Essential Life Skills to Teach in your Homeschool


My son is 17 (and a few months). It’s a strange thing to think that in less than a year he can move out. He can legally sign contracts. He can be officially called an adult. What are some things that he needs to be prepared- what life skills does he need to have?

This is what every parent asks themselves {long before their child’s 18th birthday!}. If you Google, you are sure to find many results on what others think it is imperative that your child knows. There are, of course, some standards that are going to be good across the board.

Growing up I had so little training for this thing called life that it is surprising I am where I am. Thanks be to God that I am. But I am honest when I say that if left to my own set of life skills… uh, perhaps this post is not the time to talk of where I’d be. Let’s leave it at that.

My husband, on the other hand, was given great guidance on what he could expect when he moved from his parent’s home out to his own place and took up a place in this world. He had examples- role models- as well as a literal guide to go by. My mother-in-law created a nice list of life skills she was determined her kids would know {or at least have been exposed to in some way} before they moved out on their own.

66 Essential Life Skills to Teach in your Homeschool at



I’ll share a modified version of that list here today. It is a little dated, even though it was updated  years after my mother-in-law’s version. {Time just goes so fast!} These are not in a particular order.

  1. Dishes (by hand and in dishwasher; includes loading the washer, rinsing, drying and putting away).
  2. Laundry (complete with sorting by color, temperature, fabric composition; dry and fold; iron).
  3. Prepare a complete dinner.
  4. Plant a garden.
  5. Plan a budget.
  6. Shop for a week’s grocery, staying within budget.
  7. Plan a week’s menu.
  8. Keep bedroom clean.
  9. Mend own clothes (buttons, zippers, patches, let-down, take-in hems)
  10. Set table.
  11. Clean oven.
  12. Sweep/mop/wax floors.
  13. Clean refrigerator.
  14. Clean bathroom.
  15. Vacuum carpets.
  16. Wash windows.
  17. Clean window screens.
  18. Take care of garbage.
  19. Hang clothes on a clothesline.
  20. De-clutter a room.
  21. Organize a closet/cupboard.
  22. Steps to emergency shut-offs (gas, electricity, water mains).
  23. Replace faucet washer.
  24. Unplug sink/toilet.
  25. Take a phone message.
  26. Order over the phone.
  27. Order through the mail.
  28. Order online.
  29. Open savings account.
  30. Open checking account.
  31. Reconcile a bank account.
  32. Write a check.
  33. Wood furniture repair.
  34. Change automobile tire.
  35. Change automobile oil.
  36. Wash/vacuum car.
  37. Apply for employment.
  38. Write a business letter.
  39. Write a cover letter.
  40. Create a resume.
  41. Clean walls.
  42. Paint a room.
  43. Organize a list.
  44. Start an emergency fire.
  45. Plan a family trip.
  46. Clean gardening and outdoor tools.
  47. Sharpen knives.
  48. Care for personal health.
  49. Hair care (wash, comb, keep neat).
  50. Prune plants.
  51. Learn CPR & First Aid.
  52. Dust furniture.
  53. De-web house.
  54. Pet care (feed, water, groom, bathe, clean up after).
  55. Rug stain care.
  56. Can food.
  57. Dehydrate food.
  58. Dry meat.
  59. Maintain lawn mower.
  60. Sew on sewing machine.
  61. Make breakfast.
  62. Make lunch.
  63. Return an item (contact the seller, obtain necessary paperwork, fill out paperwork, package items for return; complete online return).
  64. Write a letter (or email) of complaint for a returned item.
  65. Look up career opportunities online.
  66. Volunteer in the community.

Looking at that list, so many seem like commonsense tasks. But it really is necessary to teach our kids these skills for when they are out on their own- and before they get to that point. This is by no means complete. I can think of a few that I need to include {time management, for one}.

What are some other life skills you would include in this list? 

~North Laurel

North Laurel (46 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens. She holds a M. Ed. in Leadership and is the founder of the small Wildwood CM Community Co-op and is working to open Wildwood Community School. You can read her other thoughts at North Laurel's Musings.

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  1. says

    This is a great list! Very helpful to keep in mind as my oldest daughter is now a freshman. Can’t believe how fast the time goes! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. says

    Thank you for this list. I will be looking over it to see what areas we need to start working on with my stepson. He may only be 14 but I want to ensure he knows what to do to run his own household someday.

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