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Skill Trek {review}

Tags: skill

Wrapping up this week of digital educational content is Skill Trek. I actually just learned about this a few weeks ago, but we’re already loving it. In case you’re wondering, I am an affiliate; I did not receive our membership free to review (although I did buy it on sale).

Skill Trek logo/header

Skill Trek is a pretty unique curriculum/concept. Its purpose is to teach children life skills. Now, that’s a pretty general statement, but the Skill coverage is fairly broad. We’re talking about everything from brushing teeth and tying shoes to taking care of babies, touch typing, and changing tires. There are currently over 500 skills (with more being regularly developed/added) spread over the following areas/categories: good character, financial literacy, gardening (includes other outdoor/lawn care), swimming/water, recreation, technology, recreation, holidays, emergency preparedness, health, child care, current events, outdoors, dressing, organization, manners/etiquette, crafts/dexterity, maintenance, hygiene, housekeeping, and cooking.

The exact, complete list of skills is proprietary, but I’ve been pretty impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Because we have children across a broad spectrum of ages, we’re seeing a broad spectrum of skills. I’m glad to see “legacy” skills like using a “real” (printed) encyclopedia — something I believe is important for preparedness, if nothing else, but is becoming a lost skill. Of course the various categories differ in concentration over the various age ranges. The little ones are working more on things like dressing and dexterity, but the older ones have more in categories like child care and maintenance.

But they do start fairly young and build up. The littlest ones, for instance, are learning about things like making toast and being safe around a baby. The older ones are then working on more advanced skills in similar areas — like cooking in a skillet, holding a baby, and changing a diaper.

2 Basic Options

There are two basic options. You can purchase seasonal packets that are downloadable all at once. This might be a simple, straighforward option if you have only one child (or a couple very close together in age). Or you can subscribe for a month, quarter, or year at a time to the website. This online option is more cost-effective if you have a larger family and, overall, it’s more fun, too.

How it Works

The curriculum is designed to cover from about pre-K up through, basically, high school. Internally, it’s divided into years, but on the front end, these are grouped into three levels: Trailblazers (roughly pre-K to age 8), Rockhoppers (roughly ages 8-12), and Cragsmen (roughly 13+). Each skill is assigned to an appropriate level, and if you have the membership, they show up on a sort of “rotation.”

You, as a parent, set up your child in the dashboard, choosing his starting level. His queue will auto-populate with 3 or 4 level-appropriate skills (3 for the younger kids, 4 for the older kids), which you can swap out if/as necessary. There are two other sections of the queue that you can pull from: bonus skills and legacy skills. Bonus skills are on-level. Legacy skills are lower-level skills he may have missed if you’re just starting out. (In other words, they’re an opportunity to “catch up.”)

Once an item is in his queue, the child has a chance to work on it. Each skill has an online card to read. These are almost always one page (not in tiny type or anything), so they’re quick to read. Some specialty skills — mostly holidays that have projects for multiple family members to work on together — are longer. And most skills also have a video to watch that talks about and/or demonstrates the skill.

Then the child is assigned to do something in particular to earn his “nugget” (like a digital badge). What this is depends on the task. It’s intended to show more-or-less mastery of the skill. Something like tying a shoe might only require doing it, to demonstrate the ability. Something like making one’s bed might require doing it daily for several weeks, to demonstrate the development of the habit. When Mom or Dad has determined that the nugget is properly earned, s/he can enter the passcode to enable the skill to be submitted. It’s preferable to upload a picture (which may be added to the overall site gallery, if you choose that option in your settings), but it isn’t essential. The child builds a nugget board that looks like this:

(We’re working through more skills than usual at the moment, because we’re playing “catch up” on skills the kids already pretty much have, but that I want on record.)

When a new time period rolls around, new skills will show up in the queue.

Do be aware that many of these skills are not things the kids can just learn on their own with the cards/videos. Some probably will be, but it really depends on the skill. Expect to spend some time working with your children to mentor them through many of the skills. My 15-year-old, for instance, can probably read/watch the information about social security numbers and not need any more help from me. It’s mostly knowledge/information. But she’s going to need some help learning to change a tire, and real hands-on time practicing that.

What We Think

Our younger three children already love this, especially Caleb. They get so excited about earning their nuggets! (It’s so funny how excited a child will get about earning a virtual sticker. But, hey, it makes them feel good and it makes my job easier!) Ariel is not super-excited about it, but that’s pretty much par for the course with her. I think she’ll get more excited about certain specific skills, but we haven’t hit on anything that really floats her boat yet.

I like that it’s systematic. Once you have a few kids, it gets to be hard to remember who knows what. You know you taught somebody that thing, but you can’t remember whom. Silly things can fall through the cracks, not because you didn’t care or couldn’t be bothered, but simply because you totally missed that that particular child never learned that one thing.

Skill Trek ensures we steadily work through everything with everybody, and only skip a skill if we consciously choose to. It’s a pretty reasonable price for a whole year of life skills for the whole family, in my opinion, and I like that I’m supporting another family’s business.

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Skill Trek {review} is a post from: Titus 2 Homemaker

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This post first appeared on Titus 2 Homemaker - Hope And Help For The Domestic, please read the originial post: here

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Skill Trek {review}


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