I wanted to kick off this series with life skills on the go because this is a subject that doesn’t seem to be as popular as most. This is the first post in a 10-day series of Homeschooling the Subjects While Traveling and I’m super excited to share a variety of ways we homeschool all of the subjects “on the go.”
And don’t worry if you’re not a traveling family like ours. The tips shared throughout this series can be used for vacations, short day trips, and especially at home!
Psst… there’s a giveaway at the end of this post!
What are life skills?
In short, life skills are the skills needed to effectively deal with situations and circumstances that come with life in general. From a professional perspective, life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior, also known as psychosocial competency.
If you’re like me, you may not remember very many classes in the life skills department. Instead, emphasis was always placed on the “popular subjects” and life skills was left to be learned by life itself.
As homeschooling families, we have the opportunity to intentionally teach important life skills that will stick with our children well into adulthood. Some of the most important life skills from a psychosocial perspective are:
- problem solving
- critical thinking
- effective communication
- creative thinking
- coping with stress and emotions
When it comes to the perspective of being prepared to live everyday life from a physical perspective, life skills can look like:
- home repairs
- time management
- understanding technology
- money management
We could go on and on with these lists; however, something important to note is how they intertwine together. Keep reading for ways we teach these life skills on the go.
5 Ways to Teach Life Skills on the Go
1. Assign daily chores.
We are a big chore family. And although we are staying in different Airbnbs, each of our children has an assigned part of the home they need to have cleaned by the end of the day. Depending on the chore, sometimes it it has to be completed several times throughout the day.
Learning how to keep a home nice and tidy helps them respect and appreciate having a place to stay all while teaching responsibility and taking care of things. You can find many chore lists according to age but the most common chores that children of just about any age can do is:
- make their bed
- sweep (and mop if necessary)
- wipe tables and chairs
- clean windows
- help with meal prep (or even cook)
Our kiddos also get lots of life skills practice when it’s time for us to pack up and go to our next location. Each child has been taught how to roll their clothes and how to help pack them in their designated totes. We have a pre-pack plan that includes tasks for each child and when done correctly, everything is packed and ready to go!
2. Provide opportunities to foster a specific skill.
As a busy mom of 6, I had to break the habit of doing everything for my children, especially the younger ones, because it seemed easier. If my toddler was struggling to put on his shirt, I’d just do it for him. If my daughter was cooking something and it seems to get a little crazy, I’d just take over.
My husband kindly brough to my attention that our children will be hindered if I don’t let them try things and then ask for help if needed. And he was right! Our children are smarter than we give them credit for at times and it’s important to give them the chance to prove it to themselves.
Here are a few examples from our life where we give our children opportunities to work on specific skills:
- As a collective group they have to come up with a meal plan for the week. The older ones also create the grocery list for what’s needed to make the plan happen.
- Our oldest two get to babysit the younger ones on occasion.
- My daughter loves to “teach” the younger ones and even comes up with her own lesson plans.
- The littler ones are given tasks with multiple steps (helps with processing).
3. Include children in everyday tasks.
Revisiting the thought of doing things for kids versus letting them try is this idea of including children in everyday tasks. Since being on the road, we like to visit lots of parks and take advantage of each place we visit. To prepare for a day out, I let the kids be responsible for packing an “out-and-about” bag. This means making sure everyone has water, snacks, wipes, hand sanitizer, and so on.
Other everyday tasks our kids help with are cooking, plating the food, passing it out, grocery shopping and putting them away once we’re home, and running errands (my daughter loves going into the post office with me and using the debit card, lol).
4. Encourage siblings to work together.
We have 6 children which can make for some pretty exciting (and trying) times. They don’t always want to work together and can ultimately treat each other poorly. To help foster those psychosocial skills, sometimes they are paired together to work on something. Other times they’ll have to work alone (because they need that too).
Overall, having them work together on a task helps them communicate with one another and work through any emotional/behavioral hiccups.
5. Make it an intentional subject in your lesson plans.
Life skills is a non-negotiable “subject” in our homeschool. Although I may not write it down to a T, we have made it part of our lifestyle to naturally intertwine this subject into our everyday life. Something else that we intentionally do is have our oldest (soon to be 16 year old) read what would be considered “adult” literature such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad, As a Man Thinketh, and other books that will enhance his personal and professional development.
There are also books like this for younger children, such as:
A FREE Resource to Help Teach Procedure Task Writing
These procedure writing task prompts will help your homeschoolers not only learn how to do a variety of procedures but also learn how to write out the steps. These can be used for all ages and grades. For younger children, they can dictate aloud and you can write it for them.
Use these prompts to teach valuable life skills. “How to make” prompts included are:
- paper plane
- PB & J
- sand castle
- flowers grow
- scrambled eggs
- chocolate milk
- play dough
There’s also a blank page for you to fill in activities of your choice.
What life skills do you teach?
Hopefully you’ve gained some valuable tips on how easy it is to teach life skills in your homeschool… whether you’re on the go or stationed in one place. What are some life skills you intentionally teach in your homeschool? Let me know in the comments below!