/ / Life Skills for Teens (and How to Teach Them)

Life Skills for Teens (and How to Teach Them)

Life skills for teens is a topic that should not be ignored by homeschoolers. We want our kids to be prepared for college, career, and life in general in the best possible way before they go out into the world.

But how do we teach those essential life skills? Which skills should we focus on?

Things like opening a bank account, renting or buying a home, writing a resume, and time management are definitely on the list of essentials.

How do you teach life skills to teens?

This post will explore the ways to teach life skills to teens organically through real life experience, as well as cover some great outside resources to get homeschooled teens on the right track to successful independent living.

If you’re homeschooling a teenager, these skills should be on your radar.

Life Skills for Homeschoolers

Homeschooling has been growing in popularity and reputation, and it’s becoming generally acknowledged that kids that graduate from a home education program really do have a high quality and well-rounded education.

Their transcripts look great, they’re accepted into all kinds of universities and colleges, and they’ve been able to focus their studies on the areas most valuable to their plans.

Many even get a head start on college credits thanks to the many dual enrollment options. Homeschoolers are known as college students who have already learned efficient study skills and can manage their own time and learning well.

But it’s worth recognizing that home educating is also a wonderful way to make sure those same graduates have plenty of experience in the kinds of life skills they’ll need to find and keep a job, build their careers, manage their own homes, and contribute positively to their communities.

What life skills do teens need to know?

Here are the areas of essential life skills teens should have a handle on by the time they graduate high school, and how these skills can be fostered in the homeschool setting:

College and Career Readiness

In the areas of college and career readiness, teens should know:

  • how to put together a resume
  • how to handle a job interview
  • how to be a good employee in general

While homeschooling can offer great opportunities to get some pointers on those kind of things from a real-life experience standpoint, I think it’s a good idea to make use of an outside resource for this.

We discovered the online College and Career Readiness course from Mr. D Math and it was the perfect solution!

(Disclosure: I received free access to the course and compensation to write about our experience, but the opinions here are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.)

Teens can take the self-paced or live version of this class. In the live class, teens can interact with one another and work on the assignments with the teacher’s live feedback.

This course is a full semester and students receive 1/2 credit in Leadership Development. This not only helps prepare them for success in college and/or a career, it looks great on their transcripts and resumes.

The course helps them put together a resume and covers the ins and outs of job interviews. It also gives them a firm foundation in goal setting and time management, which comes in handy for all of their future plans.

You can read my complete review of our experience with the course here:

college and career readiness online course for teens

Home educated teens often have skills and experience they can list on a resume, even when they apply for their first job – skills learned helping with the family business or farm, or while doing volunteer work, can give them useful job skills.

Because their school schedules may be more flexible, homeschooled teens can sometimes get into the running for part-time jobs that their public schooled peers wouldn’t be able to consider.

And homeschooled teens are in an excellent position to start their own business. The book Micro Business for Teens is a good starting point, but Mr. D’s College and Career Readiness course has an entire section devoted to entrepreneurship! He gives a good overview of starting your own business and how to think like an entrepreneur. I love that this is included in the course.

Personal Finance

The basics of managing one’s money and household budget should be high priority life skills for all teens to learn.

Balancing a checkbook and handling personal finances are essentials, and thankfully are pretty easy to cover with a good consumer math course sometime during high school. Consumer Math courses also cover credit, savings, investment, budgeting, payroll, and more. This type of course can even be used for an elective credit on their transcript.

Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to brush up on your own knowledge in this area if needed and your teen is more likely to have the time with you to learn first-hand as you run your own household.

Mr. D Math’s College and Career Readiness course covers financial literacy, including the following topics:

  • Evaluating Stocks in the Stock Market
  • Investment Strategies
  • Creating a Long Term Savings Plan
  • Saving Money and Paying Taxes

I also recommend the High School Economics online course from Mr. D Math, which we reviewed here:

economics for high school

Home Management Skills

Once again, homeschooling offers plenty of opportunity for kids to learn how to run a household, since it’s natural for them to take an active part in many of the chores when they spend more time in the home and with the family.

It’s good for them to learn how to do laundry and other housekeeping tasks, as well as fix meals that don’t involve the microwave or drive-thru. Kids should know how to shop for groceries, plan meals, do household cleaning, look after a vehicle, and plan a household budget.

I’ve met a surprising number of young adults who had little to no experience with those kinds of things when they left home for college or got married, so don’t assume they know! Give them the chance to learn those skills.

Community Living

Interpersonal skills are an essential ingredient for success in the real world, and aren’t usually covered by a textbook.

Homeschooling offers kids lots of opportunities to interact with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations simply because we tend to take our kids with us as we live our lives.

How about the experience teens could gain by helping to teach younger kids at your co-op, or working alongside you or others on service projects, or even helping out with household errands?

I’ve observed that homeschooled kids are generally comfortable with different age groups and with people that are different from themselves.

Rather than being socially awkward, homeschooled kids are likely to have experience in the real world in context, which means they can relate to all kinds of people. They learn to be respectful and responsible and diligent, how to be trustworthy workers, and to contribute positively to society.

Life Skills Homeschool Resources

In summary, some of my favorite life skills homeschool resources are:

The College and Career Readiness online course from Mr. D. Math is the most comprehensive life skills resource that we’ve used for the high school age group. I highly recommend checking it out!

A+ Parents Podcast

Did you know that Mr. D (Dennis DiNoia) has a podcast now where he discusses many of these topics about self-directed and independent learning skills? It’s called A+ Parents and I think you’ll love it!

I had the honor of being a guest for one of the episodes. We had a good time talking about delight-directed homeschooling and how to apply your purposeful homeschool vision to your plans and goals. Listen here:

What do you think? How are you incorporating life skills into your homeschool experience? Leave a comment and let me know!

Follow on
kids subscription boxes

Thank you for taking the time to comment!