A huge advantage of homeschool is teaching essential life skills alongside basic subjects. Many of these skills are really just part of parenting. They give kids great background experiences to reference through early adulthood and beyond.
How many of these skills have you already taught or you would like to add to your homeschool toolbox? Is your child ready for some but not quite mature enough for others? Grab the checklist at the end of the post for a quick printable to put in your homeschool notebook!
1- Time Management
Knowing how to manage time to complete goals helps reduce stress levels. It’s an important skill for college and beyond. It also helps teach the rewards of leveraging time effectively in order to have more time for other interests and activities.
Teaching the skill of budgeting is the foundation for good financial habits. Today’s technology makes this easier by using apps or free online tools, but a piece of paper works too! Students need to know from a young age that they can’t spend more than they earn without consequences.
3- Small repairs
Some simple small repairs can prevent bigger, expensive problems. A nagging problem can be fixed in a few minutes by tightening a bolt or replacing a battery. DIY solutions are great projects for the whole family.
Teaching mindfulness requires a lot of patience and takes some kids longer than others to grasp. It’s about slowing down and being aware of what’s important and not important at any given time. It’s about staying calm and focusing on what is within your control rather than what you cannot.
5- First Aid
First Aid skills can prepare your kids to act quickly and calmly during emergency situations. They can also be a foundation that inspires future careers in emergency response or medical fields.
This is a bonus life skill that improves your home landscape or helps bring home grown food from the garden to the table. Horticulture could also focus on identifying flowers, plants and trees and how different soils and landscapes support the plant’s growth.
7- Pet Care
Teaching your child to take care of pets helps students to learn responsibility from a young age. They understand that the pets depend on their care and strengthen bonds with these special furry friends.
Learning appropriate and healthy shopping patterns can help kids understand and practice proper spending habits that will carry over to their adult years.
9- Resume Writing
Resume writing is a skill needed through most of life. When your kids are attempting to get a job, they will need a strong resume and later on in their career they will need to recognize a good resume when they see one.
10- Making appointments
Scheduling and calling for appointments seems like a simple skill, but when kids don’t practice this skill for themselves, they can develop social anxiety and struggle with something they will need to do throughout their lives. Although a lot of appointments can now be made online, there are still valuable steps to learn with making (and keeping) an appointment.
Many kids don’t learn about investing and saving money, but it is an important part of personal finance education. Being able to really teach your kids this skill personally can set them up for success in the future.
Teaching your kids the importance of nutrition and how to read nutrition labels helps them to understand what they are putting in their body and how to make better choices for their health.
It’s so important for kids to learn how self-care contributes to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
If your kids learn the habit of cleanliness at a young age it can carry throughout their whole life. Keeping a clean space is important for mental health and setting the tone for a positive learning environment.
15- Basic construction
Basic construction skills could give young people a greater understanding of framing, measuring, and planning. Students interested in construction as a career could also explore this skill even further with the process of permits, codes and preparation of a site for a construction project. Younger students could participate in a Home Depot Kid’s workshop or construct models and discuss the process.
It’s great idea to start a savings account for your kids at a young age and start teaching them about banking and all of their options. You could also let them help with some parts of mobile banking as that is likely how they will manage finances as young adults.
17- Cyber safety
Young students today are growing up in a new age of technology and need to understand the risks of the online world and how to navigate it safely. There are plenty of free cyber safety courses on the Internet as well as Google’s free Be Internet Awesome curriculum.
18- Meal Planning
Meal planning teaches kids discipline of preparation and also helps them to cook and eat at home more often than having expensive takeout. Just bringing your kids in on the process of cooking and meal prep can help teach them so much about this.
Spring cleaning! Or any season of cleaning for that matter! Teaching your kids to declutter their closets, pantries, drawers, etc. on a regular basis is such an important life lesson and habit. Decluttering has the added benefits of saving time and reducing anxiety.
20- Emergency Preparedness
Having a plan for emergency situations is always needed and making sure your kids understand that plan and this concept is imperative and a skill they will carry with them their whole life in emergency situations.
It’s important for students to know that there was a time before online shopping or convenience retail on every corner and people had to be much more self-sufficient. Any aspects of homesteading- food preservation, crafting, natural medicine- are good skills to learn and practice.
22- Community Service
Getting involved with your community can help teach your kids the importance of giving back. This can be as simple as taking your students to attend and help out with clean up days around the community.
If you prefer to do your own taxes, its an awesome skill to teach your teenagers for when they are older. If you don’t do your own, its still a great idea to add learning about taxes and the what, why, how, etc. of the process.
