Lessons for Life - Part 1
Before we launch into our topic for the May high school newsletter, we want to extend our warmest wishes for a Happy Mother's Day to the moms in our email audience. All of you ladies have our deepest respect and
appreciation for the vital roles you play in your families. You are doing much more than just teaching your children academics--as one needlework quotation says, you are "tending souls and building minds." Be encouraged this month and rest in grace as you continue to serve
your families for the glory of the Lord.
As you think over the goals you have for your high-schoolers and the values you want to impart during these high school years, take time out from the math, science, English, history, and foreign language lessons to spend a little time thinking about and mapping out a plan to teach some valuable life skills to your teen. We've come up with eight different categories of "life lessons" for you to consider. Begin now to help him or her prepare for adulthood by including some of these skills into your school time. Long after their high school transcript and GPA have faded into memory, these skills will serve them well into the future.
A word of caution, though, as you read through these suggestions--don't try to teach or accomplish all of these skills in one year! Little by little, bit by bit, precept upon precept, introduce and teach various life skills as you are able and as time permits. Please don't be overwhelmed by all you read here. Perhaps just settle on a course of action that will include two or three of our suggestions, and purpose in your heart to at least get started--or to continue--thinking about these lessons for life. Since we have so much to share with you regarding lessons for life, this will be a two-part series. We'll share four categories this month, and then pick up with four more categories in the June newsletter.
As a general resource that highlights many of the categories below, you may want to check out "Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers" by Barbara Franks
HOME SWEET HOME--Managing the Home Front
Every day is home economics day when homeschooling! These skills are important for both guys and gals to learn. The first ones that come to mind are the traditional: cooking and sewing (moms, you can benefit from a night off in the kitchen!) However, include etiquette and hospitality in your training. The children can practice by entertaining friends for an evening incorporating what they have learned about being a host or hostess, applying conversation skills, serving refreshments, etc. Such a "project" will also teach time management which is important to keeping a household running smoothly.
Then there are those handyman needs which will make maintaining a home easier on the budget and provide abilities which may some day translate into a full-time job. Both boys and girls can benefit from learning some basics.
Another area is car maintenance! Learning to pump gas, change a tire and check the pressure, change the oil, wash and wax a car, not only teaches skills, but also makes the child aware of the necessity for safety and develops the desire to take care of the child's investment.
For resources see:
LOCAL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION Courses
Local county governments sometimes team up with universities to offer practical courses to the community, which your student may be interested in taking as electives. Examples of cooperative extension classes include finances, savvy consumer techniques, home economics, Master Gardener certification, and nutrition. It may even be possible for you and your student to take a course together. To find out if such classes are offered in your area, try an Internet search using your county's name along with "cooperative extension."
"The Hidden Art of Homemaking" by Edith Schaeffer
NUTRITION AND HEALTH--Keeping Fit and Eating Well
Eat your vegetables! Does that sound familiar? Nutritious eating habits begin early in the home. Providing a variety of cuisine will help your children sample all kinds of foods so when they are away from home, they will enjoy a healthy diet.
Eating is only part of the equation. Help your children develop and execute an exercise program that will be easy for them to continue while in college and beyond. This will aid them in not succumbing to the Freshman 15 (gaining 15 pounds their freshman year)!
High school is a good time to learn some skills which can save a life such as CPR, EMT, lifesaving, and babysitting courses to name a few. Along with this training, your child will also learn first aid techniques. Some summer jobs require these skills so they may make your child more marketable.
"Hearth & Home: Recipes for Life" by Karey Swan
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT--Tracking the Dollars
Handling money wisely is a big part of everyone's life. Teach your child to set up his own budget and keep track of both income (from part time jobs, gifts, allowances, etc.) and also expenses (recreation, clothing, etc.). Balancing a checking account, learning about the wise and foolish use of credit, being knowledgeable about the costs of car and life insurance, and even being able to complete an annual income tax form are valuable skills.
"Money Matters for Teens" by Larry Burkett is a resource you could use as an outline to flesh out some lessons.
JOB PREPARATION--Learning to Earn a Living
Working at a part-time job or setting up an entrepreneurial business are great ways for teens to develop responsibility and increase their marketable skills. Take time to teach your teen good interview techniques. Have your child think up possible interview questions and then organize his thoughts and develop answers for each question. He can also create a resume, and then as a culminating project have someone video him as you interview him for a job. You'll find resume and interview resources on our website to help you get started.
The College Board website has great tips for writing resumes in its free resource called Resume Writing 101.
Taking time to investigate possible career choices is also a good use of your teen's time. Many helpful career resources can be used to motivate or peak your teen's interest regarding a vocational career path.
Whew...so much to teach, so little time! Once again, let us remind you not to be overwhelmed or feel in the least bit condemned regarding your ability to instruct your child in all of the areas listed above. Take it slowly. Remember that "only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday." (Unknown) (But we think it sure sounds like a homeschool mom!)
Develop a plan, and then in a deliberate manner begin a course of action to help you accomplish whatever your time and resources allow. You are teaching very precious souls--and the Lord will give you the strength, ability, and grace you need to carry out His plans for your children. Let Proverbs 19:21 encourage you: "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purposes that prevail."
Next month, we'll look at four more areas of life training during the high school years: Technically Speaking--Learning the Basics, The Cultural Arts--Participating in and Appreciating the Fine Arts, A Lifetime of Giving--Volunteering and Serving Others, and Spiritual Training--Building a Firm Foundation.
With joy to each and every one,
Becky and Diane
This resource is an article from the Homeschooling Thru Highschool newsletter (5/5/2006), and is provided by the Home School Legal Defense Association as a service to the homeschooling community.