Get a Leg Up on Life This Summer

Over the past few days, we’ve been talking about investing rather than spending your kids’ summer. We covered using the summer to boost academics and to pursue passion. Today, we’re wrapping up this short series with a look at ways to invest your child’s summer by building life skills.

Clearly all of this is going to take some planning. If you wait for summer to come and then just sort of let each day happen to you, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll accomplish much. So, take a Saturday, and make some plans. Be deliberate. Parent On Purpose!

The summer is a great time to teach your kids important life skills, such as how to change a tire and the car’s oil, how to do research on the Internet (it dawned on me one year, when I was working on project with my 8-year-old, that kids aren’t born knowing how to Google), how to make travel arrangements, how to sew, can vegetables, do laundry…you get the idea.

But what if you don’t know how to do these things? Honestly, I don’t even know how to turn on a sewing machine. It’s pathetic, I know, especially for a homeschool mom. But the truth is, I didn’t grow up in a very domestic family. We were plenty cultured. Having grown up right outside of Manhattan, I spent my childhood at museums and art galleries, seeing Broadway shows and ballets and symphonies. My grandmother took me to Lincoln Center to see La Boheme, and we spent many weekends at art festivals.

Living in the Hudson Valley of New York also meant that I got to do some cool outdoorsy things. I went skiing in the winters, hiked mountains and went camping. I even went on two Hawaiian parasailing tours with my parents, but there was also a lot that we didn’t do as a family.

I never really learned how to garden or sew or bake. My mom was a master knitter and crocheter, but she never taught me, and I suppose I never asked. Those were just things she did. Actually, I do knit now, but it was my daughter who taught me!

I don’t want my kids to grow up without these important life skills, so I’m learning along side them. YouTube makes just about any skill accessible!

The summer is a great time for kids to start a business. They can baby sit, mow lawns, walk dogs, or make and sell things. Two years ago, my daughter funded a trip by earning $300 knitting and selling the cutest owls you’ve ever seen. Now she does henna tattoos to make money.

Want to give them solid business skills, check out MicroBusiness for Teens.

Teach your kids about investing this summer. Show them how to look up stocks. Then have a little family contest. Have everyone pick a stock and see who’s does best.

Start a garden. Find out what grows well in the summer in your hardiness zone, and then have your kids layout and plant a garden. They’ll love eating the food they’ve grown.

Teach them how to cook. Take them to a kitchen store and show them a bunch of different cooking tools. Build a foundation of basics like how to make a roux and the five mother sauces: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise and tomato sauces. Teach them how to wash and cut fruits and veggies, how to blanch, parboil, saute, carmelize, braise and poach.

Make a plan for kids to learn important technology skills like how to type, use PowerPoint and Excel, build a website, do some basic graphic design and use social media for networking and marketing.

 

Let’s all make a pact that we won’t just let our summer days happen to us — we’ll take hold of them, one by one, making everyday count toward a brighter future for our kids.

Leave us comment and let us know what you plan to do to invest your kids’ summer this year.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

2 thoughts on “Get a Leg Up on Life This Summer

  1. The articles you wrote about things to do in the summer are wonderful. It is so important for parents to be present with their children. Everything else is gravy. Helping a child to find their passion is so important and just now being incorporated into the guidance of our children. My kids books for young children touch on all these subjects so that they can find their self esteem and think about designing their lives. You can check them out @ thebobetteartco.com.

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