Have you heard of the term “Unschooling”? Here’s what Pinterest says it is: Pinterest Marketing: “Unschooling,” a movement focused on self-directed learning, has taken off in certain parts of the US. That’s why some parents are swapping out things like shop class for more “life lessons” to create a more holistic learning experience.
If we are home for another several months of school this year, then unschooling it is! For the last decade, I have been educating children and their parents on the importance of social emotional learning as well as essential skills. It’s not enough for our kids to learn their ABCs and 123s. The research is extensive but in a nutshell, employers have reported college students applying for positions at their places companies as having high grade point averages and a major discrepancy in having other life skills under their belts. Creativity, time management, communication, leadership and problem-solving skills to name a few.
Let’s make it a priority to teach our children things such as how to cook, earn money, manage money, talk to someone they are upset with and more!
PS I was inspired to create an online class I will tell you about below because the parenting book I wrote, Sunny Side Upbringing, was released two weeks before everything went into shut down for the pandemic!
Here are a few steps to get you started:
#1 Family Values
What values are important to you to teach your children? Write down a list of 5-10.
#2 Teach Those Values
Now think about the daily activities they can learn these values. What daily activities are you doing for your children that they can learn to do for themselves? One of the values important to us is independence. We are teaching our children this by giving them age appropriate responsibilities on a daily basis. Our 11 and 8 year old have been picking out a dinner and dessert recipe once a week since March and cooking them! This is just one example on how we can use this time of staying home and staying safe to teach our children life skills!
#3 Discuss Those Values
Look at your list, what are the values that are harder to teach through activities and actions but need to be discussed in conversations? Depending on your child’s age, start finding books to read to, with or along side them that have examples of this value. Sign up for the Empowering Kids with Character newsletter and get a list of 101 Must Read Books for Families! You are sure to find books on this list to read and start some good discussions!
#4 Consider Mental Health
Please be sure to pay close attention to how the members of your family are doing mentally during these hard times in 2020. At this point in time, we have been allowed to open our little bubble up to a few more families to spend time with. The kids are able to have small playdates outside and everyone is SO MUCH HAPPIER having these social interactions. One of the best ways children learn to communicate, voice their opinion, apologize and more is through play. Because we are so limited on play right now (again, our community will be going virtual/remote learning in the fall) these skills are going to be harder to develop and practice. For this reason, I’m teaching Sunny Side Homeschool, online social skills and mental wellness lessons. Class is live or viewed as a replay, twice a week from September through December. Find out more about these interactive lessons here. Besides learning about positive character and social skills, what is it your child likes to do? Do they like to fish or sew or play a sport? Think outside of the box and figure out ways to incorporate the things they enjoy into their school days while remote learning. The kids and I love to bike and I am thinking of starting a bike club this fall with the goal to get neighborhood kids together for bike rides to get 100 miles in before winter! The kids will have more flexibility with remote learning so why not take advantage of that with some daytime extracurriculars?