Teaching the top Life Skills to your kids
Handicraft, Charlotte Mason-style, involves teaching life skills to kids. But what skills should you teach? We’ll be looking at these in more detail in the future months, but for now, here are some practical ways to incorporate teaching life skills into your kids’ learning.
Charlotte Mason handicraft is typically done in the afternoons during “structured free time” and usually builds skills slowly over time.
Some of the basics, like needlework, gardening, housework, and model-making were revisited over several years. Others, like sloyd, paper modeling, or leather work progressed through a series of models until the child possessed a certain mastery.
In today’s modern Charlotte Mason homeschools, individual topics, like quilling or chair caning, are covered over a semester or year and then revisited if the child forms a relationship with the craft.
All are designed to enhance the habit of careful execution, to build confidence in the learner, and to help the learner develop good character.
Often, during the systematic development of learning the craft, the child would be capable of sharing their skills or gifts with others in a sort of “end of semester” final project. For instance, a sewing final project might be to “Make a garment for the ‘Save the Children Fund'”, according to the PNEU Programmes.
Teaching Life skills
Generic Top Skills
- tool repair & maintenance
- home repair & maintenance
- vehicle repair & maintenance
Now these are all SUPER generic! You could spend a lifetime learning new things in any one of these areas. So I’d rather get very specific with 3 basic things to learn in each of these areas. Except for Finance – truly an essential life skill, but I think you should cover it in math and in everyday life – for example, in my shopping cart inflation mini-lesson.
Here, I’ve gathered 3 very specific skills/tasks to learn in each category of popular hands-on skills listed above which you can teach your children. Each lists a favorite source.
These skills build on each other too, in general. The older the child or the more familiar with the topic, the easier each skill is to master.
For an overview of a semester in which you teach 6 skills to make “from scratch” cooking easier, check out my post on Teaching Cooking Skills to my Kids. Otherwise, here are some other fun ideas to get you going.
- Fry an egg in a cast iron pan. | Permies.com forum. They have a challenge where you can earn badge “bits” and frying an egg in cast iron is part of the “Food Prep & Preservation” Badge. Fantastic breakdown of what you need to do with tiny video tidbits demonstrating each part. Note: If you are unfamiliar with forums, don’t go down a rabbit hole. All you need is Step 1 & Step 2 video. If you want to earn badges, you have to get a free account so you can post your results.
- Roast a chicken | Downshiftology shows the way I learned it. Simplest ever method. This site has a video also.
- ADVANCED: Spatchcock Roast the Chicken | AlphaMom from her series of recipes “Every Mom should teach her kids”. Spatchcock removes the backbone and butterflies the bird. Not hard, but involves kitchen shears, so I call it advanced. She’s right though – the bird is more evenly cooked every time! No more undercooked legs with dry, overcooked white meat.
- Bake a loaf of bread from scratch | Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Sew a button back on (includes threading a needle) | Real Men Style Youtube
- Mend a small hole | Bob Vila
- Hem pants or skirt | Sew Can She
Tool repair & maintenance
- Remove rust, clean & oil a hand tool | Garden Betty This is also a BB on Permies.com
- Sharpen a knife | Also a Permies.com BB. They have a video and recommend watching a few if you’ve never
- Montana Knife Company: Step-by-Step instructions includes video
- Outdoor Life: Several methods examined, focusing on outdoor knives
- Master Knife Sharpener shows Epicurious how to sharpen a knife YouTube
- Clean the inside of a dishwasher | Clean Mama
Home repair & maintenance
- Hang a picture | Easy DIY Hacks for Beginners YouTube
- Unclog a drain or toilet
- Paint a room properly
Vehicle repair & maintenance
- Inflate tires to the right pressure.
- Refill car fluids | Maui Oil
- You may need to google your make of car or the specific fluid.
- Oiling your bike chain | REI
- Grow something you eat
- Start some plants from seed
- Build or bury a compost heap
For More Study
Skills to Teach Kids
- What DIY Teaches Kids | the School Run
- Skills to learn at home | Restless
- 7 tech Skills for kids | Make Use Of
- Learn DIY Skills | Popular Mechanics
- 10 Skills that are Worth the Effort to Learn | Apartment Therapy
- 10 essential DIY skills that are easy | Life Hacker