One of the biggest gaps I see children growing up with today is the confidence and ability to perform practical life skills. Practical life skills are everyday skills needed for areas of our lives like home management, hygiene, safety, and even relationship skills.
For me personally, I didn't feel fully equipped going into my adulthood when it came to practical day-to-day seemingly small things. I had no clue how to clean a toilet or go grocery shopping for more than road trip snacks. I spent the better part of my early twenties eating food out because I was intimidated by the kitchen. When I finally started cooking I relied heavily on complicated recipes and spent entirely too much time and money on impractical meals. I literally had to call my dad to ask how to put air in a bike tire and was nervous going to the post office. I did, however, ace algebra tests and was an honor roll student at my public high school. I was "educated" in the world's standards, but really not ready for adulthood.
I am not saying it is the school's job to give us these skills. I believe it is the parents' job and so easily overlooked. I honestly feel we are doing our children and the world a disservice when we aren't intentional about these things in their childhood and neglect to send them out as resourceful, confident, problem-solving individuals.
A huge benefit to homeschooling for my husband and I is having the margin in our days to teach our children practical life skills. While many of these are taught somewhat organically throughout childhood and life, I decided early on that it was wise to be a bit more intentional about teaching them. Why not include them in our homeschool day? To me, they're just as important as learning fractions or the story of Abraham Lincoln.
When my older children were around age 4 & 5 we began "Morning Chores". You can read an old blog post about how we handled chores at that young age here. Along with daily chores, I try to include practical life skills intentionally throughout our days. I invite children to cook with me. I try to slow down and welcome my children to observe "adult" things I am doing like pumping gas and writing out my meal plan. I explain everything in detail and give them a chance to help.
Take this list and let it inspire you as a launching board. Check off what you think they already feel confident in. Add some of your own things that you wished you would've known going into adulthood. Ask your children what "adult things" they wish they understood or could do. Their answers may surprise you.
Decide how you want to be intentional, depending on your children's ages and abilities. Maybe you could tackle one or two at a time with your children until you feel they're confident. However your approach, let this encourage you to remember what education really is–it's giving our children the tools they need for a full, rich life, and that is more than the three R's.