I met Dr. Norm Whan, the author of How to Change a Tire …and 132 Other Basic Life Skills I Should Teach My Kids Before They Leave Home at a homeschool conference in California. His booth was full of interesting and practical things — everything from tools and baking supplies to electrical sockets and more — what were they all for? And what was this intriguing book he was offering?
Dr. Norm explained that during the years when his children were growing up, he’d been too busy to let them learn alongside him. He says that his kids “got the fuzzy end of the sucker” when it came to learning some of the basic life skills, but like most of us, he could have done better if he’d had a plan or system and some organized checklists to work with. Because he’s a doer, not just a thinker, he wrote this book — How to Change a Tire — in order to help other parents do a better job.
What this book is not
- A how-to book that tells you how to do everything (that’s what the library and YouTube are for);
- A book just to read and set aside.
What this book is
- A practical outline of common, everyday basic skills that are needed to become a competent, independent adult;
- A learning journal for all of the non-academic skills that don’t make usually make it into school schedules;
- A good-humored, helpful companion as you prepare your students for life.
How to use the book
- Choose a life skill activity — anything from sewing on a button to performing the Heimlich maneuver or replacing a light switch.
- Select a child of appropriate age and invite that child to watch and assist you.
- As you work, talk! Dr. Norm says to “Tell them stories of how you learned to do what you’re doing, who taught you, where the recipe came from, and what the house smelled like when grandma made that special holiday meal. Make sure they get to pound some nails, change the vacuum cleaner bag, mix the cake batter . . . make real sure they get to lick the spoon.”
How to Change a Tire is a simple reminder that practical skills are important. It will help you teach what you need to teach and record it when you do. Your children will thank you (and you’ll thank Dr. Norm for creating this delightful resource).