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Did you ever have something (a class, a book, a product) that you came across over and over again and kept putting off for one reason or another?
- I’ll read that on vacation when I have more time…
- I’ll wait to buy that ‘till I win the lottery (which, of course, you may not even buy tickets to) …
- Maybe next year I'll teach (or take) that class, when (insert your pre-requisite here)…
- My child is college-bound - he'll develop life skills on his own...
Well, that’s how I was - until now ☺!
Over our years of home education, I often looked at the area of life skills as kind of extra-curricular. My approach to our learning was always "college-bound" - as if that was some sort of academic holy grail. As I gained more experience (in life and parenting), I realize that our children's futures were tied up in the seeds, in the forms of gifts, talents, and interests, that God had already placed in them. Sure, college attendance may be involved, but that doesn't mean that ALL our studies need to involve college-prep courses. At the same time, I realized that "life skills" are only fluff until we're hungry...or our clothes need repair...or we'd like to decorate our homes or give gifts on a limited budget.
Can I get an "amen"?!
If you've felt the same, you may be interested in how I've come full circle and learn...
Why I incorporated life skills into our homeschool
With five kids to raise, there were always plenty of household chores that needed to get done on a daily basis. In addition, when our kids were younger, my husband was often super-busy working at and building up his construction business.
That frequently left me having to be creative to get things like house, yard, and car maintenance accomplished. On a single income, you know it's just not practical to think that ANYone could pay tradesmen or contractors all the time for every little thing. So, obviously learning life skills gradually became a crucial part of our homeschooling curriculum.
And I am pleased to say that, with four of our kiddos now grown-and-flown, that was a good call on our part!
So what IS SkillTrek?
Skill Trek is a flexible, customizable, and family-centered life skills curriculum that presents activities and topics at age-appropriate levels using a multi-media format. They begin in pre-school, move on to elementary school, junior high, and finally, "graduate" to high-school age-appropriate activities.
But they also have themed collections, such as Homemaking skills and (at the risk of sounding gender-centric), Boys' favorites, and Girls' favorites.
Here are some more of my observations of their program:
Skill Trek courses are high-quality life skills classes
Ya' know, sometimes you don't even know what you don't know... So of course, you can't be expected to teach it. For example, in the Boy's favorites collection, two of the skills they present are socket wrenches and starting a fire in the wilderness. The former skill I have no earthly clue about - but I do know my husband makes good use of his wrench set. And the latter I have so appreciated my boys handling whenever we've been able to get away on a camping trip together...
They pave the way for a lifetime of success
An additional perk, speaking as a parent, is that the progressive nature of the activities help to develop your child and teen's self-confidence and ability to, well, DO stuff! Say good-bye to them needing you to hold their hand through learning a skill. Of course, while some skills do require parental oversight when they're first presented, your children gradually discover that they are indeed capable. They then "own" that self-assurance and are able to draw on that in other areas of their life.
Neat how that works, huh?
So how does Skill Trek "deliver" on teaching life skills?
Skill Trek was created by parents who understand the unique challenges we're facing in our modern culture in which basic life skills simply aren't being taught. Not only did we want to create a program that would benefit our own kids but we want it to benefit other kids, teens, and yes, we even have some adults following the curriculum.
Plus, they add a touch of fun to the whole process...which ya' really can't complain about, am-I-right?
The bottom line about life skills
Life skills - much like leadership skills or developing a sense of discernment - are NOT electives...unless eating, taking care of your home, and maintaining your belongings are optional. (And I don't know about YOU, but that's not the case in our family!) They are all crucial abilities for a well-adjusted adult to possess and use on a day-to-day basis.
Skill Trek can certainly help a busy homeschool momma get started on effectively teaching life skills!
In a recent episode of the You Can Homeschool podcast, Tracey and I talked about the "why" and "how" about teaching life skills In your homeschool... For some more ideas and thoughts, listen to it here:
Sooo...will "life skills" have a place in your homeschool this year? What are your thoughts about (or experience with) Skill Trek?
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