Life Skills For Seventh and Eighth Graders

I think both as parents and homeschoolers, we are always working on “life skills”.  After all, it is the goal of most parents that their children are able to live independently and know how to maintain a house, take care of their own finances, and be able to care for a home or a family!

I made a list of life skills for seventh grade through high school, and I keep adding things to it , as I go along so this is not an all-inclusive list.  Please feel free to use it as a base for your own list and modify and add it to it so it reflects the things that are important in your family. 

AUTO SKILLS:  (more high school)

  • Auto care (change the oil, jump the battery, replace fluids, change oil and filter, change a flat)
  • How to drive a car; defensive driving and the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • How to buy a good used car
  • How to look for and deal with auto insurance, what to do in case of an accident

PRACTICAL SKILLS:  (seventh grade and up)

  • Carpentry and woodworking
  • Knife skills (whittling and carving),
  • Mending holes/hemming pants/sewing buttons,
  • Replace a bike tire and do basic bike maintenance and repair
  • How to vote
  • How to take good notes from a lecture or sermon
  • Packing a suitcase for a trip independently
  • How to tie a neck tie and bow tie
  • Manners/fine dining – how to introduce people and start a conversation
  • How to organize and host a party without help
  • Phone etiquette (ordering, returning, asking for info, answering)
  • Self defense
  • How to knit, crochet, cross stitch, hand sew and machine sew; how to make patterns
  • First aid and CPR, basic herbal and natural remedies for common ailments; how to put together a “natural” medicine toolbox, the role of allopathic health care and how to access it; how to deal with medical bills and insurance
  • How to dance  – whether that is square dancing or line dancing or formal ballroom dancing is up to you!
  • Homesteading skills, care of livestock, hunting or fishing skills might also come here if you do that in your family life
  • Buying a house, homeowner’s insurance, buying versus renting
  • Pet Care – care of puppies or kittens, how to dialogue with a vet, healthy feeding and exercise, housebreaking, positive clicker training,  typical health and behavioral  problems and how to help, lifespan of a pet, making end of life decisions for your pet

Home Skills: (all ages)

  • How to “deep clean” a house from top to bottom
  • How to maintain a home during the week
  • Air conditioning/heating and plumbing basic trouble shooting
  • How to paint rooms
  • How to unclog a sink or tub drain
  • How to can/freeze/dry/ferment food
  • How to write a list and follow it at the grocery store; menu planning
  • How to do laundry from start to finish, ironing
  • How to organize a house
  • How to prepare a variety of healthy meals from scratch
  • Basic fix-it skills and troubleshooting for the home

JOB SKILLS:

  • How to write a resume
  • Typing and computer skills
  • Job interview skills
  • How to build and work with a team
  • How to work with difficult people
  • How to resolve conflict
  • Effective communication skills; difference between communication and conversation
  • Picking a career that is right for you – Myers Briggs testing or other personality trait testing, how aptitudes and strengths can play into a good career choice

FINANCIAL SKILLS:

  • How to apply for a mortgage, steps of buying a house
  • How to write a check and balance a check book, how to manage on line banking
  • Budgeting/money management
  • How to invest and save for retirement
  • How to understand parts of a paystub

CHILD CARE:

  • Basic infant development, basic principles of baby care – pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, sleep rhythms, baby wearing, gentle discipline, how to bathe, how and when to start solids, value of rhythm and outside time, warmth, normal attachment and what contributes to family-infant attachment, microflora in the gut and how to cultivate that in the most healthy manner 
  • Normal stages of development  ages 0-5, how to identify challenges
  • How to talk to your infant’s health care team

RELATIONSHIPS

  • Essentials of self-respect and self-love, which is a foundational skill to bring to relationships
  • Differences between assertive, passive and aggressive behavior and communication
  • Discussions on dating violence; affects of verbal abuse
  • Effective communication skills
  • Take your own Myers Briggs test and how to use this information in relationships
  • How to resolve conflict
  • What to look for in choosing a person to share your life with, what factors help make a successful partnership, how to nurture a partnership or marriage

Skills for Personal Health:

  • Finding types of exercise that can be done throughout a lifetime
  • Addiction issues; addiction myths
  • Healthy sexuality
  • Use of alternative methods for health (herbal, homeopathic, healing foods)
  • Sleeping  – its importance, health sleep habits
  • Positivity; dealing with baby blues, depression, anxiety
  • How to deal with stress in a healthy way
  • Physical health issues specific to gender

I am certain there are many other things you can put on this list or that you can create your own categories.  I have a category for Christian Life as well if any of my Christian readers are interested.

I will list some specific resources we used in seventh grade and that we are using this year in the next post.

  Blessings,

Carrie

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12 thoughts on “Life Skills For Seventh and Eighth Graders

  1. Great idea Carrie,

    And again we have been thinking the same thing….
    Albeit my son is only in fifth grade we started on some basic ‘life lessons’, rather than skills. We have been talking about what is most important in life, what makes for a happy and healthy life, etc. and have made our own list for each category. We plan to revisit this throughout the year and keep on working on it for the following years.

    My parents never did anything like this with us children, including life skills as you mention, and I know my life would have been so much easier knowing some these things beforehand, so I hope that these will come in handy for my children.

    Maggie

  2. This is wonderful! And actually it does make me wonder: Carrie, what would you suggest to someone who finds this overwhelming and doesn’t know where to start? As Tania says above, I feel like *I* need to learn so many of these things. Fortunately my daughter is only 3.5. 😀

    • Sonja,
      I think pick the things that are really working in you right now and start there – maybe it is relationships or how to really clean a house or whatever it is. Start a pinterest board, put time in your rhythm to work on that one thing practically, talk with people who are good at that thing or have a good understanding of that topic. It is so important. I think these life skills ARE ones we work with through an entire lifetime, but having some direction or ideas for teens especially is important.
      Blessings,
      Carrie

    • Thank you so much for this reply. I love the idea of actually putting time in my existing rhythm to work on one thing at a time.

  3. I don’t even know how to do some of that stuff – I’m need to come sit under your tutelage. I’d love to see your Christian living list. In all seriousness, it is wonderful you have a list. We adopted a sixteen year old via CPS, she was street smart but had none of these skills. When she chose to homeschool for her junior and senior year we worked double time on these skills and backed off on advanced math and science. Knowing how to pay bills and save money by mending your own clothes, is taken for granted by most – but when it is not known it effects the quality of life. Thanks for reminding us all that our goal is raising well balanced children and not just kids who are smarter than their peers.

  4. One thing I would add to either your job skills list or your relationship list is how to properly shake hands. I coach homeschool debate and this is the first thing I teach my students, then we practice it every time we meet. I have had students, and my own children tell me that they received a job – over someone else who was applying because them manager was impressed with the confidence they showed in shaking hands.

  5. Pingback: Seventh and Eighth Grade Life Skills: Resources | The Parenting Passageway

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