Teaching My Kids a Trade

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If you follow me on social media, you know I occasionally share pictures of my kids working on their own pieces (yes, I’m one proud mama). Today, I want to take a minute to showcase their work for you because I believe that learning a trade is just as important as book learning.  I am so absolutely blessed to have my kids with me at home, they are my sidekicks, my apprentices, and my biggest fans.

Of all of my 6 kids, the oldest four are the ones that have worked on items to sell in my shop. All the purchasing of worn out projects is their responsibility, and almost all of the labor involved in recreating that find is theirs too. It’s hard to not jump in and “take over” at times, but they won’t learn if I do!

Take a look at the fruits of their labor. My oldest has done the most makeovers up to this point, with one of his latest being this grain sack coffee table.

Create a Faux French Grain Sack Table with Tape and Paint - Let a teenager show you how! by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

We were all so excited for him when it sold in less than an hour of listing it in my shop. It’s fun to work alongside and teach them the skills of earning a living. My hope is that they are learning to appreciate the value of a dollar and that hard work pays off, amongst other things.

My oldest three have worked alongside each other most of the time. When I receive a piece of furniture for free, I take turns giving it to them so they can work on it. Here is a table I found on Craigslist free section and gave to my daughter:

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

It was in great shape with wear to the top, and just needing a color change. My son found this Broyhill nightstand at a thrift store and purchased it himself to be his project piece.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

They have fun working together, and my yet-to-be-remodeled living room is the catch-all for all our projects.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Here’s how they turned out…

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

My daughter’s table was purchase by another blogger, Kari at Hamra Time and used in her nursery. How cute is that and how fun for my daughter?

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

My son’s table was purchased locally, and I think he created a striking piece, don’t you?

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

I’m just amazed at God’s goodness in all of this because they are learning life skills, while achieving their book learning too (aka. homeschooling). All of the family helps out, including my parents who are wonderful about bringing them smaller items to work on. Even my youngest ones take thrifted picture frames and paint them to create gallery collections or chalkboards, or a silver platter painted with chalkboard paint to create fun and functional decor.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Here are some of their other pieces from past makeovers:

My daughter did this vintage Thomasville bamboo style nightstand all by herself.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

My son’s projects have been shipped all over the world, with his latest to Greece. How’s that for a geography lesson? Here are some of his past pieces that he does all by himself, with a little guidance from me.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesTeaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesTeaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Here recently my two oldest daughters decided to have a painting day and work on their pieces. The younger girl bought this vintage Art Deco nightstand at a thrift store and my mother gave us the table the older girl was working on.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesTeaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

They had fun painting together, again, in my project space living room (I’m aching to make that room over!! coming soon…)

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

All my kids love to watch each other work, and I know the littles are taking notes. ♥

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

The results of their labor are beautiful, and I’m one proud mama to have these new arrivals available for purchase in my shop.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

My son found this “as-is” table at the thrift store that had a busted up top.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

He removed that top and replaced it with a wood round found at local DIY store.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

His goal was to create another industrial style surface and using his projector, he added a fun Route 66 logo to the top.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Doesn’t this piece rock?? I love it and would keep it for my own if he didn’t want the money. hee hee.

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

You can find it available in my shop too. I make sure all the projects they do are in excellent condition and none head out the door without mama’s stamp of approval.

I hope you had fun during my bragging session sharing what my kids do. Really though, they work hard and I couldn’t help but showcase their prodigal pieces. I’m happy they are not stuck behind a screen and are learning lessons they will be able to use their whole life long.

We’d love it if you would pin and share to inspire others too!

Teaching my kids a trade - a long-lasting lesson in life skills by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Here are more fun projects for you to enjoy:

Outdated 1980's Dining Set Gets Farmhouse Makeover by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesDIY Sensory Fun Sand Table by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

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36 Comments

  • GWEN

    simply amazing! i am inspired to use my overhead projector for my window art after seeing the route 66 table – thanks!

    July 27, 2015 at 8:26 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Gwen. Yes, those projectors have endless uses and we love to make storybook movies on a bedsheet around here with ours. 🙂

      July 27, 2015 at 8:51 am Reply
  • Debrashoppeno5

    They take after Mom . They’re very talented. Even if they don’t follow in your footsteps, learning this craft gives the kids so many important lifeskills.

    July 27, 2015 at 8:48 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Debra. They may stick with it, but for me it’s all about learning out to make it in this crazy world. They are so fun to work with, what an empty nest it will be! 🙂

      July 27, 2015 at 8:52 am Reply
  • kim

    I am so impressed! What a talented bunch you have and you are right – they are learning some important skills and they will always have a way to support themselves. What a fun household you have.

    July 27, 2015 at 9:17 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Fun and busy for sure! Thank you, Kim. They work hard to make good pieces. 🙂

      July 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm Reply
  • Hope Williams

    Wow Larissa, your kids do a better job than some adults I’ve seen! No kidding. I was in a shop where everything was absolutely white and very heavily distressed. It was horrible workmanship too.
    You are the very definition of parenting! You should be proud of and for your kiddos! Great life lessons mom!
    Kids; you have all done INCREDIBLE work!
    Blessings to all, Hope

    July 27, 2015 at 9:17 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Ha! They try hard and know that I’m picky. 😉 I’m just trying to leave a legacy of kids who appreciate life.

