Teaching Kids Life Skills

8 Aug

So, I’m crafting a “Life Skills” curriculum for my kids which would include the basics in cooking/baking/kitchen skills, laundry care, car care, household handyman tasks, and personal finances. I may throw in some basic first aid, gardening, and household organizing for good measure. These are the skills I have thought of so far:


  • meal planning
  • grocery shopping (including selecting fruits, vegetables, meat)
  • reading a recipe
  • timing the different components of a meal
  • boiling water (very basic, I know, but definitely a needed skill)
  • cooking pasta
  • steaming vegetables
  • cooking eggs (boil, fry, scramble)
  • chopping vegetables
  • making a salad
  • making a vinaigrette
  • boiling chicken
  • roasting meat & vegetables
  • using a crockpot
  • sauteing vegetables
  • baking: cake, cookies, biscuits, pie


  • reading labels
  • sorting
  • treating stains
  • folding
  • ironing
  • sewing on a button
  • hemming


  • checking & adding fluids
  • changing the oil
  • changing a tire
  • washing exterior & cleaning interior


  • drive a nail
  • hang a picture
  • use a drill
  • paint a room
  • clear a drain
  • fix a squeaky hinge


  • creating a budget
  • living by that budget
  • managing bank accounts (checking & saving)
  • paying bills (paper & ebills)
  • giving
  • saving
  • using a credit card wisely

Some of my kids already have a handle on some of these skills, but none of them have them all.  I know there are other life skills that they will need to know like how to shop for insurance, how to buy a used car, how to shop for an apartment/house, etc., but the ones above I can teach even to my 10 year old.  I figure if my kids leave our house knowing these fundamentals, they’ll be able to navigate many of the basic challenges of living on their own.  (Plus, I’ll be brushing up on my own skills in the process!)

If you were compiling a list like this, what would you include?


13 Responses to “Teaching Kids Life Skills”

  1. kc August 8, 2011 at 9:15 PM #

    Just off the top of my head,

    Proper knife skills (Alton has a good show on that)

    Car Care:
    Cleaning battery terminals
    Replacing a battery

    The inner workings of flushing a toilet

    • sevenmillerz August 8, 2011 at 10:27 PM #

      Good suggestions! The toilet one for sure is a good one to know BEFORE you need to know it! lol Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Karen August 8, 2011 at 10:19 PM #

    This is a GREAT list. I am going to borrow it and make sure my daughter knows how to do all of this. I would add maybe things like cleaning the bathroom, kitchen and just general ‘cleaning’. I firmly believe the reason my daughter doesn’t clean her room well enough is that I really never taught her. It is just something you think they should ‘know’. Loved this.

    • sevenmillerz August 8, 2011 at 10:34 PM #

      I can sympathize with that…sometimes I find myself frustrated with how one of my kids does/doesn’t do something and then realize I never really fully explained the task or trained them to do it a certain way. I am hoping by creating a “course,” I will be more intentional in training my kids. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Malea August 8, 2011 at 10:25 PM #

    Here from the HHH. Under laundry, I don’t see anything about fixing minor repairs other than buttons and hemming. What about repairing a small hole, or repairing a seam? For the kitchen, not just reading a recipe, but also doubling and cutting in half. Also in the kitchen, proper cleaning and so on to prevent food borne illness.

    For car care, also add what to do in an accident (exchanging insurance info, etc).

    You have a great list already though. I wish my parents had taught my siblings and I even half of the things on your list. I learned to do laundry on my own, and ended up teaching my brother before he went to college (I’m 7 years older). My dad did teach me a lot about car care though, and I wasn’t allowed to have my first driving lesson until I could demonstrate changing a tire, list the steps of an oil change, and tell what to do in the case of a minor car accident.

    Oh, also under car care – add something about keeping track of repairs/maintenance and knowing how long tires are good for (and how to tell if they need replaced or rotated or filled), how long a battery lasts, changing the wipers…

    • sevenmillerz August 8, 2011 at 10:36 PM #

      Good suggestions! I will certainly add the car accident/car care ideas as we will have two teenage drivers this year! I plan to expand my list as people chime in and you have added some good ones! Thanks. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now August 8, 2011 at 10:48 PM #

    Great idea to have a “life skills” curriculum! My kids are already adults, so it’s interesting to look at in retrospect. My son was much better at handyman tasks than either my husband or I were, so he did a lot of self-teaching in those areas. My husband taught him how to manage finances, and I taught him basic cooking and mending (and made a digital recipe book of my favorite recipes). My daughter already knew how to sew, but she had to learn about finances from my husband. On her own, she learned how to set up computers and printers and how to assemble flat-pack furniture. Those could have been good skills to teach in a life skills curriculum for her, though.

  5. Steph August 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM #

    Great ideas!! This is our first year homeschooling and I would love to put these lessons into practice!!

    Stopping by from the HHH! 🙂

  6. Linda Difino (@prodoceo) August 9, 2011 at 1:55 PM #

    Came over from the hop!! GREAT list. Can’t think of a single thing I’d add! Will you be marketing this curriculum? I think you should!

    Linda from The Homeschool Apologist

    • sevenmillerz August 9, 2011 at 2:17 PM #

      If it turns out successfully this year, perhaps I will. I plan to track our progress through this blog and hopefully get helpful feedback along the way. Thanks for stopping by and giving encouragement!

  7. MomKaboodle (@MomKaboodle) August 9, 2011 at 3:16 PM #

    Hmmm, I don’t have anything to add….except that I’ll be coming to your house for these lessons – who couldn’t use a refresher course, right? ;o)

    Visiting you from the HHH!

    • sevenmillerz August 9, 2011 at 4:06 PM #

      haha…yeah, some of these things will be a refresher for me, too (and to be honest, I’ve never learned to change a tire so I am looking forward to learning that from my husband!) Thanks for stopping by, I love HHH!

  8. MissMOE August 9, 2011 at 11:17 PM #

    Buying stamps (utilizing the post office over all) and taking care of one’s accounts at the bank, cell phone store, ect. These were some of the things I realized my son didn’t know how to do. And he’s leaving for college this fall! We’ve had a bit of a crash course on taking care of business this summer. Your list is great and covers just about everything.

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