Life Skills Your Teen Should Have Before Graduation

For homeschooling parents, the teen years can bring mixed emotions. We spent years nurturing and providing for our kids, teaching them what we know and giving them what they needed to learn on their own. As our teens mature into responsible young adults, we may wonder, even if only for a minute, how they will ever manage without us. The truth is, our teens are probably better equipped than we give them credit for, but it doesn’t hurt to stack the deck.

Before your teens head off to make their destinies without you, there are a few practical skills they should master, or at least dabble in before they graduate from high school.

Life Skills Your Teen Should Have Before Graduation


Everyone has to eat, and takeout and fast food will only get your teens so far. As homeschoolers, your kids have probably spent more time in the kitchen than their peers, but they still won’t learn to cook unless you teach them. Go over the basics first — teens should learn to cook eggs, pasta, and some basic casseroles. Once they’ve got a few meals under their belts, you can assign them a day to cook for the family. A simple, basic cookbook makes a great high school graduation gift.


Have your teens learned how to sort their clothes, pretreat stains, load the washing machine, and turn it on? It may seem like second nature, but if your teens haven’t started doing their own laundry, they may have no idea how their clothes get from the hamper to their dresser or closet. One lesson will provide your teen with the basics. To really get the hang of doing their own laundry, they’ll have to experience running out of underwear a few times.

Managing Finances

Budgeting and managing finances are an important life skill for everyone. In the digital age, managing finances becomes both easier and harder. On one hand, online banking puts your financial picture at your fingertips night and day. On the other hand, credit cards make it easier to spend money you don’t have, and credit card and identity theft are common. Many teens rely on online banking to check the balance of their accounts, so balancing checkbooks and budgeting are no longer the norm. Both of these skills will help your teen manage and save money, so that they can be prepared for financial independence in the future. Not sure where to begin? Check out Financial Peace University.

Maintaining Values

Help your teens examine their social readiness before heading out on their own – whether they are continuing on in their college studies or they’re entering the job force, they will be exposed to situations that will test their personal values. Talk to your teens about the issues they may face — alcohol, drugs, unhealthy relationships, and other dangers. Discuss hypothetical situations with your teens, and what they will do when faced with tough choices. Continue to provide direction, limits, and consequences for your teens, while letting them spread their wings and fly. For more about cultivating your teens spirituality and protecting their moral compass, check out The Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make.

Congratulations, parents! You and your teen have come a long way together, and the skills you’ve already given them are priceless!

Becky Muldrow & the Dual Credit at Home Team

Becky Muldrow & the Dual Credit at Home Team

Hi there! I'm Becky Muldrow, wife to my high school sweetheart, Gene, and mom to 10 great kids! I love spending my days homeschooling the last 4 of them and sharing (on my website and at homeschool conferences) how we do high school differently - by replacing it with college.