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Teaching Kids Life Skills

8 Aug

So, I’m crafting a “Life Skills” curriculum for my kids which would include the basics in cooking/baking/kitchen skills, laundry care, car care, household handyman tasks, and personal finances. I may throw in some basic first aid, gardening, and household organizing for good measure. These are the skills I have thought of so far:

KITCHEN:

  • meal planning
  • grocery shopping (including selecting fruits, vegetables, meat)
  • reading a recipe
  • timing the different components of a meal
  • boiling water (very basic, I know, but definitely a needed skill)
  • cooking pasta
  • steaming vegetables
  • cooking eggs (boil, fry, scramble)
  • chopping vegetables
  • making a salad
  • making a vinaigrette
  • boiling chicken
  • roasting meat & vegetables
  • using a crockpot
  • sauteing vegetables
  • baking: cake, cookies, biscuits, pie

LAUNDRY

  • reading labels
  • sorting
  • treating stains
  • folding
  • ironing
  • sewing on a button
  • hemming

CAR CARE

  • checking & adding fluids
  • changing the oil
  • changing a tire
  • washing exterior & cleaning interior

HOUSEHOLD

  • drive a nail
  • hang a picture
  • use a drill
  • paint a room
  • clear a drain
  • fix a squeaky hinge

PERSONAL FINANCES

  • creating a budget
  • living by that budget
  • managing bank accounts (checking & saving)
  • paying bills (paper & ebills)
  • giving
  • saving
  • using a credit card wisely

Some of my kids already have a handle on some of these skills, but none of them have them all.  I know there are other life skills that they will need to know like how to shop for insurance, how to buy a used car, how to shop for an apartment/house, etc., but the ones above I can teach even to my 10 year old.  I figure if my kids leave our house knowing these fundamentals, they’ll be able to navigate many of the basic challenges of living on their own.  (Plus, I’ll be brushing up on my own skills in the process!)

If you were compiling a list like this, what would you include?

Chasing Skirt Steaks

26 Oct

OK.  So the first recipe in Alton Brown’s book calls for skirt steak.  I have spent the past week and a half checking practically every grocery store and butcher in this city only to get the same response, “Yeah, that’s a hard cut to find.  You should check at [insert name of some other store on the other side of town].”  Aargh.  Not only could I not find skirt steak, but I came up empty on the acceptable substitute of flank steak.  Needless to say, I gave up on skirt steak and the dream of following Alton’s recipes to a T.

So, in my fridge sits a nice thin sirloin tip steak.  Not quite what the recipe calls for, but we’re flexible here, right?  This afternoon (finally) we will tackle the first skill: searing.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Annual Planning Session

20 Aug

So yesterday I was working on putting together my Master Planner and the kids’ Student Planners.  I loaded up my backpack, grabbed my Mac and headed to the Teachers’ Lounge (aka Starbucks).  There I  met with disappointment: my all-time favorite drink, the Dark Cherry Mocha, was no longer available.   So I had to substitute it with the Raspberry Mocha, which I discovered I like alot, but not quite as much as the cherry-cordial-in-a-cup that had been my go-to drink for the past six months.

Anyway, I found a table (near an outlet—essential for long planning sessions!) and started working on my planner for the year.  While looking for downloadable forms, I came across the http://www.DonnaYoung.org website…how can I be a veteran homeschooler and never have visited, let alone taken advantage of this treasure trove of sites?  Am I the only clueless one out there?  If you haven’t visited her site before, run, don’t walk, there now!  She makes available so many different forms, checklists, ideas, pieces of advice…all for free!  Needless to say, I had a good day at Starbucks and DonnaYoung.org, even without my beloved Dark Cherry Mocha!