As home educators, we have the flexibility to craft learning experiences for our kids that don't have to follow the traditional school path to a tee. We can teach using games, go on lots of field trips, speed up or slow down the learning depending on our child, and more.
But, what about other skills and topics beyond math, language arts, and science? I remember taking Home Economics in school (back in the 1980s), shop class, study habit classes, health classes, etc. When we choose to homeschool our kids, we need to cover these topics as well.
I've put together a list below of classes and subjects to consider, especially with your teens. There are so many ways to bring these subjects into your homeschool. I hope you'll be inspired to consider them.
In all of my years of schooling, I never had the opportunity to take personal finance, and it wasn't something that was presented at home, beyond learning to do some basic personal banking. My younger son has done an online personal finance course and learned so much (and plans to repeat the course again).
My oldest teen is taking a high school level course that is hands-on and project-based. Be sure to add a personal finance course to your homeschooler's schedule before they graduate.
Some people are naturally organized and some (raising my hand) are not. Introducing organizational skills is something that can be built upon over the years.
If you have a child who struggles with staying organized, work with your child, not against them. There are plenty of books, videos, and even online classes that can help kids learn to be better organized. Some kids prefer to write all their ideas and chores and schedules on a whiteboard, while others might prefer a planner or an app.
Get creative and don't get discouraged if one method isn't working. You can even make organizing fun by assigning small projects to your child and have them research ways to best tackle the issue.
Even though I enjoy cooking (and love eating), I need a break sometimes, which is why I have had my kids in the kitchen with me since they were quite little. Learning basic cooking skills is, in my opinion, one of the most important skills a person can have. You have to eat every day! Eating out is expensive and not always healthy.
Between cooking classes (in-person and online), meal subscription delivery, meal plan services, cooking shows, cookbooks, and plain old trial and error, don't forget to teach your kids to cook for themselves and for the family. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Note-taking and study habits
I loved to study when I was in school. Taking notes, making flashcards, researching, and crafting outlines were my jam. That said, I wasn't great about introducing these skills to my own kids in our homeschool.
It wasn't until my oldest started high school and I could see he was struggling, that I found some online resources for him, gave him some ideas, and also had to let him figure things out for himself (he learns very differently from me). My younger son took a note-taking class on Outschool.com and has also enjoyed Crash Course's Study Skills videos.
Don't just assume your kid will know how to take notes or how to study. Also, don't assume what worked for you will work for your kids. People learn and process information in different ways.
Talk to your kid about why these are important skills and how they can use them in their daily life and how it will potentially make learning easier.
Health and wellness
This is a broad category that can cover topics such as hygiene (yes, kid, you need to bathe), nutrition, reproductive health, sleep, physical education, etc. Because our kids are home with us, we can handles these topics in ways that bit our family culture.
Since our family had food allergies and other issues health issues early on, nutrition became a large part of our daily routine. Figuring out which foods we could and couldn't eat, visiting various practitioners, researching, and learning how to keep our bodies healthy was a huge learning experience.
Two other areas to consider are mental health and internet/social media use and safety. Both go hand-in-hand and must be addressed in the 21st century. Check out TheHomeSchoolMom's helpful internet safety resources.
Volunteering and community service
Adding community service to your homeschool days is something every family can do. There's a variety of ways you can help local, national, or international organizations, both in-person and online. My oldest son has volunteered at our local library and currently volunteers his time working at a local camp.
We've collected food for local food pantries, raised money online for other charities, the possibilities are endless. Volunteering also gives your kids the chance to meet other people, develop leadership skills, and make a difference in someone's life.
These are just a handful of topics to include over the course of your homeschooling journey. Having a wide variety of skills is important as kids head into adulthood. Who knows? Perhaps your child will find a passion too (and make you some meals in the meantime). Do you include any of these subjects in your homeschool? Let us know!