Knowing how to turn the words “learning lifestyle” into a physical approach in your homeschooling and life is crucial to successful minimalist homeschooling and child-raising.
A learning lifestyle is a way to fulfil your children with a broad education, although you may maintain a minimal approach to your formal education in your children’s younger years (primary school) you provide other sources of education, through life skills, and personal development and extracurricular activities.
I am talking of creating an environment that is natural, habitual and flexible in its ability to adapt to the child, and increase their ability, individuality, strengths and empathy to develop ‘children’ into kind, hard-working, adults who can think and express themselves in the outside world.
A learning ‘lifestyle’ comes with assessing each child.
- Knowing their strengths and weaknesses in relation to dealing with others, formal learning and their abilities.
- The ability to understand that the adult you are raising starts now, each stage plays into the next.
- When they are 3, 5, 10 and 15, in your home, learning your ways, the moral code you give, the level of understanding, critical thinking, the ability to adapt to the outside world and the ability to function in it.
- Most of these things are caught rather than taught, from daily routine, from watching YOU, from learning everyday skills as they grow.
The difference between raising children in a homeschooled environment over the school system
A child’s learning lifestyle is dramatically different if they are homeschooled or schooled in the mainstream education sector.
This is obvious.
We have all experienced either ourselves, in raising our children or observing other homeschooled children the realisation that they are “different”
I have seen homeschoolers who are extremely sheltered and therefore, ‘different’ in the extreme, and others who look identical to mainstream educated children.
Why am I mentioning this?
How we raise our children (their learning lifestyle) affects their worldview, their ideals of right and wrong, how they interact and how they conduct themselves.
For most of us, the decision to homeschool has arisen from the need to do so, either for education or lifestyle/worldview.
homeschoolers can be in sole charge of teaching their children how the world works, and impart a certain worldview.
Mainstream educated children are given their worldview, the ability to conduct themselves and the ability to think critically and to relate to others, almost completely from the the ‘system’
As the year’s progress and the world changes, things like feminism, sexism, gender, relationships, and what is right and wrong are beginning to morphe, and they make these changes, slowly but surely, through the school system and through mainstream media.
Generational gaps are becoming larger, and parents in many cases no longer relate to their children when it comes to their ideals.
This affects their ability to pass on the moral code they agree with and live by, the ideas, empathy and ideals they once had for their family are replaced by the school system and their agenda.
As homeschoolers, we have more control over what ideals and beliefs and lifestyles our children adapt and grow with.
From religion to life skills we can control how our children think and behave with our own input and standards.
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t agree with everything going on in our world now.
My homeschooling gives me the freedom to teach my children, everything from critical thinking to empathy to what is right and wrong by MY moral code and not the school systems.
I do not relinquish my children to possibly learn and adopt ideas and ideals that I do not agree with.
READ THIS IF YOU ARE A HOMESCHOOLER AND WANT TO KNOW HOW I PLAN MY HOMESCHOOLING LIFESTYLE
STEP 1 TO CREATING YOUR LEARNING LIFESTYLE: Create a lifestyle that reflects your ideal goals
This is crucial. Whether you are religious or not, whether you desire to pass on family traditions or just certain things that are important to you, having a list of goals to incorporate into a lifestyle is going to allow you to make time and keep track and when the days get busy.
The goals you have based on your ideals impact your day to day life.
- Who do you socialise with?
- what you read, listen and watch.
- how much time you spend imparting your worldview depends on how important it is to you which affects daily habits.
- how to teach them to treat others and think of themselves.
- What are your ideals?
- Do you think you are successfully passing them on the way you desire?
- Could you change things in your daily lifestyle to better reflect them and pass them on?
STEP 2: What is your child now? How can you help them grow with a learning lifestyle?
To plan a learning lifestyle to the best of your ability and to the needs of your child then you need to know and take the time to learn who they are.
Now this can sound complicated, but really as the years progress and they grow into themselves, this means knowing their strengths and their weaknesses, both in ability, formal education, and attitude and interaction.
