I don’t know about you, but the idea of homeschooling my children gives me anxiety! Although I went to school to become a daycare teacher, I always imagined having that separation between home life and work life. I thought that planned activities and more rigid schedules were meant for a school setting and then when I was at home with my kids I would get to teach them the basic skills of life. With this mindset, I decided that while being a stay-at-home mom, I would not stress myself out about planning specific learning activities. Instead, I would continue to put my focus on teaching my children practical activities at home. Although we don’t generally think of household “chores” as learning, there are still plenty of important lessons that our children get out of them.
Baking or Cooking
You don’t have to go out of your way to find specific meals or desserts to make with your kids! You can have them help out with meals you’re already planning to make for the whole family. Baking and cooking is the first of the practical activities on this list for a good reason! Many people grow up not knowing how to! The truth is, children are more capable than we think. With the right guidance, your children could be learning various kitchen tasks such as cutting, spreading, mixing, sifting, measuring, etc. There is no limit! The key to success with this is following your child’s cues for what they are ready to learn.
In case you were wondering what your children are learning while helping in the kitchen, here are just a few skills:
- Math skills — counting, fractions, measuring, sequencing, shapes
- Problem solving
- Increasing vocabulary (learning new words)
- Chemistry & Science — making predictions and learning how food changes while cooking
- Health lessons
- Motor Skills — whisking, measuring, pouring, sifting, rolling
For more information on this, check out Apartment Therapy’s post on what kids learn while cooking!
Helping with cleaning chores is a great practical activity to involve your children in! Simple tasks like laundry, dishes and decluttering can all be modified for any age, even for a 2 year old! In our home, Atlas (2) helps load the washing machine with clothes and press the start button. And he loves it! Making their bed, wiping down tables and cleaning windows are a few more things that your children are able to help out with as well!
These are some of the skills your child is learning when helping with cleaning the house:
- Math Skills — sorting (laundry), sequencing (the correct order in how things are done (first wash, then dry, then put away)
- Motor Skills — Using a broom!
- Creating Habits for their future
- Safety Principles — washing dishes, what to do with sharp items
- Listening and Following Instructions sequencing
- Teamwork — cleaning an entire house is a shared responsibility!
- Attention to Detail
- Pride and Ownership in their accomplishments
Need a cleaner that is toxin free and kid friendly? Try the Thieves essential oil cleaner!
Gardening can be a great activity to help you relax. The visuals and scents from plants are very pleasing to most. It is also a great way to grow your own vegetables and spices right from your own backyard!
Here are a few of the skills your kids learn from gardening:
- Geography — learning where plants come from and conditions of that area that cause them to thrive
- Responsibility — ensuring that their plants don’t die
- Science and Discovery — learning the life cycle of plants and what helps them grow
- Literacy — there are so many different names to plants
- Sensory Stimulation (visual, scents, textures)
Did you know that a number of house plants are actually great for air quality? Many are even capable of growing with low light!
Most people already take the time to teach their children personal care tasks without even thinking about it. Dressing themselves, brushing teeth, washing hands, tying shoe laces and even cleaning their hair properly are all things that don’t come naturally to children. It is something that they learn, and there are many skills that come out of it as well!
Our children learn about these skills and more while practicing personal care:
- Understanding Health
- Motor Skills (like then brushing teeth or using zippers!)
- Pride in their accomplishments
Taking Care Of A Pet
The last of the practical activities I have added to this list is taking care of a pet. Whether you already have a pet or plan on getting one, they are the ultimate lesson provider for children of all ages! Going for walks, cleaning up behind, feeding and playing with a pet all teach our kids different skills. These skills can be applied to their every day lives! Even the loss of a pet acts as a learning experience for our children.
Here are some specific skills your children learn while caring for pets:
- Pride and Ownership
- Physical Activity
- Social Skills — Compassion, Trust, Loyalty, Empathy
Learning doesn’t have to mean sitting down and filling out a worksheet. It doesn’t only happen when you spends tons of money on sensory bins or educational apps. It is not something we should stress over, as parents nor as kids. Children are resilient. With or without a physical classroom, they will manage to learn the skills that they need to thrive, one way or another. As a parent, it is your job to be there for your children and show them the way. It is great if you are someone who loves to be creative and set up crafts, but if not, that doesn’t make you a bad parent! Your children are going to learn, give them opportunities in your daily life and they will flourish. No extra stress needed!