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Something every child needs to learn is how to take care of him or herself as they grow older. This does not mean that you are just throwing them under the bus or tossing them into the water without a life jacket when they are still babies. It means that it is the responsibility of parents to teacher their children life skills.
In the absence of parents, it’s the responsibility of whatever adult is taking care of the child(ren). All adults need to have some basic life skills so that they can grow up knowing how to successfully navigate through life. Because of this, every homeschool curriculum should include lessons that teach these very important skills.
When your children are adults, they need to know how to cook, wash laundry, keep a home clean and how to manage money. These are skills that most everyone takes for granted. That’s why you want your children to be prepared than stumble through the world because they don’t know how or what to do. This is especially important for parents of special needs children and/or adults because as those parents age they worry about what will happen to their loved ones when they are gone. So, giving these life skills lessons early and often is paramount to how your autistic child/teen/adult will navigate the world, even when you are no longer able to because of age or mobility challenges.
It’s quite easy to work in these life lessons as part of a homeschool curriculum. One very simple way to get them started is by having them take part in grocery shopping. This can begin as soon as they can read and comprehend what they are reading. Start by letting them help you make the grocery list. Take them with you through the kitchen, bathroom, and/or pantry. Anywhere you check while making your grocery list and what you are out of. Making the list is a very important part of the process. When you reach the store, give your children a small list of their own, so that they can travel through the store with you. Teach them how to locate the items that are the best bargain. It’s also good to give them a set dollar amount to spend so that they can learn how to save money on things using coupons or buying things that are store brand instead of brand name items.
Cooking lessons can be done anytime you’re in the kitchen. Let your special needs child/teen/adult take part in measuring, mixing and stirring. Find kid friendly and visual recipes so that they can create their own culinary masterpieces with little or no help from you. Being able to cook is an important life skill and does not have to be perfect or over the top gourmet.
Being able to do laundry correctly may not seem like a big deal, but it can be when you run out of clean clothes. Even a three-year-old can be taught how to sort laundry, so bring your special needs son/daughter/teen/adult with you to the laundry room. Eventually, in time after repeated tasks and reading of temperatures on a variety of clothes and colors, your special needs child will be able to do their own laundry! Practice makes perfect.
Knowing how to keep a house clean is vital to fighting germs, dust and dirt.
Let your children do chores! Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming when they are old enough. Dusting can be done by smaller children. Keeping a house clean is valuable knowledge.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that homeschooling is only about books. Kids love getting involved with “grown up things.” Take advantage of that while they’re young because it doesn’t last long. Enjoy the journey and keep learning.
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Mandu Usoro is a lifestyle blogger, freelance writer, experienced homeschooler and US Army Veteran with a BS Degree in Social Work and AA Degrees in Psychology as well as Health Care Administration. She enjoys spending time with her family, advocating for her special needs son and writing for fun and inspiration. You can get in touch with her on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and at https://www.homeschoolspecneedstidbits.com/contact-us
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