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If your homeschooler is about to head off and start life on his or her own, you may suddenly be struck by the urge to cram extra lessons into your teen. Have you taught your teen the life skills needed to navigate and survive in the real world? If you can start teaching these life skills early on, you won’t feel such a need to cram these lessons in during your child’s teenage years. Many of these lessons can be incorporated throughout your child’s entire education, meaning they’ll feel less rushed at the end of their homeschooling education as a teen.
Basic Home Management Skills
You can start teaching basic home management skills to your children early on. Once your children have shown that they’re responsible enough to keep up with their more basic household chores, like taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher, you can start introducing important lessons on home maintenance as the opportunity arises.
Your children will need some important skills before it’s time for them to move out of the house. Show them how to unclog a bathtub and a sink. Teach them how and when to replace the batteries in the home’s smoke detectors. Have your homeschoolers learn how to do laundry, teach them how to mow the lawn, and get them involved in home renovation projects, like painting a room or refinishing furniture.
Try to get your homeschooler involved in these home management skills and projects every time you’re tackling a project in your home so they have the chance to learn many different skills. You can also make home management tasks a part of your homeschooler’s chores. You’ll need to guide and assist younger children in these skills, while older students may be able to mow the lawn or do laundry unassisted. The more skills that your kids have firsthand experience in, the better prepared they’ll be for the challenges they may face when living on their own.
Before college, your homeschooled student needs to learn other valuable skills, like social etiquette. Focus on introducing your child to social situations, like family gatherings and parties where they’ll meet strangers when your child is still young. As your child ages, you can talk to them about how to hold a conversation with a stranger and how to make a great introduction.
Encourage your teenager to get active in different social settings, like by pursuing sports and volunteer opportunities. During this time, they should learn skills like active listening and how to mediate conflicts. Developing these life skills is important to both social and professional success.
Job Application Skills
Once your homeschooler turns 16, they’ll be of legal age to get a job. It will also be time for an important lesson: How to apply to and interview for jobs. Sit down with your teen and help him or her develop a resume and cover letter tailored to the industry in which your teen is applying. Talk about best practices in preparing these documents and discuss the types of experiences and skills that would be most valuable to demonstrate in that particular industry like healthcare. Help your teen learn how to navigate online job advertisements, but also encourage him or her to go to businesses in person to inquire about job opportunities.
This is also the perfect time to discuss interviewing best practices and to hold some mock interviews. Ask your homeschooler those tough interview questions that might trip people up during interviews and do your best to prepare your teenager for the challenges of interviewing for a job. These skills will be valuable during their entire lives.
Driving and Vehicle Maintenance
When your student is a teenager, it will be important to start focusing on a major milestone: Learning to drive. While this skill isn’t covered in home school, you can help teach your teen the lessons he or she will need to stay safe on the road. In addition to what your teen will learn through formal driving school, you can supplement those lessons with daily one-on-one driving practice sessions. The more time that you can spend guiding and advising your teen while he or she has a permit, the better your teen’s driving skills will be once he or she gets a license.
In addition to teaching your teen driving skills, it’s also important to teach basic vehicle maintenance skills. Give your homeschooler lessons on important skills like how to change a car’s oil and how to change a tire. When your teen starts driving, it’s a good idea to invest in a roadside assistance membership so that you know your teenager will always have help if he or she needs it.
Economics and Estate Planning
When your student is a teen, it’s time to start talking about economics and instilling the lessons your teen will need to enjoy financial security. Focus on skills that your teen will need when navigating life, like how to balance a checkbook, how to understand credit card interest and usage, how to build a good credit score, and what to know about financing a car. When your teen gets a first job, use that opportunity to talk about savings accounts, income taxes, retirement savings, and even investments.
Many teens never learn about estate planning, only really getting exposure to the topic when they’re in the thick of it. But high school is the perfect time to learn and to start planning. Incorporate lessons on estate planning with your discussions about economics and financial planning. This is also a good time to talk about how teens’ rights will change once they become adults and the increasing responsibilities that comes with that.
While there are many important lessons to teach your homeschooler, you don’t have to teach them all at once. By starting to teach these skills when your homeschooler is still young, you can incorporate these lessons across many years. With careful planning and instruction, your teen will be well-prepared for life when it’s time for them to leave home and navigate the world as an adult.