Life Lessons and Intentional Parenting

I want to dedicate today’s Teaching Tuesday to the beautiful summer-like weather we have today! I want to talk a little about teaching without textbooks.


Today my older two boys spent a lot of their time (voluntarily) mowing and weed whacking our yard. My oldest daughter did some sewing. Four of the kids joined me for an expedition in the woods to hunt mushrooms.

Then we went to the store, each spending his or her Easter money on a Dollar Store item and a slushy.

So, what do I think my kids learned today?

First, and most importantly, that they are part of my world and I enjoy them. But beyond that? My sons are learning valuable skills in lawn maintenance, and learning that mowers break and need to be cared for. The oldest is starting to learn that gas cost money and mowers cost money to repair so mowing isn’t free.

We had some mini lessons in nature, largely discussing which plants we believe to be poison ivy. My boys seem to be highly allergic so identification is important around my place.

At the store they were learning to interact with store clerks, paying for their items themselves. At the grocery they were learning time management. “How much longer until we go back to the store? So how much milk do we need to buy to hold us over?” As well as space management. “There is no room in the freezer for a gallon of ice cream, but we could squeeze in a box of ice cream sandwiches.”

At the gas station they were learning self reliance, to pour their own slushies and how to clean up the mess instead of carrying a sloppy, sticky cup around. Again they had to pay for their own and interact with the cashier.

I could have made much larger, more elaborate lessons today. I could have had lessons in tree identification and many other outdoor lessons. I could have done a lot more with money lessons. And there are times I do. But there are times for small scale, impromptu lessons with your kids.

These lessons will not take the place of book learning. They don’t supersede learning the times tables or the lessons that history teach us. But there are so many opportunities to teach our children skills and lessons they will need to be successful adults, regardless of their future careers. Intentional parenting of the things that really matter in daily life.

What are some of the “non classroom” lessons your kids have learned today?