A mini whirl wind these last days has been fun, invigorating and down right tiring. But thats the good part of summer, we can spend the next little bit recuperating and then keep on going. We finished our Egypt week and then did a few smaller nondescript things on our summer fun list...and spent a great deal of time outside, with visits to the park, a long hike along the creek, and lots of slip and slide time. Sometimes its great to break away from so much structure and just enjoy being together. Along those lines I just found out this am that our plans have to change for next week so I am revamping another week of our summer to accomodate. Not a big deal, just a shift from planned to unplanned - good things can always happen when you least expect it right.
On to this week, most of my kids are enjoying VBS, so this is some valuable down time, but I have have a houseful to entertain and its raining and grey. So this week, we are going to be working on a new list of sorts, one that I have been giving a great deal of thought to lately.
10 things all kids should learn before they become a TEENAGER...
Granted I am a few years from this, I firmly believe that if we approach these things now, they will be more like second nature and habit by the time my kids are basking in the glory of the strong willed independent raging in hormones cycle that awaits us in a few years. So what are these things:
1. All kids should be able to cook a meal... and shop for that meal, plan the meal -there really is a lot that a kid can and should learn about this whole process, plus everyone should be able to bake bread and make a mean pie crust (to name a few)....
2. They should be able to make their beds. (this one silly enough has been hard for me because I always had the preminition that I would be that pollyanna mom who drops her kids off at school and comes home to make beds (and leave mints on their pillows, lol) and basically walk around in my aapron all day tending to our beautiful home.. dont laugh I really thought that is who I would be.... fast forward 13 years + 4 kids, (plus several that arent mine) and the laundry piles up daily, its usually lunch time before I get the dishes unloaded, and I dont make the kids beds, shoot my husband makes ours... but I know how to make a mean hotel fold, and my kids will learn it too. I will never forget being in high school and having a friend come over I was told I couldnt leave until my room was picked up and my bed was made (I thought it was utterly ridiculous, but that was before I was a mom)well, my friend hopped into my bed pulled the covers around her neck and slipped out the side, PRESTO she proclaimed, it took 15 seconds and I learned right there that my NOT making my bed had little to do with TIME...
3. They should be able to sew, whether its a button or a hem, boy or girl, you gotta be able to mend your own issues, right!
4. They should be able to manage their money. We are talking allowance which is another hot topic around here, we finally settled on the kids age for allowance given at the end of the month IF their chores around the house are completed without ATTITUDE!!! Now, around here there are chores that are done because our kids are part of a family unit and this unit must work together to be successful, then there are chores that arefor the sole purpose of their allowance, WHY one main reason we do want to teach them to be responsible with what they are given monetarily. Ii am working on the 'envelope' system with the little ones and actually have set up accounts for the older ones so we can begin the process of balancing a bank account and reconciling at the end of the month, etc. There is a chance to earn more (of course my kids prefer the tooth fairy method, but they are runnig out of that option soon)... So with earning, they have to learn giving and saving...
5. Wash clothes, because despite popular theory in our house, the do not wash themselves and magically reappear on hangers while away at school or camp or dreaming...
6. Basic housekeeping... this is all inclusive but aside from chores, why would a child want to know this, well they may not, but they still need to know how to maintain a clean environment.
7. Basic home repair, I think this is something we miss a lot these days with technology being the only thing that has needed repairing in our house lately. I remember swinging an ax and hammer at a very young age, yet I am not sure any of my kids could do the same... I think this summer is a perfect chance for some getting dirty and some hands on learning of how things work.
8. Manners Matter... plain and simple can they answer the phone politely, can they be helpful with a kind response, should the boys open the girls car door, will they know a proper place setting and how to cut their food gracefully...There is a lot that they can learn and a lot of this happens naturally, but in todays day and age, my kids have probably never answered a telephone and only on a rare occassion do I ever place a full place setting at the table, the car doors are automatic, get the point.. so many basic teaching opportunities are missing in this day and they are still valuable skills that each kid should know.
9. Now not so much along the common sense 'practical' approach, but definately a life skill children need to learn is COMPASSION, I dont think its inate in us as beings, I think it is modeled for us as our own needs are met as infants and toddlers, and I think its something that by the time middle school is reached is soon forgotten.
10. Time Management.. this is important because its something I need to work on myself. Distractions come at us all the time, we are focused on a project (me at my computer) the kids engrossed in a show, things that keep us from living each moment fully. I hope to help my kids learn this summer than planning and organizing their time will get the most out of their lives.. (dont worry I am all for spontaneous things) but I also know that time management will help them in so many areas of their life as they move forward into college, work and marriage.. its important now to show by example and to help with teaching them how important time is.. I really liked this little internet read on Time Management for Kids
I think everyone can make this list for their own kids and all our lists would be different..Here are some great reads if this is something you want to give more thought ....
Other things on our list to share this summer:
Growing a garden
Canning our food
Writing / Memory keeping (this is big around here, I am an avid scrapbooker, and my kids are keeping scrapbooks in their own words with their own pictures and I know it will be treasured by their children and grandchildren, the way I would cherish something like that had my own granny been able to share that before she left us.)
Serving the greater good (community service is not something you are sentenced with when you break the law)
Random Acts of Kindess -should be a way of life not an ACT of occasion...
Water safety (as a part of taking swimming lessons its important that the kids know how to be safe around water)
Fire Safety (I think we will visit our local firehouse for a tour and a talk with the firemen this summer)
More simple summer ideas can be found here: