer there which would be much closer than the humane society for us. I think I will have to wait until all 3 of them are old enough to volunteer, which will put Autumn in middle school by that time.