28 Essential Life Skills Your Teen Needs to Know to “Adult”

28 Essential Life Skills Your Teen Needs!


One of the ultimate goals of homeschooling high school is sending your child out in the world to become independent adults. A key to that is preparing them to handle all life throws at them. Fortunately, as homeschoolers, many of the items from this life skills list are things that do not necessarily have to be taught formally. Life is a good teacher and so much can be taught by your kids watching you and learning from experiences with you. 


  1. Domestic skills-This includes both young women AND young men. Tasks such as cleaning the bathroom, plunging a toilet, or even switching a breaker are good skills to know.
  2. How to do laundry– Sorting colors and type of fabric, knowing whether hot/cold water is appropriate, what can go in the drier, are all things you need to know to care for your clothing. 
  3. Auto maintenance skills- How to check oil and fluid levels, change oil, check tire pressure/adding air, how to change a tire and also teens should know where the car manual is kept
  4. How to read a map– GPS and Google are wonderful but it is also good to know how to navigate using a real map. 
  5. Basic cooking skills- It is good to know how to boil water, bake a potato, safely handle and cook meat, plan and shop for a meal, plus fix a well-balanced meal
  6. Budgeting and money management skills- learning how to manage a bank account and plan for the future. They should be able to write and deposit a check which would require them to also know where to endorse a check. Homeschool Survival Guide: Money Management
  7. Cleanliness and hygiene- Shower or bathe every day or every other day, wash hair when needed, use deodorant or antiperspirant as needed, brush teeth twice a day and, preferably, floss daily, wear clean socks and underwear every day.
  8. Basic first aid skills- Taking a class at the American Red Cross for first aid and CPR would be very beneficial for a teen!
  9. Social skills and manners- Cell phone etiquette, making eye contact in conversations, shaking hands and using proper table manners when eating to name just a few. 
  10. Organization skills- It All Starts with Organization, Getting Organized for the New Homeschool Year
  11. Being able to apologize and accept an apology- This sounds simple but it is essential for relationships and even work.
  12. How to present yourself during a job interview-Knowing what is appropriate to say and even wear and what is not, especially for the type of job you are applying for. A practice interview is also a good idea!
  13. Employability skills- Employers look for things like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, organization, perseverance and motivation, and the ability to work under pressure.
  14. How to write a professional email- Teach teens to write a polite, concise email that shows them at their personal best — a message that’s clear, to the point, error-, slang- and of course emoji-free.
  15. Snail Mail- They should know how to craft a handwritten note, place it in an envelope, address the envelope, stamp it and mail it.
  16. Skills to stay safe in the real world– We definitely want our kids to always be safe but as they become teens they need to learn independence and we will not always be with them. Here are a great list of things for them to be aware of- 10 Safety Tips to Teach Your Teenager
  17. Online safety-Digital monitoring and here is a handy printable internet safety rules list. 
  18. Problem-solving skills-facing a problem head on without running away but admitting when you need help.
  19. Nutrition and health knowledge- Here are some great free resources- Homeschooler’s Guide To Teaching Health And PE
  20. Goal setting/Time management- Set goals. goals give you a vision, focus and destination to work towards. Prioritize, keep a task list, schedule tasks, focus on one task at a time, minimize distractions, overcome procrastination, and take breaks.
  21. Coping with emotions- Learning to control a temper, managing feelings, self-control, coping in an appropriate way to disappointments are all invaluable skills.
  22. Learning to decipher between love and infatuation- goes along with coping with emotions. 
  23. Respect- How to be respectful to other people regardless of differences. You do not have to agree with everyone about everything but you should show respect. 
  24. Be kinder than necessary…but do not be a doormat
  25. Social Security Number– They should know their social security number by heart as they will need it often.
  26. Tipping– Teens should know when you tip and what percentage is the standard for what service.
  27. Traveling- Teens should be able to book their own flights, check their baggage and check-in to their flight.
  28. Tax Season- Teens should have some idea how to do their taxes or at least know what paperwork they need to collect for someone else to do their taxes. 


Joy Capps is a homeschool bookworm residing in the mountains of western North Carolina. The only one who loves books more is her 16-year-old daughter. They both enjoy perusing old bookstores for treasures and sniffing books. Her son who is 18 has special needs, is the social butterfly of the family and has never met a stranger. Although she is originally from South Dakota she now calls North Carolina her home and she and her family love exploring the great outdoors. Her family has been homeschooling since 2005.

August 22, 2019


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