Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Essential Life Skills: Home Care and Maintenance


chores for children and teens


You could neglect teaching your child basic home care and assume an attitude of “They can learn it when they need it.”

However, you would rob them of responsibility when they are young and burden them with extra learning when they are older.

Children need to have responsibilities in the form of helping around the house.  As they become older they need to become responsible for bigger jobs. This will form a habit that will follow them through their adult life.  They are then prepared to live on their own and not have the burden of learning home care as a young adult.

What should a young person be able to do as a young adult on their own?

Dust
Sweep/Vacuum/Mop
Clean a bathroom (all fixtures)
Clean a kitchen (including appliances)

Clean mirrors and windows
Make beds
Organize and de-clutter

Home care is easy to teach to children, especially when they are young and want to help you.  Encourage them to help alongside you.  As they get older let them do chores on their own.

Establishing a routine makes this easier and assures that care and maintenance is done regularly.

If your children are teenagers but have not had any homecare responsibilities, choose one or two chores to be their responsibility for a month at a time.  This will help them develop a routine as well as help them become proficient in that skill.  Rotate through all the chores until they are familiar with each one.

What about home maintenance?  Some maintenance is seasonal and some is ‘as needed’.

Seasonal Care/Maintenance:
Change air filters
Change batteries in smoke alarms
Clean fireplace
Clean fans and light fixtures
Clean cabinets
Clean inside of refrigerator
Clean gutters

As Needed Maintenance:
Change light bulbs
Replace toilet O-rings (my boys have had to do this several times)

There are probably things that I have not listed.  What would you add to the list?  

The point is, when a job needs to be done, get your (age appropriate) child to help.  Eventually, they will be able to do the job on their own and be much better prepared as an adult.

Being an adult can be scary enough without needing to learn many skills that should have been learned before leaving home.

Don’t handicap your child with ignorance.  If you haven’t started teaching them home care and maintenance, start today.

Trust me.  Do it.

Other posts in the Essential Life Skills series: 
Cooking 
Car Care
Money Management 
Clothing Care

Thursday, July 10, 2014

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Essential Life Skills: Car Care

teaching car care to your students

 
Many teenagers count down the days until they can drive.

Whether they drive the family car or their own car, they need to know how to maintain and care for the car.  

Car care and maintenance should, ideally, be part of your driver education program.  If it wasn’t, be sure to teach your child the essentials before they head out on their own.

Before a car can be driven, it must have three things:
    an inspection
    current tags
    insurance

Let your student go with you the next time you get the car inspected and get the tags renewed.

For required insurance, have the student use the internet or  call three different agencies and get quotes.  If your student is not required to pay their own insurance, that will be an eye opening experience.

A driver should also know basic car maintenance.

1.  Check fluids - oil, power steering, anit-freeze- and know what to do if the fluids are low.
    As a bonus, a student could be taught how to change the oil and filter in a vehicle.
    My husband taught all my children how to change the oil.

2.  Change a tire  
All drivers should not only know how to change a tire, but how to check the tire pressure and add air as needed. A tire changing lesson should include the student pulling out the car jack and actually taking the tire off and putting it back on.

3.  Jump start a battery
    This is easier if you carry jumper cables as part of an emergency kit in your car so that
    you (or your student) don’t have to find someone with jumper cables.
    Teach drivers where the cables go and how to use them.

4.  Pay attention to warning lights
    Drivers should be taught to notice the warning lights in the dashboard and know what
    to do if one comes on.  We recently realized our negligence of this skill when one son
    didn’t realize the car had overheated and he continued to his destination.  Yep, that
    ‘86 Toyota is gone.

One day your student may choose to pay someone to do many of these jobs, but until then, they need to know how to do them themselves.
There are many car repair jobs that students can learn to do by following a repair manual or looking up online how to do the job.  My oldest daughter does many of her own car repairs.

Car care and maintenance is best learned by doing.

Don’t neglect to teach your child these important life skills.

Trust me.  Do it.

Other posts in this series: Clothing Care, Money Management, Cooking

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Essential Life Skills: Clothing Care


teach your children to do their own laundry

Sometimes young people leave home without the necessary life skills either because it is easier for the parent to do it herself, or the parent really enjoys doing things for their child.

Neither of those reasons is a good excuse for sending a young adult into the world unprepared.

