Getting Straight A´s does not guarantee your child success, happiness, or to live to their potential. Well, I guess that depends on your definition of success. Yes, the task of getting good grades helps to establish good work ethics, good habits, and positive self-efficacy. For many of us, however, we want our children to live well-rounded, healthy lives financially, emotionally, socially, and/or spiritually because life is not one-dimensional. We need to know important life skills. And traditional schooling does not teach these subjects.
So how do we know our children are getting ALL the education they need? This is not an easy question to answer. But what we do know, as AMAZING as our teachers are, is that they can not possibly get everything they need from traditional schooling. So why do we allow their structured learning experience to end when the school day does? If we care as much about our children´s financial and emotional success, for example, as we do their career, then it is only fair to give those areas of their education an appropriate amount of attention.
Forgive me if I have led you to believe that we are going to tell you what is missing from your child´s education or that we are qualified to do so. Only you can do that and only you know how to teach those subjects best. Here are just a few important life skills to give some thought to and ideas on how to get started.
Finance – Budgeting, Investing, Retirement, Insurance, Home & Car Maintenance
Have conversations about how to save money, ways to invest, and how to watch for trends in the economy. HW: Budgeting with your kids. Teach them what you are doing. Give them a calculator to double check your math. Visit the elderly. Retirement is something difficult to imagine because it seems so far away. But planting an early seed in the mind will surely have a positive impact on their preparation down the road.
Have conversations about how to shop for the best value. Explain why you shop where you shop. HW: Give them part of the grocery list. Give them a task that involves reading ingredients, comparing prices, or researching before buying.
Democracy – Taxes, Politics
Not everyone is taught or understands why we pay taxes. I once knew a family that developed a disbelief in paying taxes and is now struggling to support their elderly. Regardless of your beliefs, political and social stances, it is important to understand how the society in which you live works. HW: Actively point out things in our society that are paid for by taxes and things that are not to get them thinking about how our society works as a whole. Then quiz them.
[Not necessarily an absolute key to an overall healthy life. There are many different ways to live very successful and happy lives.] Cooking is one of many important life skills to consider because it can provide benefits for both health and financial reasons. HW: Cook as a family. Learn and teach how nutrients are lost/preserved through different methods of cooking.
Start a discussion about goals and habits. Make your children aware of their habits and aware that they have the power to change their habits. HW: Choose a habit (good or bad) together and make changes to your environment to either starve the bad habit or support the good habit they want to develop.
This begins at a young age of course, but communication expectations change as we get older. Teach your children how to be good hosts, be good guests, how to treat people which you are assisting, and those which you are getting assistance from. HW: Lead by example!
More Beneficial Topics
Home and Car Maintenance, Gardening, Homeopathic Medicine, Job Interviewing…
All of the important life skills mentioned will allow our children to take more active roles in living the life that makes them happy. They will also make for better partners in all types of relationships and better-contributing members of society. And I am not sure what is more accurate of our desires as parents.