24- Digital footprint
When growing up in the age of social media, it is so important for kids to understand the long term effects of their digital footprint and life on social media. Sitting down and having conversations with your kids about this can save a lot of future headaches.
25- Respect for Elders
Teaching your kids about the respect they should have for the generations ahead of them is a great thing that you can personally focus on much more when homeschooling. Grandparents and other senior citizens have great ideas, wisdom and solutions to share that give us a different perspective.
26- Self-regulation (destress)
Healthy practices for managing stress are so important for people of all ages. Teaching your kids to destress in healthy ways, like exercise, talking to a friend or writing, etc. will help your kid for the rest of their life. Kids can learn strategies at a young age, such as taking deep breaths or repeating a mantra, that they will carry with them through stressful situations.
27- Anger Management
Spending more time to teach your children about anger management and the ways to take care of themselves mentally is a great perk of homeschooling. Having a better focus on lessons like this will make them more self aware and emotionally developed.
28- Making Friends
Making friends and specifically good friends can be tricky for all kids. Getting involved in the community, clubs and homeschool groups can help your kids to develop better social skills.
29- Basic car maintenance
Adding basic car maintenance skills to your basic curriculum is an awesome idea. When your kids have their own cars you want them to be able to change a tire or understand the importance of getting regular oil changes.
30- Reusing and recycling
Teaching kids to do their part when it comes to taking care of the environment is such an important lesson for kids. These skills can not only help the environment but also your kid’s carbon footprint.
Keyboarding is a basic skill many teenagers need to learn but never fully grasp in public school. Spending a little longer on this topic can help students with this beneficial hard skill that many employers look for.
Healthy debate teaches critical thinking, reasoning and how to organize thoughts in a way that’s not just arguing. This is a great skill to develop and strengthen, especially for students interested in law or politics.
33- Coping skills
Everyone has to learn healthy coping skills whether you’re coping with stress, grief or any other issue. Helping your kids adapt healthy coping skills will be amazing for their mental health for years to come.
34- Goal setting
Not only setting goals for your young kids, but helping them to learn to se etheir own goals and understand what they really want in life is such an amazing thing to help your child develop in firsthand.
35- Good citizenship
Teaching your child the importance of voting and giving back to the community is something you can show by example. It’s great to let them in on the processes and civic duties they can hold when they are older.
36- Outdoor survival skills
Many schools only offer skills like this when taken in a specified course. Adding basic skills like building a fire or purifying water is great to add into your everyday learning.
37- Wood working
Knowing some basics of woodworking can save some time and money down the road. You also might have some fun with DIY wood projects!
Laundry is a task some kids don’t worry about until college. By teaching them when they are younger kids can learn a routine for keeping their own clothes clean.
Kids can learn entrepreneurial skills, how to be more independent, how to think for themselves, etc. in homeschool settings.
Entrepreneurship is very much a viable career choice if kids understand the principles of how to market and profit from a great idea. They just have to also be prepared to change their plans and learn another lesson of entrepreneurship… fail until you succeed!
Note taking is an important skill to do well and learn well before entering college. Kids can learn shorthand as a lesson in homeschool. They can also explore apps and other formats of digital note-taking.
Teaching your students good hygiene at home as a part of their daily life and lessons can start young with brushing their teeth, baths, etc. all the way to the teenage years when they learn how adding routines positively impacts health.
42- Yard care
Yard care is a great chance to learn the pay off of hard work and can be a time of bonding for the whole family. You can use this time to teach the importance of teamwork also.
43- Common courtesy
Common courtesy goes beyond good manners and it goes a long way in relationships. It requires swallowing pride sometimes when you need to apologize or accept responsibility whereas others may place blame.
44- Shipping and postage
Field trips to the post office and the process of mailing a package incorporate a lot of different skills, especially with math. Knowing the different shipping options for your area and how shipping and postage works is a great skill to have.
Although this may be more of a mindset that has to develop with age and maturity, gratitude is essential to help stay positive when things are not going your way. It’s looking around and seeing the good despite less than ideal circumstances, which has benefits to a person’s mental and physical health.
Many people use journaling as a type of therapy or as a creative outlet. It has so many benefits that there are different types of paper, pens and formats of journaling to appeal to people of all ages and interests.
47- Travel planning
Teaching your kids the basics of travel planning can help them stay safe when traveling and understand the concept of proper planning in all situations.
48- Decision making
Decision making is something even many adults struggle with! Teaching your kids the way to weigh their pros/cons and finding how to come to a decision from a young age is a great perk of homeschooling as students at home have more control over their learning experiences.
