Life Skills – Going Beyond the Core Subjects

The resources on this page go beyond traditional school subjects and into areas of emotional intelligence, social responsibility, and other life skills. It’s hard to overstate the value of “soft skills” like curiosity, grit, empathy, communication, and having a growth mindset. As Dostoyevsky wrote, “It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” Fortunately, there are some excellent materials available to encourage and guide the development of life skills. The list below includes a variety of topics, so go ahead and scan through to find what might be helpful!  

Earn Your Future is designed to teach financial literacy to kids in grades 3-12. The modules are self-paced and include videos and activities. Free.  

Be Internet Awesome is a program designed by Google to help kids be safe, smart, and responsible while using the internet. It also teaches that “It’s cool to be kind” (avoid online bullying) and “When in doubt, talk it out” (talk to a trusted adult). The lesson plans are easy to download, and there is also an online game called Interland that allows kids to practice what they learn. Free.

This is an incredible resource for learning to code, starting with pre-readers, all the way through high school. You can select a course of study and the site will track your progress. Activities mix in Minecraft themes, games, and short video lessons. Free.  

Wild + Free is a homeschooling community, which seeks to help kids “experience the adventure, freedom, and wonder of childhood” along with their other studies. It costs $19.00/month to officially join, and membership includes access to monthly “content bundles” (theme-based online magazines), downloadables, and many other perks. But even without joining, it is free to find a local Wild + Free group and participate in meetups and discussion groups. Conferences and podcasts are also available. Free meetup groups.  

Big Life Journal offers products and printables (for a cost) to help teach kids about the “growth mindset” and other aspects of emotional intelligence. The associated Growth Mindset Blog contains dozens of posts on topics like grit and resilience, creativity, kindness, and confidence. Free blog and weekly printable; products and activity kits available for purchase.  

My Plate is the current dietary guidance from the US government. For those interested in nutrition education, this site offers tons of tips and information for parents, with activities, videos, and challenges for kids. There is even a section specifically for preschoolers. Free.  

Cosmic Kids is an amazing resource for teaching kids yoga and mindfulness. Teacher Jaime guides kids through yoga exercises in the context of fun stories and themes, like Pokemon and Frozen and Star Wars. The easiest way to watch the videos is on the YouTube channel. Free on YouTube, mobile app available for purchase.  

Global Village School is a home school program with a goal to “integrate peace, justice, and diversity studies with the core subjects.” While they do produce curricula and provide educational staff and certification (for a cost), their daily Facebook posts offer interesting articles and activity ideas that can enrich anyone’s course of study. Free posts.  

Greater Good online magazine contains articles and activities about the science of happiness, and the key contributors to happiness, such as compassion, gratitude, and mindfulness. Two “Gratitude Curricula” are also available, along with videos, podcasts, and book lists. Free.  

Overcoming Obstacles is a nonprofit whose “mission is to ensure that all young people learn the communication, decision making, and goal setting skills they need to be successful in life.” Effective, easy-to-follow curriculum for different ages, with lessons on topics like Teamwork, Conflict Resolution, Time Management, and many more. Free.  

Sesame Street’s favorite characters teach about emotions, self-care, development, finances, and more, through videos, games, and activities. Free.  

Trip Clip is a super easy way to make lists and charts…for just about anything: Homeschool daily schedule, chores, morning routines, groceries, packing, etc. Each item (and there are hundreds of options) comes with a cute little picture, and you just drag and drop items into your list and print! For young kids and visual learners, these lists can help add structure and a sense of accomplishment to the day. Plus, it’s fun to make the lists! Other printables (mazes, puzzles, etc.) and educational activities are also available on this site. $4.95 for limited access, or $14.95 for unlimited lifetime access.  

Tinkergarten offers outdoor “learning through play” classes, which are paid (price depends on location), but their website includes tons of free DIY activities for children and toddlers. Weekly emails also provide activity ideas and articles about child development and learning. Free activities.

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