My daughter Vanessa is about to embark on her second year as an elementary school student. She'll be starting first grade next Monday and now that she has a better idea of all the awesome stuff she can learn while in school, she's super excited to see what's in store for her this year. And while I'm extremely happy about the education she's gotten so far at the neighborhood public school she attends, there are many things I don't expect for her to learn there. And so, I'm taking care of that at home. 

So here are 9 things I teach my kids at home that they won't learn in school:

  1. Spanish: Because I'm raising my children bilingual and their school is monolingual, it's totally up to mean to make sure they speak, read and write in Spanish.
  2. Manners: While schools are obviously good about teaching children to say thank you and please (which most kids already know by the time they go to school anyway), I'm taking care of the kind of manners I learned at home as a child: not interrupting when two people are talking, table manners
  3. Compassion: Learning to be competitive is a great skill every kids should learn, but learning to be compassionate is also important and, too often, children aren't taught about empathy. The best way to teach them is to lead by example. 
  4. Latin American and Latino history/literature: Again, because I'm raising bilingual and bicultural children, this is hugely important to me and I know they probably won't be exposed to Peruvian Puerto Rican or Latino history/culture/literature in general. 
  5. Religion: I was raised Catholic and while I don't go to church every single Sunday, I believe in God and in being good to others and I want to teach my kids the same.
  6. Listening skills: I know that children are obviously taught to listen to their teachers, but I'm not completely convinced that they're actually learning to really listen and not just to be quiet.
  7. Conversational skills: With kids communicating via text even if the person they're "talking" to is right next to them, it seems like the art of conversation is gone out the window. At home, we always have conversations around the dinner table and everyone gets to voice their opinion.
  8. Money: I'm actually no good when it comes to money, but that's because no one ever bothered to teach me. I plan for things to be different with my children and I'll be teaching them not only about saving, but also about basic stuff like opening up a bank account, writing a check, balancing a checkbook, etc.
  9. Happiness: Last, but not least, I want my children to learn to be happy. Happy with what they have and who they are because when all is said and done no material or personal achievements really matter if there's no happiness in your life.
What about you? What kind of things do you teach your kids at home that they won't learn in school? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below. 
About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor of MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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Thanks for this wonderful share of common sense parenting! Gracias:)
Poodles

Very good article.  As homeschoolers mama is it!  All life skills have had to come from us. 

Rosaidam
I'm right there with you on most of your list. I love how I teach my kids Spanish and about their heritage as they will not learn that in school as well as manners in every aspect.
Amiga...

Love this post everything sounds just right.

sophi...

Great post!  I do my best to teach my kids all of the above.  I hope that I am successful. 

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