Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Homeschooling - Top Ten Things You Might Not Remember, But Shouldn't Forget, To Teach Your Children

As homeschoolers we like to march to our own drummers, as we impart knowledge to our children in often unconventional ways (below is C's "back to school" picture from last year).

After all, we're not just doing school at home, we're homeschooling.

With that said though, let's not go overboard, and to mix cliche-ish metaphors - throw the baby out with the bath water.  Not everything taught in schools is useless, and sometimes even the things that can seem tedious, or silly, are useful, later in life, as our children start to merge, and blend back into mainstream society.

After 15 years (or is it 16?  I've lost count) of homeschooling, here's my top 10 list of the little things you might not think, but really should remember, to teach your children, while they're young.


1. How to cut with scissors.  Those preschool cutting sheets can seem like totally tedious time wasters at first glance, but you don't want to look back, and wish you'd spent more time on them, while watching a 15 year old struggle to cut out a simple a shape.

2. How to tie their shoes.  As homeschoolers, our children are with us so much of the time.  It can be easy to forget to teach them to function independently.  Velcro shoe fasteners, and days spent barefoot running around the house and yard can make this an easy skill to forget to teach.

3. Your address and phone number.  Again, because we are usually with our children, we don't always think to teach them how to find their way home, if we happened to be separated.  You don't want to find yourself jotting down your phone number for your teen headed out to a movie with friends.

4. How to write the date.  Children in school write the date across the tops of their papers every day, and get lots of practice at this skill.  You might want to take a few minutes with your children to teach them the different ways to write the date, too.

5. Which side of notebook paper is the front - and what the margin lines are for.  While you're teaching your children to write the date across the top of the page, you might also want to teach them which side of a piece of notebook paper is the front (mine always start writing on the back, and half the time with the paper upside down), and the purpose of the margin lines.

6. How to sign their names. No matter what your feelings about the importance or non-importance of cursive writing, everyone still needs to know how to sign their name with ease.  It's not something children do in the normal course of a day, but teens and adults have to do it all the time  You might want to make time to practice with your children.

7. How to open a half-pint milk carton.  I'm sure children learn this on their own at school, but it's embarrassing for a teen to be at a table of their peers trying to master this skill for the first time.

8. How to cross the monkey bars.  Again, this is one of those things children teach each other on the playground.  But, at home, we don't tend to have a lot of recess interaction, and most of us don't have monkey bars in our backyards.  Consider slipping onto a school playground in the evenings for some practice.

9. How to sit cross-legged.  It's funny to think of practicing how to sit, but if you've never heard anyone say, "Everyone sit cross-legged on the floor, now." - would you know what to do?

10. How to stand in line.  Given enough time, most of us will encounter lines to stand in outside of the school experience.  It's not rocket science to figure out how a line works.  But, you might want to take some time to explain line etiquette to children while they are still young.  No pushing, cutting, or saving spots (sometimes), and keep it straight.  There's nothing funnier than watching the lumpy curvy, very independent kind of lines formed by a group of homeschool teens.   Actually, now that I think about it, I like those lines - maybe let the children be.  Who said every line has to be straight, anyway?

Did I miss anything important, besides the actual academics, that is?  Reading, writing and 'rithmetic are homeschool givens.  It's the strange little life skills that sneak up and surprise us.


Dawn said...

I had to teach which side of the paper to use. My son did it wrong for about a year. LOL!
Blessings, Dawn

MaryAnne said...

I think you've got it about covered! My kids don't know how to open those milk cartons, because they have always brought lunch from home.

Phyllis said...

This is a perfect list. I had to laugh over the fact that I also discovered that I had been remiss in teaching these things.

Camie said...

Funny, I don't remember learning how to tie my shoes in school and I guess I've just naturally taught my kids these things without thinking about it, except maybe the monkey bars which have been in some of the park playgrounds we've visited. You're right, though, it's good to think about the little things everyone should learn at some point. I think writing out a check, how to use a debit card, and shopping online responsibly are good skills for teens to know, also. Great post!

Lucinda said...

Wonderful! Reminds me, I really must teach my 11 year old to tie his shoelaces this year! :D

Ticia said...

It sounds about right. I always laughed at the assumption our kids won't learn how to stand in line, when they stand in line every week at the grocery store and so many other places.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Great list :) As a parent of a public school child, I can attest to the fact that they do learn all these things, plus raise their hands when they want to ask a question. My daughter now does it at home when she wants to interrupt me and my husband talking :)

claireshomeeducation said...

When I first started home schooling all those years ago, my best friend (a school teacher) said to me '...but how will they learn to stand in a line?' Gosh, that was the least of my worries! I have actually never intentionally taught my children any of the things you mention, but I'm fairly sure they can do them all....maybe I ought to ask them, just in case!

Phyllis said...

How are all of you? I miss you!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Phyllis - We're doing really well, but I am missing all my old blogger buddies. It seems like time is moving faster than I am, these days. I'll try to pop by your blog sooner rather than later to catch up!