Teaching children the things they don’t learn in school

I had a good rant recently about a letter I received from my son’s school because I was taking him out of school for one day.

The letter implied that I was compromising my son’s education and that I should think twice about making such a heinous decision again.
Many, many people commented that children’s education doesn’t start and end in the classroom.
And they’re right.

We as parents have a duty of care to teach long after the school bell has rung. Not just the usual literacy and numeracy, reading and homework.
I’m talking about life lessons; lessons that will stand them in good stead for the life ahead of them. Lessons you can’t teach within the four walls of a classroom. Lessons you can’t teach from a text book.
I’m talking about the things they learn from listening to you, from being in your company, from being with you and from taking your example.

Things like:

Sure they learn about making friends and breaking friends at school and the dynamics of groups and cliques and falling out and making up.
But what about compassion, understanding, tolerance and generosity?
What about teaching them how making friends and how genuinely helping others will reap them great rewards in life and how so much better it is to try to understand others rather than criticise.

You need to earn more than you spend. A very simple premise but that seems to have been lost on many adults.
My son has pocket money and has to save up for anything he wants to buy. It has actually taught him to stop and think and often that thing he wants so BAAAADLY and can’t WAAAAIT to buy, when he actually has enough money to buy it, he’s changed his mind.
I also like to involve my children when we donate to charity (the Haiti appeal was perfect for this because they saw how people can mobilise to help in the wake of a tragedy and how people can make a difference.)

A love of reading
Sure they read at school, but don’t they make it boooring?
It doesn’t matter what they read – Lego instruction sheets, old classics, comics, or as in my 7 year olds case the Captain Underpants series of books.
Just get them reading and discovering things, things which interest them and which will get them asking for more.
My son has a Guinness Book of World Records which he sits up in bed reading most nights . . . “You will never believe this one mummy . . . ”

A love of life
Life can be tough some times. Really really tough. But you need to at least try to make the best of it.
Strive to be better, to find the good in people, to see that the glass is half full.
I’m pretty sure that growing up this with sort of mantra is going to make adulthood a whole lot more pleasant.

There is SO MUCH to learn
The world is a huge huge place. The world is a fascinating place.
From the way plants grow, to air flight, the human body, numbers, different cultures, history – and the best way to learn it is to live it.

Obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg. And you don’t need to have children to recognise these things. We’ve all been youngsters, we’ve all learnt something from someone.
Personally, one of my biggest influencers was my beloved grandma who taught me many many things while we stood side by side baking or cleaning carrots or making crisps (I used to think she was SO cool because she could make crisps!)

So, what say you? What would you add to the list?

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