Clothing care is an easy life skill for you to teach and for your child to learn.  Three essential areas of this skill are:

LAUNDRY
Even young children can be taught to sort laundry by color or type.  When my oldest child was 2 years old she would help me sort the laundry.  Your children want to be with you; let them help you in your everyday tasks.

For the teenager who has no clue how to wash/dry their clothes, teach them to read clothing care labels.  Hopefully, most everything is machine washable, but if not, set aside the handwash only items.

Next, decide if they will sort their laundry.  Is there another way, you wonder?  Yes, my teenagers don’t sort their laundry.  I provide Shout Color Catchers(You can find Color Cathers with other laundry care items in the store) This works for most everything.  I do have to teach them not to over-stuff the washing machine!

Show your child how the washing machine and dryer work and then require them to wash/dry/fold/hang their own laundry.  Teach to any areas where they are deficient, such as stain removal and proper use of bleach.

MENDING
Children can (and should) learn to mend their clothes to prolong the life of the garment.
Teach them to:
    sew on a button
    repair a hem
    repair a seam
    patch a hole

IRONING
I know that ironing has almost become extinct.  I have even been known to throw a damp towel in the dryer with wrinkled clothes and run the dryer again to remove the wrinkles!

However, sometimes ironing must be done.  Teach your student to iron their wrinkled clothes.

My children do their own laundry starting at about age 12.

Once your teenager takes over their own laundry you will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner!

Trust me.  Do it.


Other posts in this series:  Money Management, Cooking

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Essential Life Skills: Money Management


money management

If not intentionally taught, money management is often ‘caught’.

Evaluate your own money management skills to determine if you want your children to emulate them.

The thing about managing money is you need to have some to be able to manage it.

 Determine how your child will get money.

Different families do this in different ways based on the age of the child and the family policy.

Some ideas include:

1.  An allowance- we never really gave much of an allowance.  To encourage diligence with chores we gave ‘mom money’ and ‘dad dollars’ that were redeemable for special time or small items.

2.  Payment for extra chores- we do this sometimes.  My daughter does get paid to mow the lawn since it is a big job.  This pays for summer camp, etc.

3.  Entrepreneur- my children have done a variety of things: tutoring, babysitting, giving music lessons, selling eggs, making and selling candy, etc.  Brainstorm with your student to see what they might enjoy and get the word out that they are open for business.

4. Get a job.  Older teens can get a ‘real’ job that gives them job experience and an income.

Now that they have some money to manage, here is where you teach them how to manage it.

 The first step is to help them determine a budget.

A Budget should include:
    Savings- how much should they save from their income? Determine a percentage.
    Giving- what percent will they give to church or charity
    Expenses- what monthly expenses do they have?  gas, phone, etc?
   
Open a bank account
    If your child doesn’t already have a bank account in their own name, they should open    
    one; savings, checking, or both.  

Students should be taught how to balance their bank statement and checkbook (do they use those anymore?)

Students under the age of 18 cannot get a debit card without tieing it to their parents account.  You decide if you want to do that.  I personally do not like debit cards and don’t use them.
My young adults do use them, but one discovered recently that it can be used by others, if lost.

Credit Cards
It is critical that your students learn how credit cards work before they go out on their own.  You don’t have to get them a credit card to teach them about credit cards.  
Many unsuspecting young college students get caught in the credit card companies lure and have a large debt before they know what hit them.  

Students need to know that if they can’t pay the card when the bill comes, they shouldn’t make the purchase.  

A good resource for teaching students about money management is Dave Ramsey’s new book Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money

Dave Ramsey does advocate a cash only system, which I don’t follow, but you determine what is best for you and your family.

I think my children mostly ‘caught’ their money management lessons; some did a better job at it than others.  

Teach your children money management skills before they leave home.  Trying to teach them what you missed later will feel like you are sticking your nose in their business.  

Trust me.  Do it.


Other posts in this series: Cooking, Clothing Care

Friday, June 20, 2014

Family Favorites Friday: Parmesan Ranch Chicken

 
Kids can cook
This is an easy recipe for pre-teens and teens to make. 
 This recipe for Parmesan Ranch Chicken is super easy.  Since we like grilled chicken that has been marinated in ranch dressing, I put this combination together one day and it became an instant favorite.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Help Your Child Become Successful at Life- an interview and giveaway


no faiure to launch

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats

Many of us (myself included) are often so focused on  filling the pail with "everything they need to know",  that we forget to light the fire of learning.