49- Reading a map
Learning to follow a map is nearly a forgotten skill in today’s world of digital maps, but this hard skill is something that can be very beneficial for kids down the road. (Pun intended)
50- Public speaking
This is a skill many kids only learn in college and many students that already have prior knowledge in public speaking tend to excel. Also, many employers look for this skill in job candidates.
Research is a skill students will use throughout their life for everything from making a wise purchase to solving problems. Quality research involves much more than “Googling it.”
52- Letter writing
In the world of text and e-communication, letter writing is a skill that is becoming a “lost art.” It means a lot to someone to receive a hand-written letter and shows that someone really took the time to express care and concern for another person.
53- Email etiquette
Email etiquette is a social skill needed in professional world for nearly all professions. Getting teenagers acquainted with the social norms of emailing is very beneficial. It can also be an important aspect of cyber safety to watch out for spam and phishing schemes.
54- Basics of credit
Credit can quickly lead to overwhelming debt. Students should understand the basics of credit and how interest works when credit is used. They could also learn about credit scores and good decision making when it comes to credit and debit.
55- Driver’s Education
There are many ways to introduce your students to driver’s education. The nice part of homeschooling is that you can decide how your child learns this skill and if you would like to enroll them in a local driver’s education course.
56- Copyright Laws
Copyright laws have to be taught and many people have found themselves in sticky (and expensive) situations for not giving proper attribution and credit for sources.
Getting into a good routine and learning the discipline of staying in one is important to one’s mental health and productivity. There are lots of homeschool resources and free schedules to help you and your kids to build ideal routines.
Measurements are needed for everything from baking to building. How many kids know how, when or why to use a square ruler? Measuring comes in handy for all kinds of situations in adulthood.
59- Good sportsmanship
Teaching good sportsmanship in the classroom and not just on the field or court can develop a healthy sense of competitiveness and what it means to be a team member.
60- How Insurance works
Most people don’t fully grasp the way insurance works until they have to get an insurance plan of their own. You can incorporate this into your regular curriculum to better prepare your children for the real world.
61- Record keeping
Keeping records and doing it well is already a large part of homeschooling. If you let your kids in on this process and let them take some responsibilities of it with age, it can assist them in learning organization and the importance of record keeping.
62- Computer basics
In the age of technology we are in now, knowledge of computers is essential. There are so many free resources available that students who are interested in the topic can go way beyond the basics and learn all of coding and programming skills.
Learning the benefits of productivity when kids are young can help them to carry productive habits throughout life. You can help students learn this through keeping a productive schedule and routine.
Negotiation is a skill many people pick up little by little through out their life, but they really need earlier in life. Good negotiation skills can help your kids reach a compromise with others in a good and healthy way.
65- Basic Law
Basic Law is something most kids learn very broadly since you would notmally have to take very specialized courses on the subject to learn in depth. While homeschooling, you can teach them as in depth as their interest goes and also help them understand law and their rights along the way.
In the world of technology, fraud is only becoming a bigger issue. By informing your kids about scammers and fraud detection/how to handle these situations, you are helping them for the rest of their lives. Knowledge in this area is more power at the end of the day.
Understanding basic self-defense is something you don’t want to ever have to use but it goes with the saying “expect the best but prepare for the worst.” This doesn’t have to be a scary topic but can be one where knowing how to be more aware and prepared can increase prevention and protection in various situations.
68- Conflict resolution
Healthy conflict resolution and compromise is vital in personal and professional relationships and life in general.
Dating is a subject that teens may balk at discussing, but they are listening and taking mental notes!
You can teach your children the process and importance of voting by taking them to polling locations and spending time on this topic in addition to the general curriculum.
71- Firearm safety
Adding firearm safety or seeking direction from a professional is potential life-saving information to teach kids the proper safety precautions to take with or around weapons.
The process and system of healthcare is something most kids aren’t taught about until they reach their career. Discussing the healthcare system with your teenagers will help them to understand it and also help them steer their career where they want it to go a little better.
Resilience is a skill that includes adaptability, optimism and strength. Learning resilience takes experience and is not easily taught, but you can encourage your kids when they don’t quit when the going gets tough!
74- Music appreciation
Music has scientically proven to have positive effects on the brain. Show your kids to appreciate the art and history of music.
75- Charitable giving
Letting your kids discover what they are passionate about and what they would like to give to through either financially or community services/time.
76- Active Listening
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” ― The Dalai Lama
Being a good listener is such an important skill and will help your child in every aspect of their life. You can teach younger children this skill through activities, social stories and practice.
The processes of mortgages and housing are a part of learning to be financially literate. Teaching your kids/teenagers about these topics will give them a headstart into adulthood and have more knowledge on this topic than your average kid.