- How do they listen and react to instruction, kind words and criticism?
- How they play with others.
- What do they find joy in?
- What do struggle to do that you wish for them to become competent in both is ability and attitude?
- Are there life skills you wish to teach them this year? ie, cooking, cleaning, saving money, becoming more independent, interacting with others?
- Write a list, and assess your child, weaknesses, strength, and ability. Fill it with praise! but be honest, as adults, we all realise we have areas we can work on, and it’s no different with our children.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE THE TIME TO TEACH? from attitude to life skills.
Your list can include formal learning, for example in mine I include.
- work way through Gamma, (math u see) maths book.
I include this as I use this list for the year’s learning goals and I take time to record progress as we go. I know this alone will take him right through his current year of maths, and I do not need to get fancy with including different mathematic elements into his learning goals.
If you use a different learning style and want to include formal learning in your list of ten like I do, then I would include a separate list of 10, and be sure to read over it every few months to stay on track.
you can include, cooking, cleaning, reading, time managing, money-saving, attitude (are they unkind? do they not share? do they refuse to put others first? all these can be made into physical tasks and ideals you can work on one at a time)
Young children can start learning to take care of themselves and contribute with small tasks in the family home.
Lifeskills are a crucial element of learning in any child.
Life skills are anything needed in order to successfully live alone, and how successfully you can determine by how much you impart to your children while in your home.
Not only does it help them as adults, but it creates stable, helpful and responsible children in the home.
I have a post on how you can create a block schedule for your children. If you want to develop and add life skills to your daily routine, using a flexible schedule is a handy way to sustain learning new skills.
The five most important life skills are:
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Skills.
- Money Management Life Skills. …
- Critical Thinking Skills. …
- Daily Living Skills. …
- Communication Skills.
Each category has many individual skills to teach. I will name just a few.
Emotional intelligence: this is the ability to understand feelings, understand if they are justified if they are and how to deal with them either alone, with family or dealing with outside parties that may have contributed. To know when an action based on feelings is wrong or right. (we cannot act out when we feel angry or ignored, but as adults must be able to communicate) As children age and begin adult responsibilities, they must be able to understand that they like everyone has feelings both good and bad, and how to manage and maintain feelings with behaviour and mindset.
Money management: How to earn money, how to care for items bought by them and others, how to save money, and how to spend money.
Critical thinking skills: read this and watch this, if you want to know how I handle teaching critical thinking. Another way is to simply place your children in situations where they have to think. Cooking, completing a task, creating, working as a team, and trying something new, all these things create critical thinkers.
Daily living skills: Things like cleaning up after themselves, cooking, knowing healthy foods from unhealthy, how to manage habits, how to grow food, how to care for an animal, how to wake early, how to manage their time, how to work with others, how to stick toa routine, and personal hygiene. All of these are living skills, and all are important.
Communication skills: through formal learning, you can teach your children to write well, read well, speak well and be able to memorise. Other forms of communication include understanding their emotions and being able to relay them. General respect for adults, basic manners, knowing to use the correct tone, knowing how to greet adults and write formal letters, knowing how to conduct themselves in different social settings, knowing how to speak to others who disagree or argue with them, knowing how to politely refuse offers and how to make phone calls.
MAKE A LIST OF TEN TO INCORPORATE AN EASY LEARNING LIFESTYLE
At least start with ten, if you feel the need to add more then you can do so, but I feel from experience, that 10 is a good place to feel and see the difference in your child, without becoming obsessed with creating and moulding and most likely beginning to pick your child to pieces on the daily to meet the long list of standards.
NOTE: I am dealing with young children and I am a minimalist homeschooler, if you are dealing with children over the age of 12, then I would leave out formal schooling and focus on life skills in your list of ten.
Let your children be children, I hope I have a good balance of helping them, of teaching and moulding, while allowing them to be free, to enjoy the few years of childhood where they slowly learn responsibility and the qualities needed to survive the world but safe and encouraged in their home environment.
