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What Children Need to be Successful

by Kelly Crawford

Let Your Kids Watch Lifehacks

Don’t we all just want to know what children need to be successful and worry that it’s all up to us?

I was complaining to my kids about how many “life hack” videos they’ve watched this summer, even though there are worse things they could watch. Hours later, my younger daughter showed me a (homemade, pop-up) birthday card she was sending her friend, the envelope of which had lost its stickiness.

She had sealed it with a melted crayon and stamped it with a quarter. “Problem solved,” she said, satisfied.

She had learned it in one of her videos, of course.

I had just finished watching this clever video, School vs. Teacher, where Prince Ea argues that it’s no longer stores of knowledge children need to be successful in this ever-changing world, but rather creativity and innovation–those are the qualities that will be most sought-after and beneficial. (Disclaimer: no, I don’t embrace all that Prince Ea does.)

And while sealing an envelope is small potatoes, it gave me some confidence about an important trait we all need that I’m thankful my children seem to be learning: simple problem-solving skills and the innovation to find solutions and carry them out.

Our Homeschool Focus

As I prepare to homeschool for our 19th year, I always try to silence the sirens of “the best curriculum” and focus on the main things. Every time I research about “most important skills for success” I usually find a similar list. I’m taking this list I found from (wouldn’t you know it) LifeHack.org and focusing my planning efforts around it. Of course this list is brief, and doesn’t include far more important needs like spiritual life, family stability, etc…it’s a basic outline for educational direction:

  1. Public Speaking
  2. Writing
  3. Self-Management
  4. Net Working
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Decision-Making
  7. Math
  8. Research
  9. Relaxation
  10. Basic Accounting

Homeschooling, for us, is not about tests and the accumulation of information (that’s what Google and Siri are for). It’s about a whole-life integration which attempts to prepare our children to be able to have stable relationships, make wise choices, and be innovative and creative as they seek to use their gifts and interests to the glory of God. That’s basically it.

For more on my philosophy of education, browse my other homeschooling articles.

Let me know what your goals are and how your family seeks to accomplish them!



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Jenn August 9, 2019 - 1:34 pm

Great points! This year I feel like the rubber is meeting the road. Our oldest is turning 17 and started a program at the Jr. College. We have not bought into all of the curriculum mania, but have tried to instill work ethic, spiritual growth and common sense. He did great on his testing for entrance to the program! We have done little to no testing in our homeschool. It was such a relief that this way of education really does work!

Caroline August 9, 2019 - 9:03 pm

As a veteran public school teacher and the mother of a young adult public schooled child, I appreciate your emphasis on creativity, work ethic, and thinking in your homeschool curriculum. I knew as a teacher working with lots of kids who don’t have the benefit of parents who take the time to talk and teach their children what lots of children are missing out on. I knew that my husband and I would be supplementing a lot of our child’s education. We read constantly with her and in her presence, we talked a lot about all topics using appropriate language and vocabulary that would stretch her understanding, we provided lots of materials and time for being creative (and she was always an excellent artist), we provided opportunities for extra music education and athletic activities outside of school, and we traveled as frequently as we were able to other countries in order to use the languages she was learning, and expected her to work at a job and save her money. Most importantly we gave her ourselves completely and remain a cohesive family unit. We had virtually no typical teen age bad behavior and she recently graduated cum laude from a competitive women’s college. She’s on her way to a graduate program in a nearby city and excited for that new challenge. There is so much work involved in raising children to be competent adults (as you know), and it saddens me when parents take raising children for granted or are not able to give it their all.

Kelly Crawford August 17, 2019 - 10:36 am


You sound like an amazing mom! And yes, so much work, worth every effort.

Caroline August 18, 2019 - 8:26 pm

Thanks for the compliment. You know better than I ever will about all the possible challenges raising children can present. For reasons beyond our control my husband and I were only able to have one child. My friends with more children always teased us about how easy one is.
I’m sure they are right about that, but we treasured every moment from the moment we knew we were expecting and look forward to seeing what the next part of all of our lives brings. I greatly admire everyone who manages to do a good job raising a large family. Sorry for the kind of bragging tone of my first post. That definitely happens more often (to me anyway!) when you’re a parent of one.

6 arrows August 14, 2019 - 3:32 pm

My goal is to not hold onto my plans too tightly. Family life changes over the years, and different seasons of life with the growing children and the aging parents 😉 find us all learning new lessons along the journey.

Best way to accomplish that? Pray for wisdom to recognize when curriculum or lifestyle approaches are needing change or more flexibility. Pray for discernment between God’s will and what might simply be our own ideas getting in the way of what He wants for us in the short term and the long term.

D. August 24, 2019 - 12:57 am

I need to read this post mostly every day as our homeschooling year starts soon. I have always felt that dealing with our kid’s character is far more important than book smarts. I admit that education was never my strong point and I do wonder if sometimes I’m gypping them of going deeper in learning in order to avoid more conflict and bad attitudes. Reading, writing (spelling), math are non-negotiable, but I find myself feeling intimidated when meeting other moms that have such a rigorous schedule for their kids and such lofty goals. My goal is to get through one day at at time and pray that something good came from it!

How do you instill creativity and being innovative if it just appears your kids don’t seem interested in that at all? Sometimes I feel that homeschooling our kids has kept them from a desire to try new things and instead brought about boredom if the day isn’t packed with a scheduled activity. We don’t have outdoor space for them to create or explore anything and indoor storage and space is also quite limited. I sense their hearts have remained more tender in having them home, but their ability to problem solve and think outside the box seems stunted. How can I, as their mother, encourage that without forcing it. Maybe I am the obstacle!!!


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