I recently found Jonathan Harris' website 10KToTalent.  A homeschooling dad of eight children, he is dedicated to helping parents discover their student's talent and lighting their fire for learning.

Using the principle that

   'it takes 10,000 hours of concerted focus, training, and learning in order to become one of the world’s best within a specific field of human activity," Mr. Harris has developed two courses that will help you teach your child in a way that helps them discover and develop their talent.
 
He says, "It is a rule-of-thumb that could also be expressed as saying it takes about ten years of dedication with 4 hours of daily training to become great in your talent. Ten years of that regimen will place you among the top ten people in the world who are doing the same thing you are doing."

Given that principle, I suppose that person would then be an 'expert'.  It doesn't take much time surfing the internet to discover that many people claim to be an 'expert' on a subject, but in reality, have little experience in their field. 

Consider this:  what if your student began developing their talent at age 12 or 13?  In ten years, as a young adult, they would be one of the top people in their field of talent.  Would 
they still need to go to college or would they be so busy earning a living with their talent that it was unnecessary?  I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt to try. 

What if you are like me, and your student is now 16 or 17 years old?  Is it too late to start intentionally developing their talent by focusing their education on that?  I don't think so.  For many things, it is never too late to start.  The tragedy is in never beginning.

To help you get to know Mr. Harris and his 10KToTalent and Blog to Your Talent
(Click here to view more details courses better, I had the privilege of interviewing him and am sharing that interview with you today.

The interview is a little bit lengthy, but it helps you better understand the 10K to Talent concept.

Also, be sure to read to the end where you can enter a drawing to win one of his courses.

1.  What is your (and your wife’s) educational background?  How/why did you want your children’s education to be different?

My wife and I both went to university and got college degrees. I have a Master’s Degree in Economics from a state college and she has a Bachelor’s degree in English from a private Christian college. Before that we also both went to public school and private schools at various points in our younger years.  Our own children, however, have been homeschooling from the very beginning; my eldest is 16 years old.

There are several reasons I want my children’s education to be different than my own. The foundational reason is that by homeschooling them, I would be able to control the spiritual and philosophical ideas taught to them and that I would be able to raise them up with overtly Christian ideals in their day to day learning.  But beyond that, I also see homeschooling as an opportunity to provide them with something onto which they can build a career that has the ability to give the emotional and financial freedom needed to lead others in their field of vocation. I did not want them to become the semi-skilled workers that need to be told when and how to do their work. I believe that building great character in children finds fulfillment later on as children finally reach independence. That’s when they have the freedom to act on their Christian ideals, both in the workplace and in their private lives. Yes, you can still have an impact when you are a straightforward employee, but when given the choice of being a slave or being free, you should always choose to be free, just like the Apostle Paul said. Freedom is better, you can do more.

It is the same principle at work for young men when it comes to looking to their future as providers for their families and in being engaged in work that they are intrinsically proud of and not just tolerating. Not only does having a great market-valuable talent which to start off adulthood provide for great personal fulfillment and good reputation among peers, it also makes it a lot easier for young men to decide to get married earlier rather than later after years of wandering around lonely and subject to constant temptations. In my opinion, these long delays into family life are mostly caused by prolonged schooling years in an attempt to discover a vocation that is able to support a family. Delays are also caused by frustrating career roadblocks because young adult do not have enough depth of expertise to achieve lift-off before the day-to-day needs of providing for daily expenses comes up. Choosing to develop a talent early in your son or daughter’s life logically makes it easier al to swiftly and decisively go through any needed university training.

With homeschooling you can approach your children’s learning so that you have an abundance of opportunities to choose from. From that abundance, you can choose those opportunities that prepare your son for maximum freedom and leadership in his chosen field of talent. Many opportunities, while they might otherwise be interesting, do not have the possibility for the same impact, so you give them low priority or drop them entirely.  I chose to do my children’s education in a way that is different than what I grew up with,  so they can build upon what I have discovered through hard experience in life, rather than have them repeat my same slow path of trial and error. If I can choose more emotional and financial freedom for my children, more status for them among their peers, why would I settle for preparing my children to be employees? One of the keys to a life with better opportunities is to provide the young people in my charge with a real talent that brings value to others. It is that high value that your children bring to helping others in their needs and wants that will open the doors of leadership to them. That is why I want to build talent in my children and why I want to encourage others to do the same for their children.

