Why life skills are an important part of our homeschool curriculum. A lot people seem to think of it as an afterthought or a non essential part of homeschooling. After all, they don’t teach these things in public school so why should homeschoolers give it any importance? It’s my stance that teaching life skills is just as important if not more important than academics.
For our children with autism, life skills take on extra importance. Oftentimes we aren’t looking at college for our special needs kids. We are looking at quality of life as in taking care of their own needs or living independently. I’m not saying our kids can’t or won’t go to college. I just feel it’s more important for Logan to have a high quality of life where he doesn’t have to rely on others for his every need This theory also pertains to Madison who has no known special needs. It’s just that paramount to their upbringing. Raising self sufficient adults will give them options that are not available to others who haven’t been taught these things. It will save them time and money as well as make them that much more independent.
Communication & Social Skills
Learning how to communicate with others effectively is a vital life skill. As your child with autism gets older and starts to try to form friendships and relationships, he needs to know how to understand others and make himself understood. Communication is also a central part of conflict resolution skills, which are very important too. If you want to help your child develop communication and social skills, it’s important that they mix with other children from a young age. Putting them into a daycare facility is a great way to encourage this when they are young. When they are in a new environment without you to support them, they are encouraged to connect with other children and form social connections with them. If they learn this early on, they will find it so much easier to make friends as they get older. Setting up playdates is another simple way to make sure that they interact with plenty of other children.
Motor skills factor into many of the everyday activities that your child will have to engage in as they get older. Reading and writing, for example, is far more difficult for children that do not have very good motor skills. This can be a particular problem in children with learning differences, so it’s important that you find ways to improve their motor skills when they are young. Trying to develop these skills when they are older is much more difficult, so starting early is key to success.
Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking is a part of our everyday lives and we use that skill whenever we make a decision. Small decisions, like what to order at a restaurant, as well as big decisions, like where to go to college or what career path to follow, all require critical thinking skills. Free play is one of the best ways to help your child learn critical thinking skills from a young age. Giving them the freedom to play on their own encourages them to make decisions and explore the world, making their own assumptions and finding solutions to problems.
Patience is an important skill that most of us use every day, and a lack of patience can cause a lot of problems in later life. Unfortunately, young children are not usually very patient, so it’s a skill that you have to work hard to teach. Letting them experience situations where they have to wait for things and explaining the importance of patience in that situation is very helpful here.
Some of these seem like basic common sense. As in , you learn them simply from living life. I can’t take that chance with my child with autism. I may or may not have to walk him through all of these showing him the steps every single time. The fact that these skills have nothing to do with academics is irrelevant. They are just as important if not more than if he can do upper level math or dissect a shark.