Friday, January 27, 2017

What We Love About Homeschooling - Life Skills

Some skills and knowledge can be taught from books while others can only be learned from modeling and hands-on experience. Raising a child with a diagnosis of Autism, I have come to appreciate the importance of Life Skills. Things that come naturally to most people, can be difficult for children with a diagnosis of Autism. They must work diligently to master through repetition.

Being able to teach my child these valuable skills that will help him to become more independent and help him better navigate the real world, is one of the things we love about homeschooling.

Life Skills:

1. Personal Hygiene
2. Meal Preparation
3. Managing Money
4. Conversation and Social Skills
5. Laundry

Personal Hygiene:

Most children with a diagnosis of Autism don't understand the need for good personal hygiene habits. Add to that the teenage years and raising a boy and that need for good personal hygiene drops even lower. My son always has something more important to do than get a shower or brush his teeth. Personal hygiene takes time away from his preferred activities so to him it is unimportant.

Meal Preparation:

Personally, I feel that everyone should know how to prepare a meal. Meal preparation includes grocery shopping for ingredients, kitchen safety, and cooking. If you are having guests, then you also need to know how to set a table and proper table etiquette, which includes conversation.

Managing Money:

Managing money is an essential life skill. First, my child needs to be able to count money and make change. By knowing how much an item costs and how much he should get in return, no one can take advantage of him. He also needs to be able to determine percentages and gratuity.

Managing money is about more than knowing how to spend money. One also needs to know about savings, balancing checkbooks, and budgets.

Conversation and Social Skills:

Social skills are often difficult for children with a diagnosis of Autism. They often  have difficulty reading facial expressions. They take things very literally and have difficulty understanding idioms. For example, if we said it was raining cats and dogs, they would expect to see cats and dogs falling from the sky. They need to be taught what these idioms mean: raining cats and dogs means it is pouring down rain. Often, they also have difficulty carrying on conversations. They want to tell you everything they know. Sometimes, they interrupt conversations because they are concerned they will forget what they want to say if they have to wait. Other times, listening can be a difficult task as they may misunderstand what we are trying to tell them as their perspective is different than ours. If the topic is not about something that is of importance to them, they may not even see the need to converse. They need to learn how to take turns and make inquiries. These are essential skills they will need to navigate this world.

Laundry and Other Skills:

It would be quite costly to buy new clothes every time we needed clean clothes. For this reason, children need to be taught essential life skills like how to do laundry: washing, drying, folding, and putting away clean clothes. Other important skills include: keeping a house clean; knowing how to handle minor repairs and use simple tools; taking out the trash; recycling; making appointments with doctors and for haircuts; and maintaining a car by pumping gas, checking oil, filling window washer fluid.

This post is part of a Blog Round-Up with The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. You can read what others like best about homeschooling at Homeschool Review Crew.

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