I really, really wanted to love this book. I thought that it was a great topic and that it was going to be super helpful. The beginning was great, but from about the middle of the book to the end, this book left something to be desired. Also, there is a decidely Christian bent to the material, but that does not distract from the premise that there are basic skills that your children need to have.
Chapter 1| Responsibility in the Small Things
This chapter could be a book in itself. It talks about why we should give chores to our children and that families should give chores to young children. There is a list included of age-appropriate chores for children ages 2-13+. There is a section on motivational techniques and how to deal with complaining, and the chapter ends with how to teach children to do a job well.
Chapter 2| People Skills
The first third of this chapter deals with how to behave with family members (eg. settling sibling disputes) and others (making and keeping friends). The second part deals with table manners and general etiquette. The final third of the chapter lists phone skills that children need: answering the phone, finding phone numbers, making local and long distance calls, and how to place a collect call.
Chapter 3| In the Home Skills
Shopping (consumer skills), cooking, laundry, and cleaning are all touched upon in this chapter.
Chapter 4| Life Navigation
This chapter begins with what personal information children should know and when they should share it with others. Transportation issues are addressed next: walking on the correct side of the road, bike safety, using public transportation, and giving directions. General first aid skills and computer safety are touched upon in the last half of the chapter.
Chapter 5| Time Organization
Understanding the sequence of time and prioritizing time make up this short chapter.
Chapter 6| Space Organization
Another short chapter on reducing the amount of things that your child has and taming clutter.
Chapter 7| Around the House Skills
This is another short chapter that talks about the home maintenance skills that one needs and what tools a toolbox should contain. There is also a quick overview of outside chores (eg. raking) and gardening skills.
Chapter 8| Money, Money, Money
This was a good chapter that talked about everything that children should know before leaving the house. Small children should be taught to identify money and then when they can understand the role money plays in our lives they should be given an allowance (around age 5 according to the author). Older children should become familiar with wages, checking and savings accounts, and investing. Budgeting, understanding insurance, and buying/establishing credit are topics for the even older child. Finally, there are a few thoughts about teaching the value of giving back to others.
Chapter 9| Healthy Habits
The main topics are establishing hygeine habits, choosing good nutrition, and building self-esteem.
Chapter 10| Your Mind’s Life
Organizing study time and space and exploring possible careers with your child are the main points in this short chapter.
Chapter 11| Spiritual Habits
Not worth reviewing. This chapter only talks to Christians and if you are spiritual, then you probably already know what you wish your children to know.
Chapter 12| Decision making
Gives some ideas on how to allow children of all ages to make decisions.
Chapter 13| Creativity
A few ideas on how to nurture creativity in our children.
Chapter 14| Celebration Skills
My thought when perusing this chapter – “Was this even necessary??” Maybe the author did not want to end with thirteen chapters.
Overall: There were some good parts to this book. The first two chapters alone could have been enough material for a good book. Unfortunately, the author tried to go a bit too broad in my opinion.
Glaring Omission: Fire safety!
Should I read it? Yes, especially if you have younger children. There are some good ideas in this book that are worth thinking about.
Should I buy it? Probably not. If your library has this book, then check it out from there. For me, I would only look at this book maybe once or twice a year. You could easily make yourself a list of skills that you would like to tackle for the upcoming year and then not look at the book for another year.