Our Extra “Curriculum”


Boys in the woodsMy husband and I are working full time from home while our eight and five-year-old boys invent new ways to annoy each other. Learning their letters, checking in with their (amazing!) teachers and reading were only getting us so far. They needed some extra curriculum to teach them better life skills.

Extra Curriculum: Life Skills

Cleaning Bathroom
Cleaning the bathroom is part of their new curriculum.

Home Ec

I know, I know, it’s not called that anymore but it was when I took it. Measuring milk for their (almost) daily macaroni and cheese lunch, washing dishes, folding a little laundry and my favorite, cleaning toilets are now things they can manage much better. Do they whine every time, especially with the toilet cleaning? Yes. But, if they don’t do it, they don’t get to play Minecraft.

Survival Skills

My husband came back from Lowe’s with a small hatchet. I thought this was odd but whatever. This is an odd time. He explained there were some small bushes in the back yard that needed to be cut down and it was going to be our eight-year-old’s job to do it. I was doing pig chores at his age so I was on board with adding a little hard work to this city kid’s life.

Boy chopping log
He could spend hours chopping random stuff in the woods.

Our son took this to another level. He’d watched a few “Naked and Afraid” episodes (I know, stellar parenting right there) and decided he needed “survival skills.” He took a bunch of the sticks he chopped down and built some kind of weird shelter. It kept him busy and he didn’t get hurt. I call that a win.

Urban Exploring

My friends and I used to bike all over our small town completely on our own. Since our kids can’t do that, we take them to an area of town that has a lot of trees and brush. Then, they climb all over and think it’s the greatest thing ever while we sit on a picnic blanket and have a beer.


Fire pit
The fire pit project they’re working on.


We decided to move our fire pit to a more logical place in the yard. Here’s some buckets, kids, start carrying rocks. After a lot of grumbling, they did manage to relocate and start to rebuild the fire pit. They’ve also been stellar at picking daffodils every day. And, on occasion, I tell them, “just go outside and find me something living.” I like to call this science and I typically get worms in return.


Our half-renovated porch where my sons and husband now play their daily video games.

College Prep

We’ve really excelled in this category. Our kids have pop, candy, and chips while they play Super Smash Brothers. In fact, they (along with my husband) told me, “This is our dorm room. You should leave.” Believe me, I did. It was starting to smell like boy.



Feeling a little inadequate or overwhelmed these days? Just remember: we drank Ecto Coolers like water, rode bikes without helmets, perfected the Macarena, had a Lip Smacker for every day of the week and thought trapper keepers were cool. We turned out fine and our kids will, too, even if our “curriculum” is a little creative right now. Hang in there, mammas!

What “extra” curriculum are you teaching your kids?



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