3 Critical Life Skills for Homeschooled Teens ~ Written by Kari Patterson
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Sometimes we can focus so much on the scope and sequence of certain academic subjects and completely miss other critical life skills our teens desperately need to succeed in life.
Recently I was reflecting on some of these areas, both for my own teens and also teens I teach and lead in various spheres. If you have homeschooled teens, consider giving intention to teaching and developing these critical life skills, too!
3 Critical Life Skills for Homeschooled Teens
This year our son Dutch is enrolled in the Dale Carnegie Communication & Interpersonal Skills for Success class. Highly recommend! It’s critical that our young adults enter life knowing not just Chemistry and Calculus, but how to interact successfully with others.
Consider these areas:
It’s critical that our students feel confident approaching any authority figure in their lives to ask questions, make an appeal, or seek clarification. It’s sad to me how many teens struggle or even fail in classes simply because they don’t ask for help. In our family, we have one teen who easily and eagerly communicates with teachers, and another who isn’t as assertive.
Early in the year we had to follow up and even read through email threads to help him become more direct in asking for what he needs. Later he ended up having a medical emergency that kept him out of school for two weeks. I was so grateful he had the skills he needed to communicate clearly with his teachers and get the extensions he needed.
These are critical skills for our teens to have as they head into the world!
I also see some teens who, for whatever reason, see no distinction between how they communicate with peers and how they communicate with teachers or other adults in authority.
I recently had a teen say to me, “I’m going to need you to …” and then give me a direct command (!). Emails to teachers aren’t the same as chat messages to friends.
We need to teach our students how to respectfully address adults.
I also recently had an interaction with an adult, and it made me realize there are some basic etiquette rules we should probably teach our teenagers. Consider a few scenarios:
- RSVPing for events, thank you notes, hostess gifts
- Appropriate dress codes for various events
- Making introductions
- Asking someone on a date/invitations of various kinds
- Job interviews/reference requests
This will probably vary based on what your family’s values are and what sorts of situations your student will most often be in, but a little etiquette goes a long way!
This includes time and money, but time is the first resource to steward because young people have more of it than they do money. (smile) This fall our life took an extremely busy turn that none of us saw coming, which meant I did little to no overseeing of our teen’s school schedules.
On the whole they did well, but we had a few humorous (now) moments where my husband and I were baffled about how our kids could possibly have had so little foresight about how much time it would take to finish XYZ.
I am finding this with other teens as well. Often a certain subject isn’t in itself too difficult, but they lack the time management skills to finish all the work on time.
Similarly, it may take some creativity to teach excellent money-management skills. Dutch completed the Dave Ramsey high school personal finance course, which was excellent, but we need to keep giving him opportunities for earning, saving, spending, and investing.
These are just a few critical life skills that will help our teens thrive into adulthood. Throughout their last few years of homeschooling, we can prepare them for future careers, schooling, and general management of the day-to-day – skills they’ll continue to use their entire lives!
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