      July 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm Reply
  • MJ

    Makes me wish could do motherhood over again! My kids turned out well, but we would have had a good time together. I’ve done furniture on and off since 1965………You kids chose their mother well…LOL

    July 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Good for you! I’m trying to treasure these days and make the most of our times together. Yes, the chose me…hee hee hee.

      July 27, 2015 at 2:57 pm Reply
  • Keri

    Wow!!! Every single one of the pieces your kids worked on are fantastic!!!

    July 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you! They are such awesome kids and I’m just over-the-moon excited they enjoy working with me. 🙂

      July 27, 2015 at 2:57 pm Reply
  • Pili

    You can be really a proud mom!! It is great to homeschool and spend time with them, and also let them learn and experiment with things they like. I love all they do, they are talented!!

    July 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much! Yes, what a blessing homeschooling is – to be able to be with my kids and learn while they learn.

      July 28, 2015 at 6:50 am Reply
  • Christine

    Your Dad and I just looked at your blog together. Almost lead us to tears…… can’t even find the right words to tell you how proud we are of you and your family. The projects turned out beautifully. You are truly an amazing mother, daughter, wife, and sister. We know how hard you all work and hopefully inspire others to put down their devices and remotes. We constantly remind ourselves how very blessed we are to be your parents. We would have expected nothing less from you. You know that. By the way, I wish I would have bought that night stand the lady bought for her baby’s room. Also, I so enjoy finding things when I am out and about and watch them turn into fabulous pieces.

    July 27, 2015 at 8:34 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You know you’re a blessing – love you! {{hugs}}

      July 30, 2015 at 7:16 am Reply
  • Laurie @ Vin'yet Etc.

    What a wonderful gift you are passing to your highly creative children, I love that they are so into it and the little ones are watching. The whole family is on the same creative page and it’s so wonderful to see, wonderful to see none of your kids has their faces stuck in an electronic device. Excellent job, Mama Bear! xo

    July 29, 2015 at 6:59 am Reply
    • Larissa

      A blessing for sure. Thank you for stopping by, Laurie!

      July 29, 2015 at 9:40 am Reply
  • heather

    Incredible! What a wonderful skill you are sharing. It’s so great you are doing this with them. Love the Rt. 66 table…tell him it’s awesome!!!

    July 29, 2015 at 8:47 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m tickled they’re interested and know this will all pay of off for all of us. I told him and he’s stoked you like it (I’ve shown him your blog too.) 😀

      July 29, 2015 at 9:39 am Reply
  • Nikki Wills

    That’s awesome! They’re doing a fabulous job, having an enriching, educational experience, AND connecting with you. Perfect in every way.

    July 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Nikki! Yes, they are so fun to work with, and it’s fun to share. 🙂

      July 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm Reply
  • Jeanette

    Larissa, I enjoyed this post so much. It would be an amazing world if other parents got their children involved with their work skills, whatever they might be. Thank you for inspiring others.

    July 31, 2015 at 3:29 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      So happy to hear it, Jeanette. Yes, a different world for sure…if only! My kids are my treasures and like I tell them, I’ve never been a parent before (as we enter each stage)…be patient with me! 🙂

      August 2, 2015 at 5:31 am Reply
  • Marie@The Interior Frugalista

    Your kids have some serious talent! The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree 🙂 Kudos to them – it must feel so rewarding when their pieces sell.

    August 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Very rewarding indeed. They are such a blessing!

      August 6, 2015 at 4:28 am Reply
  • Tone

    That is truly amazing! They have an amazing talent! And that is really something to take whit them later in life!
    This really inspired me to try letting my kids at 5 and 8 to paint with me. My oldest daughter wants to help every time, and I allways say no, How stupid do I feel now! And she is extremely talented and good with her hands! Thank you for showing me this! I`ll be sure to let my kids in on the fun!

    September 17, 2015 at 3:02 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Tone. Working with your kids is so rewarding (and teaches us both patience – hee hee), and they feel so awesome about themselves when they see the fruit of their labor. I hope you have fun!

      September 17, 2015 at 9:04 am Reply
  • Diane

    Larissa, you must be so proud of your kids…not only are you teaching them skills they can use when they are older but you are teaching them to be independent entrepreneurs and also about looking at things in a different light and using their imaginations! Its a sad fact today that children are taught not to use their ingenuity but also not to use their imaginations! Its great to see kids doing what kids should be doing instead of on their mobile phones and computers all day! Well done kids and well done mum! xxx

    November 13, 2015 at 9:18 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Diane. It is sad that kids today are being limited, and I am hoping to teach my gang some useful skills while having fun too. Hopefully some of it will stick! 🙂

      November 15, 2015 at 5:49 am Reply
  • Suzanne

    I can’t tell you how enriching this is to your chilfren’s education. Skills like these are in high demand and acquiring them early only enhances how they will continue to learn during their lives. You do home schooling extremely well and should pat yourself on the back. Your children do pro work am I’m very happy that you posted them. Looking forward to more.

    February 13, 2016 at 11:19 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you for your kind words, Suzanne. I try to do my best, and can only hope they will be blessed by it. I know I am. 😀

      February 14, 2016 at 6:14 am Reply
  • Parri

    The apples didn’t fall far from the tree! So much talent in one family…Pat yourself on the back and the kids too!

    February 13, 2016 at 10:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      They are such a blessing, Parri. Thank you!

      February 14, 2016 at 6:13 am Reply
  • Vanessa Prohaska

    Lovely. What a blessing ♡.

    February 14, 2016 at 3:01 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Vanessa! 🙂

      February 14, 2016 at 6:13 am Reply

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