2.  Is there a specific incident that sparked “10K to Talent”?

There is no specific incident that sparked the 10ktoTalent website. Rather it was the culmination of a growing awareness of two big factors in education.

One factor was that as educational resources of all types and stripes have become more readily available, more affordable, and offered in much better quality and depth than ever before on every subject imaginable, it became apparent to me that parents could drown their children in the details of all sorts of study subjects imaginable without  ever bringing a coherent purpose to their future. I could have my children memorize every single river tributary in South America, if I so chose, because the resources and topography is available at my fingertips. I could have them memorize the biographies of the wives of all the vice-presidents of the United States, because that resource is available too, with cute little stories to go with it. I could move them onto another amazing grammar-busting curriculum, with accompanying Latin-roots lectures, because that resource is even better than all the ones made before in the history of mankind.

We were drowning in the abundance of possibilities, but I was afraid that it would mean we were going to have super-smart educated children, but with nothing that could actually make a dramatic impact in their lives when they become adults. I love options and I’m very excited about what this abundance and access can do and I hope our abundance increases even more!  I was also afraid we would be equipping our children into adulthood with a library full of amazing illustrated cookbooks on every cuisine known to man, but no one would ever want to hire them because they didn’t really know how to cook any particular cuisine well enough. This then begs the question: How do you know on what to focus that will make a real difference?

The other factor at play that spurred to start the 10ktoTalent business, was the growing awareness of friends and acquaintances ahead of us, whose children were now graduating from their high-school years into early adulthood with seemingly irrelevant skills to the needs of the world around them. These young adults were otherwise reasonably articulate, polite, and well-adjusted emotionally, but they seemed condemned to accumulating low-value job skills for careers that had low potential for supporting families with a wife and children. In fact, even their parents seemed to have little to no-expectations that their children’s future work lives would surpass at all what the parents were able to accomplish in their own lives. The acceptance that this was normal for their children to struggle so much in their early twenties with career and direction, was inherently repugnant to me. Had we as parents learned nothing at all from the difficulties and opportunities out there in the working world? Couldn’t we at least pass the advantage of some of our wisdom and experience? I determined that my sons would not  struggle  the same way I did with career and that whatever difficulties they were to encounter, they need not repeat the same mistakes I did. They could at least learn from my earlier lack of experience and knowledge on how to approach a career.  I determined to work backwards in my mind on where those problem points had been - and to then simply implement the kind of learning resources and opportunities in their lives that would shore up against those clear problem points.

Simply put, to look at an example of how I started doing this, I looked at our grammar curriculum, and asked myself “was a lack of high grammatical accuracy helpful to launching my own career or the career of others?”  My answer was no. But I did know that if I had had a better handle on how to cold call or verbally approach employers that I had really wanted to work for, rather than as a bag-boy in community college, that it would have been extremely beneficial, possibly life-changing, had I not been so stuck on following the advice of submitting type-written resumes. With that first problem point in mind, I dramatically pulled back on our grammar curriculum plans (we still have some gorgeous un-opened grammar materials in our boxes!) and we switched to cultivating opportunities for the older boys to pitch their talents and services in many different ways to adults that are not just friends and relatives.

That’s one simple thing you can do to get started, even if your hopes are in a low-ebb for your children. Start simply working backwards from the problem points you remember you had as a  young adult trying to get your life started. Then emphasize in your children’s education those aspects that will get you around or dramatically shorten those problem points. But from there, I hope parents will get more sophisticated than that, and rather than just avoid problem points,  look at ways to actively achieve something far greater and better than what you could have accomplished when you were a young man. That’s what the 10ktoTalent website is all about: start first by working to avoid the future problems and move in boldness to start creating a brand new future for your children.  On my website and through my guides, I give you the strategy, tips, and techniques, on how to start creating a custom future for your children.

3.   I have seen my children’s interests change from pre-teen to young adult.  What would you advise parents about changing interests who use 10K to Talent with their pre-teen/young teen?

