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Homeschooling your child gives you more control over the curriculum and lessons that they learn, but even so, your homeschooling curriculum won’t cover everything that your teen needs before they become an adult. Traditional school-taught skills like reading, writing, and math are important for any adult to have, but other skills like disaster prepping and being able to balance a checkbook are equally as important. It’s rare to find these skills included in a curriculum — even in public school — though, and that’s where your role as a parent comes in to teach your teen.
With your teen learning at home, you have more flexibility to incorporate some important life lessons to leave your teen better prepared when they become an adult. Trying to pack all of these lessons in when your teenager is 17 can be a challenge and overwhelming for you both, so try to gradually introduce your teen to these lessons. By the time your teen is an adult, he or she will be well-prepared to navigate the world.
Playing an Instrument
One lesson that you can teach early on is how to play an instrument. Learning a musical instrument offers children, teens, and adults many benefits. Playing an instrument can help kids to socially connect with others through ensembles and performances. It can also build confidence, help kids learn math, and bring out creativity. When children learn instruments, they also learn discipline, time management, and how to deal with challenges. Ultimately, kids are rewarded with a feeling of success and accomplishment when they can play a song they’ve been working on for months or when they go on to perform in their first concert.
If you’re not musically inclined, you’ll want to enroll your child in music lessons. You can probably find group or individual music lessons through a local music store or music school to teach your teen. Your child’s music teacher will help you to find an appropriate musical instrument for them to get started on, and with your encouragement, your child may grow to love music.
Teens need to be financially literate before adulthood, since this is one of the major skills they’ll need in life. You can start teaching financial literacy early with lessons on saving and spending money. As your child becomes a teen, it’s time to introduce lessons on budgeting, balancing a checking account, and the importance of building good credit.
As your teen prepares to go to college or find a job, you can use these real-life lessons to help them learn about finances. When it’s time for your teen to apply for a credit card, sit down with them and discuss interest rates, special offers, and fees to help them decide on the card that’s the best option for them. You can also help your teen apply for student loans and help them to understand the repayment terms. Calculating out your teen’s monthly repayment amount and even looking at how much your teen will ultimately spend in repaying the loan can be a lesson in credit that they will remember for years to come.
Teaching your teen to invest can help them to establish long-term wealth. Talk about the risks and benefits of investing so that your teen can make wise decisions. If you’re able to share personal stories about how investing helped you to live a better life, your teen may develop an interest in saving and investing money.
Specialized Computer Programs
If your teen identifies a career or hobby that relies on specialized computer programs, teaching them how to use these programs now can help them to get ahead of the game once they become an adult. Many businesses use programs like InDesign, QuickBooks, HubSpot, and MailChimp. If your teenager is computer-savvy, they may be able to figure out the basics of these programs on their own.
You don’t have to necessarily know how to use these programs to help your teen learn to navigate them. There are many classes available for programs like Photoshop, and you’ll find countless online video tutorials available to teach your teen for free. Your local community college may also offer courses that your teenager could take.
Driving and Vehicle Maintenance
Before your teen moves out of the home, they’ll need to learn how to drive. While a local driving school can help, you’ll need to be involved in much of the process, supervising your teenager as they practice behind the wheel. This can be an ideal opportunity to talk about safe driving practices and to set a good example with your own driving habits. Have discussions about driving safety, the importance of not using a cell phone while driving, and your rules about when your teen is allowed to drive with friends in the car.
In addition to giving your teen driving lessons, be sure to incorporate lessons on vehicle maintenance. Teaching your teenager to change a car’s oil can save them money, and other lessons like changing a flat tire are also essential from a safety standpoint. Talk with your teenager and make sure they know what to do in the case of a car accident. It’s also a good idea to enroll them in a roadside assistance program like AAA.
Starting Out Right
You’ll probably find many other skills that you’d like to teach your teen before they’re an adult, but these four lessons can help you to get started. Take a look at your homeschool curriculum and think about what skills it might be leaving out. By incorporating these life skills early on, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare your teenager for adulthood.