A real example of the list of ten I am working on with my eldest child.
- finish math u see Gamma. (formal learning/falls under critical thinking)
- work on memory skills (bible, ideal goal, to read and memorize the bible) (memory must be recited correctly each week to receive full pocket money amount.) (speech, memory and communication, money management)
- learn 3 new recipes. Simple dinner/sweet recipe/bread (daily living skills, time management)
- work on time management. waking times, managing reading time, chore time, and meal times when cooking for the family. (watch and alarm clock will be bought) (daily living skills)
- finish cursive and building writers workbooks for 2022. (formal learning)
- 20 minutes of reading per day (not 1st reader) (daily living, critical thinking, formal learning time management)
- include dictation for spelling, choice of five words each week, and use flashcards in review. (critical thinking, speech, writing, communication)
- finish 1st reader? (will not push through this ) (critical thinking, formal learning, speech, communication)
- learn to save 40% of earned money and how to split uses. (daily living, Money management)
- veggie garden, this year’s crop is peas. weed plot, plant, maintain, harvest, cook and collect seeds for next year. (daily living skills, time management, responsibility)
How did I come up with these outcomes?
first I assessed my eldest.
He is 10 years old.
I won’t elaborate fully as I want to respect his privacy, but one of his strengths is he is a hard worker and works often without having to be prompted.
He is responsible and is looking for more responsibility in the form of earning money.
As he grows he often desires to save for another something or other, and I encourage this, as long as the item is something I allow.
I give him a weekly quota, and we chat about areas where he can improve and I praise him when he does well.
I help him by encouraging and starting him off with what he needs (an alarm clock so I don’t have to drag him out of bed long after everyone else) and he can use it to fulfil his new skills, in return, he is rewarded with a step up in pocket money amount and freedom.
With the new pocket money, I can also increase his knowledge, he is working hard in the garden, weeding a plot and managing his large crop of peas and beans, his crop of choice. I prompt him to be in his garden for at least 15 minutes a day.
He is learning to save his money, to buy gifts however small for others, and to not spend his money on frivolity only. A way to teach him a healthy relationship with money
Cooking is a life skill, one that all my children will leave home with.
Cooking healthy tasty meals for others is a way to learn new skills, kitchen safety, food hygiene, recipe reading, maths, and time management and it is a skill to teach your children to serve others with a smile, I have my boys serve their siblings and help little one with cutting their food has helped them to be kinder and to put others first.
My boys have been cooking breakfast 4 days a week between them for all of this year, and now it’s time to upskill with new recipes and new challenges.
How long does it take to move through the list?
It is completely up to the child.
I do not allow my children to say no to anything on the list.
I do not approach them with the idea of learning it. I simply begin instructing them on the point.
A child with a bad attitude will have their list altered if need be to include things that help work on their attitude.
How long it takes to get 10 items mastered and begin a new set of skills and values is up to you, how to incorporate them into your life, are they daily? everything on my list from money saving to school to cooking to time management can be done daily.
as with formal learning, how consistent you are in showing up and following through will dictate how quickly your children master skills and ideals.
Remember it is the mundane that gets the job done, it’s showing up and getting in there with the nitty-gritty boring stuff that creates adults who are able thinkers and doers.
A real example of my 5 year old’s list
- works through kindergarten writer (formal learning, critical thinking)
- work through Math u see primer (formal learning, critical thinking)
- learn ABC’s by sight. (Formal learning, memory, speech)
- sit with mum for a daily read aloud. (sit still!) (critical thinking, lifeskills)
- make a bed properly! learn with mum. (daily life skill)
- manage dirty clothes and clothes changing days, help with boys washing day. (daily life skill)
- can complete a given task without being prompted (very distracted) (daily life skill, critical thinking)
- can wash plate and utensil, dry and place back in the pantry. (daily life skill)
- learn to clean the toilet. (daily life skill)
- learn road safety. (safety, daily life skill, critical thinking, responsibility)
My 5-year-old is my third boy, he is clever but has relied heavily on his older brothers to do a lot for him, He needs a lot of prompting to do daily tasks so I have a chosen a few to really be worked on, like bed making, and learning to clean the toilet (since he has no trouble leaving traces of his toilet visits)
You need to think outside the box.
