Anyone Else Currently Homeschooling?

Alaskan

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I'm great with academics, but struggling with teaching the youngerone life skills.
Do you have tips or inspiration?
That is one thing that I did/do well at.

The kids when they were little did everything with me. So they cooked with me, and fixed fence with me, helped paint the barn, change the water filter, etc.

Tiny kids can hand you stuff, and mix or what have you.

By age 6 they would make homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs, mac and cheese.... the basics.

And by 6 they could forage mushrooms by themselves, and were assigned an animal and all involved chores.

My 13 year old made ribs this Saturday for me, and last week repaired the washing machine. For the washing machine I told him to look up you tube videos and handed him the part. He had to take off the back, top, and front (including the front loader door and gasket). At one point he came to me to ask for pointers, and then I asked the 15 year old to help him for 10 minutes or so, before youngest was able to go back to doing it on his own.

With the ribs this Saturday... they were perfect... but he didn't make any sides... I guess I have to work on that next, "a complete meal."

When you do a few projects together (cooking, or repair work, or foraging, whatever), at first you go over everything step by step. You explain EVERYTHING.

Like, for mushrooms, we need to use a book to figure out what we have. We have to make a spore print if we aren't sure. We have to find out any poisonous look-alikes. And go through all steps and all resources that you use, and how they can use them. And go over the "what we do if it all goes wrong".

I remember when kid#3 got his first knife, we went over and reviewed all safety stuff. And yep, he cut himself anyway. But, it was during office hours so it didn't cost much to take him in and get stitches.

I think it is so important to give your kids opportunities to fail, and to succeed. Figuring out how to deal with failure is a huge life skill, and helps to teach how to find a work around, how to think creatively, and how to see failure as an opportunity to try something different, not a reason to despair.
 

tortoise

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I did well with DS14's life skills. He can cook, bake, any household cleaning, laundry, weed, garden, muck, feed/water, etc. Willingness to do the job right is different from ability 😅😣

DS6 ... not so much. He is more mechanical/construction oriented and helps or watches DH with fixing and building. He also can't (won't) make a sandwich - but he can slice fresh bread 🤔. Can't/won't clean his room - he believes he can't and won't try. 🤦‍♀️ I think its a motivation problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it or how to prioritize.

At 6, DS14 could hang up clothes, fold small laundry, clean his room, waah dishes, cut veggies with a paring knife, etc.
 

Alaskan

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I did well with DS14's life skills. He can cook, bake, any household cleaning, laundry, weed, garden, muck, feed/water, etc. Willingness to do the job right is different from ability 😅😣

DS6 ... not so much. He is more mechanical/construction oriented and helps or watches DH with fixing and building. He also can't (won't) make a sandwich - but he can slice fresh bread 🤔. Can't/won't clean his room - he believes he can't and won't try. 🤦‍♀️ I think its a motivation problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it or how to prioritize.

At 6, DS14 could hang up clothes, fold small laundry, clean his room, waah dishes, cut veggies with a paring knife, etc.
With your younger one.... different brains work differently.

I had 2 where I had to brake up the job into tiny bits, or they truly couldn't do the job.

So "clean the room" wasn't manageable.

But make it into super tiny steps
1. Pick up all clean clothes and put them back into drawers
2. Pick up all dirty clothes and put in hamper
3. Pick up all toys and put away
4. Pick up all books and put away
5. Pick up all trash
6. Anything left on floor find a place for it
7. Sweep
8. Find me, let me see if you missed something

And in the above list. The first time do it with them and explain each step. So with picking up clothes, pick up an item and explain how you decide if it is clean or dirty. Discuss this with the kid. Then have kid pick up one item and quiz the kid. Ask what he is looking at to decide clean or dirty. Ask him what he does when it is clean. This step might need to be broken down too. Because you have to fold, which might be a 20 minute lesson right there...... and then socks go with socks, this spot is for shirts, etc.

So yes, 2 hours later you and kid will have finished a job that would have taken you 10 minutes by yourself.

Take a deep breath, remember how wonderful it is to learn patience. Remember this is how he learns. If it was really difficult for the kid, then repeat it all the next day. You might have to redo your list and brake it down into even smaller steps.

As part of the work together, teach him how to check off on a check list or use picture cards.

Depending on the kid, you can post a long list of all steps, put it in a page protector and put a dry erase markers next to it. Then the kid can check off each step.

When they couldn't read well (I had one slow reader) I used little cards, like index cards. Each index card had an icon (like clothes hamper, books, bed, etc). For the cards I had 2 pockets on the wall. One pocket for cards that needed to be done. The other pocket was for completed cards.

Always the final point to check off is your inspection.


You come in, you find one concrete thing to praise "I see you got all books to the bookcase. I am so happy to see they are picked up." then give him one to three (NEVER more than 3!!! They can't remember more than 3), things to do, so say " I would like you to straighten up the books and put them in neatly."

Amd yes, with some kids the final point was repeated 10 times! But.... it gets better. Always praise first, never criticize, just kindly amd calmly point out whatever still needs to be done.

One of these checklists is posted inside each room. So, one in bedroom, one in bathroom, one in kitchen. I never needed one for animals, but if you need one for that I would post it in the mudporch.

And there has to be a clear deadline.

So for example, all bedroom chores must be done before lunch... if that means you are helping him in the bedroom and no one gets to eat until 2.... well.... hopefully that is enough of a deterant that things work better the next day. But delaying lunch is not a punishment, simply a consequence. Stuff has to get done. We can't think in filth, we don't want to attract rodents... we have scheduled this to be done before lunch... we will figure out how to get it done.
 

NH Homesteader

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My oldest needs that too, I have to give her one or two things at a time or else the meltdowns/shutdowns ensue.
Also it’s only October and I’m already over half the curriculum I picked out. Revisiting some plans and ideas the next few weeks🤔
 

Alaskan

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My oldest needs that too, I have to give her one or two things at a time or else the meltdowns/shutdowns ensue.
Also it’s only October and I’m already over half the curriculum I picked out. Revisiting some plans and ideas the next few weeks🤔
Actually getting stuff done ahead of time?

I can only barely imagine!
 

tortoise

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DS6 spent 10 hours on my computer yesterday doing an online school component. :eek: At bedtime, he asked me oh-so-sweetly if he could "have tomorrow off." :love Yes, please, I need my computer to catch up on work. He has been playing with Legos today.
 

NH Homesteader

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Actually getting stuff done ahead of time?

I can only barely imagine!
No I just hate it and want to trash half of it and come up with other ideas 🤣 we are ahead in some areas though! I’m really picky…. I prefer to come up with my own curriculum, but that got a lot harder having 3 kids than it was with one!
 

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