Why do we learn anything? To become the person we were meant to be in life. Who were we meant to be then? Joyful adults who are ready to live the missions we were born for and to the have meaningful relationships with God and family.
Do the 'three Rs' help us with who we are meant to become? Sure, but they are not enough to help a person feel ready for adult life, meaningful relationships and to make a positive impact on the world.
As an educator, my primary focus has always been on helping prepare my children to impact the world for good in the way they were specifically born to impact it. This means each person is different and often areas of study are personalized for each child. This also means the child needs to feel confident becoming an adult. Becoming an adult requires doing adult things, and learning adult skills for daily living and communication.
How To Learn Adult Skills In A Fun Way!
Every Christmas I ask the children what they would like to do to celebrate the holidays. This year my twelve year old daughter announced that she would like to have a Christmas party for her friends. Of course my ten year old son didn't want to miss out on that kind of holiday fun, so he also asked if he could have a party for his friends too. We looked at the calendar and scheduled a party day. Two parties, one day of fun!
Now there was no way I was going to take the learning out of this project and do it for them. I told them that the party idea was great, but that they needed to plan the party and carry it out themselves. I gave them a time frame for the party and a budget to work within.
First they decided who would come to their parties and what activities and food they wanted to have at their parties.
Next they made invitations and made plans to get the invitations to the friends.
They made shopping lists, gathered supplies and did cooking, keeping their budget in mind. Some of the cooking failed, but it was still a good lesson.
On the day of the party they cleaned the house and prepared for the guests. I did end up helping with food a bit.
Finally, when the party guests arrived they hosted the party and practiced paying attention to all their guests so as not to leave anyone feeling awkward.
Both parties were a huge success. I wouldn't be surprised if they ask to host parties each year.
What Children Can Learn From Party Planning
For a more quiet child, planning a party is especially educational and promotes doing hard things and having bravery. I have a very good friend who regularly suggests activities like party planning to help one of her children step outside her comfort zone.
No matter the personality type, planning a party includes many adult skills such as, list making and organizing, budgeting, typing, crafting, deliberate social skills learning, leadership skills, baking and homemaking skills, time management, problem solving, and taking responsibility.
Here are some photo highlights from our two party day! One party was uniquely boy-ish and one was much more appealing to girls.
Londyn's Party List
Porter's Party List
Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest
White Elephant Gift Exchange and Story Telling Games (Lots of laughs were had by all!)
Making Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornaments (Roll out, cut, bake, paint, hang)
The boys had a crazy hair contest
Playing Musical Chairs
Playing one of Porter's favorite games; Knock Your Socks Off
Porter wanted to give all of his friends a Christmas present so he chose to do a favorite family tradition called Little Jack Horner to give them a small gift he could afford. You can learn more about Little Jack Horner here.
May all your holidays be bright and full of Christmas laughter and may you find fun ways to teach adult skills this season. Merry Christmas!