Cleaning the toilet may seem odd, but really it teaches him
- To respect that the mess he leaves has to be cleaned.
- to learn how to start a task and work through it in the right order.
- to take part in our household and learn his place as a helper, and be rewarded for it.
Why do I use my learning lifestyle lists as outcomes for my minimalist homeschooling?
Read the posts: How much time to spend homeschooling each day?
For me is it a way to incorporate everything from formal learning to emotional growth, personal growth and life skills into my day.
Every day is filled with activities that help my children grow, no matter their age or stage.
When my children are teens I will most likely stop including their formal learning as life skills since there will be more and I think that for now, as they learn to write, read and express themselves, there is so much I can do to incorporate everyday activities into this formal learning stage.
As teens, when their school time is increased and they are taking on more I will still keep my list of ten to work on throughout the year, and watch as they grow into themselves.
HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES?
You can account for different personalities by again, assessing each child and giving them things to learn based on their current requirements.
One of my sons is responsible and wants to earn more money.
The other needs more attention to get jobs done, complains often and in general has his feelings hurt easily so he does not take to being told that I will not give him more for nothing, he wants to spend money like his brother but doesn’t have the patience to earn it or save it.
I do not make my children verse each other, nor do I try and help them learn better ways the same way if it won’t suit.
Work with the child but do not cater to a bad attitude
For this son I have offered encouragement by matching his savings, (he is a little younger than my oldest) but I do not pay him all his money if his attitude is bad when earning money or if his jobs are done badly.
I go about teaching him things differently, taking the time to talk things over, and offering him smaller goals, so he can see that his daily work will pay off.
I do not change my standards, the world doesn’t, when he is grown, and working for a boss of his own, he must respect his pay quota, he must work hard and do good work for it.
I don’t want him to think he deserves more, that he is constantly unhappy when others can save more or that he should earn more.
I want him to understand that you can do great things if you are willing.
How to tackle a bad attitude with a learning lifestyle?
I am sure that as a go I will see ways to teach him more, I am learning like any parent, and so I like my list, it helps me to stay grounded, and to settle my focus on what he needs right now.
If a child refuses to work, have him work to earn things they now take for granted, (tv time, enjoying sweet treats) This is to have them understand that work is good, that working to earn good things is even better.
Have them complete anything to a set standard. Do not encourage work, school, play, sharing with others and more, only to have the child do it, but on THEIR terms. They complete the task to a standard that you set. and the task is not completed until that standard is reached.
Do not allow sulking, a child who spends hours, not talking, not participating and doing everything with a sour face and bitter eyes is a child trying to let you know that they are not okay with YOU and your role, your standard, and your will.
do not allow boasting. A child who does well should be praised, there is nothing wrong with showing pride, and rewarding good behaviour. However, if that child becomes boastful, looks down on others, talks constantly of themselves and how good they are or what you said to them, then you need to teach HUMILITY. No one like a man or woman who cannot stop talking about themselves, and so teach your children to accept praise, but to understand the struggles of others and that picking others up is far more rewarding then bringing yourself up.
So how could you create a learning lifestyle?
- what are your ideals? write them down
- how can you use your daily routine to pass them on? make a small list of things you think you can achieve
- what do your children need to work on? assess you,r children. don’t be afraid to increase responsibility at an early age.
- what life skills can you teach through real-world application? doing dishes, growing food, serving others, and saving money. working for set standards.
- how can you use strengths and acknowledge weaknesses in ways that provide encouragement and improvement? praise often! talk over bad behaviour in older children (and discipline!) encourage and provide ways for them to prove to themselves that they can change and work through it.
I hope this helps you!
have any questions!
send an email or message me on instagram or Facebook I will always get back to you!