Changing interests is not a problem with regards to applying the principles of 10ktoTalent, so long as you have plans to build upon the accumulated skills that your child has learned while spending time with his old interest. In fact, one of the principles of 10KtoTalent encourages you to gradually modify the original interests, so that your child learns to respond to the real wants of the world around him and he learns to take advantage of opportunities that can create much better possibilities for his long term prospects. In the discovery talent guide, I explain that in great detail. You start with some tangible interests and short-term goals in your child’s life and you manipulate them so that you achieve something far bigger than what those interests at first seem to promise. It’s very exciting to see how you can grow your child’s AND your family’s uniqueness into something amazing and valuable to others.

4.  Is “Blog to Your Talent” a natural progression after “10K to Talent” or should they be used simultaneously?

The “"Blog to Your Talent – Learn How to Showcase Your Talent in 42 Lessons"” guide is a tool,Click here to visit 10KToTalent.
a method to support and accelerate the growth in your child’s long-term talent. But the guide “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent” is the starting point if you have a child of at least around the age of twelve. You can still read it and apply parts of the guide to children younger than that, but the full on application is designed for those with a maturity level a couple of years older than ten.

5.  Reading your blog, I noticed that some of your children have multiple blogs/social media accounts.  What do you do to protect your children online?

With multiple blogs and social media accounts, we have a family rule that all the accounts must be known by us and we must know all the user names and passwords. We make it clear that we reserve the right to check their activity at any time, including their email activity. My position as a father, is that if they are going to make some mistakes or socially cross the line in some areas, that I would rather have it happen now so that we can start having those “awkward conversations” when they are still tender to my influence, when I still have the power to instruct and remove Internet privileges. The thought of having your mother or father read something that you would not want them to read, is often sufficient oversight to help them stay on the right path of social interaction. Of course, on a day-to-day basis, there is frequent opportunity for helping them understand etiquette.

6.  What are 3 (or the most frequent) mistakes you see student bloggers (or adults) make?

The most frequent mistakes young and older bloggers make are these:
1) The blog is not focused enough around one particular topic - which means readers get confused by what your overall message is and will abandon you.
2) The blog is not providing enough new posts on a regular basis - which means readers forget you even exist and you don’t have an interesting enough voice because you never practiced enough to have one.
3) The blogger’s identity is so anonymous that adult readers get creeped out that they might be considered stalkers if they ask any questions, so they stop interacting and providing valuable positive feedback.

7.  Too many students leave college saddled with a huge debt.  Is 10K to Talent intended to help students be successful without college or to help them be focused by the time they get to college?

 10KToTalent helps either student, regardless of whether they pursue higher education or not. It teaches the student to carefully think through to make sure the college experience supports their talent focus, not replace it. Some particular talents require higher education, so yes, if that’s the goal, then banking hours better prepares the student to get into the college of choice and puts them in a better competitive position.

8.  Do your children plan to go to college?  Why or why not?

My children might or might not go to college. I am not worried about those plans in the least. If their talent journey shows that at some point college work would significantly enhance their talent, then I would be happy if they study at a university in a specific area, with a specific plan. If it is to discover themselves or to study something that has no real purpose to their talent journey, then I will actively discourage them from going to university. Ideally, I would like my children to be business owners and entrepreneurs. In most cases, entrepreneurs can just hire experts from college when they need them. That’s not always the case, of course, so I remain flexible.

9.  What advice would you give to parents whose children seem interested in talents that will not lead to a viable career?  Would you recommend steering them toward something more viable?

I would recommend that parents help to gently uncover opportunities that will gradually redirect an aspect of their child’s talent into something that has long-term potential. Let’s say for example, that your very hands-on son, is spending far too much time playing baseball all through the summer and every other evening during the normal school year. You could gently encourage him to look at buying and selling used baseball gear on craigslist.com to help awaken his entrepreneurial side. He would have a natural advantage in that realm because he understands what buyers would want in such equipment. You could go in many different directions using his interest in baseball to study physics, develop apps for sports enthusiasts, or look at American history through the eyes of baseball culture.

10.  Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?

Time is critical for parents. Your children will graduate from high school before you know it and the clock will have run out on their options to explore real opportunities for their adult lives. I’m not talking about exploring fun, relaxing, pleasurable opportunities in their youth, such as kayaking or baseball, but about opportunities that will make a difference in their lives as mothers and fathers. Don’t waste that time. Start now thinking about their future and not about just piling up a list of educational facts in their minds. Parents, you are the key to jump-starting that future.
To find out more about Jonathan Harris and his helpful courses, Click here to visit 10KToTalent.

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