Everyone needs some sales training. Your students need to know how to sell themselves in an interview or with their resume. Even if your kids don’t want to go into sales, it is so benefical to at least understand the tactics some sales people will use on them in their life.
Agriculture is a big part of some traditional curriculums. Understanding more about the process and aspects of farming and raising livestock is a great way to teach about producers and consumers. There are likely local groups or clubs that students could participate in who take special interest in agriculture.
80- Food safety
Any kids who are interested in the culinary arts, or even those who are not, need to know about food safety with handling and cooking to safe internal temperatures.
81- Freezing/Food preserving
Freezing and food preserving is often thought of as the way things were done long ago. In reality, just knowing what can be frozen and how to better care for food to make it last longer has nothing to do with canning or making homemade jams and jellies! It’s a great skill to learn about freezing and preserving everyday foods.
82- Local government
Learning the way the local government works and the familiar people and faces in the local government is great for learning about political processes and important pieces of local business and growth.
83- Critical thinking
Thinking criticially is a big part of growing up and becoming independent. Possessing the skill of critical thinking will help students to have better conflict resolution skills, improve everyday tasks and help them in all of their different friendships and relationships in life.
Failure is a teacher. It doesn’t matter how many times a person fails if they continue to learn from the experience and apply it to future situations. Kids who use failure as a teacher will find success on the other side!
85- Study Skills
Becoming self-aware of best learning patterns and how to study the best at a young age will help to set students up for academic success in the future. Having good study skills and understanding how you personally study and retain best is so important, especially post high school. Understanding that retaining information/ memorization and learning processes are two different things can take kids a long way in their time as a student.
86- Basic plumbing
It may not be the coolest skill to know how to use a plunger in a toilet but it can save your homeschooler from a future mess! Basics in plumbing and repairs could save time and money in the long run.
87- Car buying
This is usually one of the first big purchases that a young person will make and unfortunately that can easily be taken advantage of at a dealership. Kids need to know about depreciation, negotiation and the ins and outs of buying their first car to avoid making major mistakes.
Self-confidence is a huge part of your mental and emotional health. Helping your kids to develop self-confidence in a healthy way will carry through to adulthood.
89- Reliability & credibility of sources
When showing your kids how to properly research and cite information it can help to spend more time on understanding how to determine the level of credibility each research source has.
90- Formal vs. informal language
This can be anything from text language to email language. Learning this at a young age will help your kids to understand all social cues in language better.
91- Filling out forms
Filling out forms is an inevitable part of all kinds of processes from opening an account to going to the doctor. This is often left out of school curriculum but is a critical skill students will need when they apply for colleges and first jobs. It’s worth practicing and letting them help when they are mature enough.
92- Body language
Learning positive and negative body language can help students emotional development and fluency. This is a great topic to teach from a young age.
There are many parts to networking and being able to do it well can take you far in life. From getting a job to making workplace friends and connections, networking is a skill that will help your students so much in adulthood.
94- Soft skills
These are nonacademic skills that are very important to future employers. It includes things like eye contact, a handshake and clear communication. Many employers assert that soft skills are more important than academic backgrounds.
95- The 80-20 rule
The 80-20 rule is the ideology that 80% of your outcome is caused by only 20% of you income. You can therefore teach your kids to understand this and prioritize their strengths for greater results.
Understanding loans and debt is another part of becoming financially literate. Teaching student’s these processes before college can save a lot of headaches and financial “mess ups” before they ever happen.
97- Setting a table
This can be a fun activity for kids that will not only help you at dinnertime, but it can help them in future situations.
98- Planning a party
Party planning is hard work and it can be so expensive to hire someone to do it for you. Through learning party planning, kids can learn more about a career in hospitality affairs while also learning rsponsibility, multitasking and delegation through a skill that can save them money later in life.
Regardless of which side of the table you’re on, its vital to learn the process of interviews, how to conduct them and how to participate in them. This can be taught with fun activities and roleplaying different parts.
100- Managing a traffic stop
Although we don’t wish a ticket or citation on our young drivers, it inevitably happens. There are all kinds of rules in these situations that may be different state by state, and important to know so that young drivers don’t panic or create more of an unsafe situation by how they respond to be pulled over.
101- Accepting change
“The only constant in life is change” Heroclitus
We experience small and big changes on a daily basis and people, including kids, respond to change differently. Some kids are more resistant or hesitant to accept change and need more reassurance and guidance to navigate daily changes.
Want all of these life skills in a handy checklist? Here’s the link to download- https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/11cozw2EzTuQpG1yDi9NXGPfdisGFZtc4h5wWKMAZEzY/edit?usp=sharing