Preparing our kids for adulthood is a process that takes, oh,. . . about 18 years give or take.
Every single thing we have done in our child’s life up to this point has been for the accomplishment of this one goal: to raise a little, tiny human being into a full-size human being who can take the baton from us and carry on.
In fact, it’s very much like a relay race, in which the baton pass is a process with a series of steps. Picture the parent, carrying the baton and running the race, and as the pass draws near the child starts running as well, coming up to speed. When the time is right, and both parent and child are running in unison, the parent reaches the baton forward. And now, in good timing, the child reaches to take the baton, with both parent and child holding the baton together for one moment. Finally, the parent lets go, the child fully takes hold of the baton independently, and continues down the track.
Is that too sentimental and poetic? Ah, well, you see my point. There’s no magic moment when a child suddenly becomes an adult. It’s a transitional process.
I’ve been thinking about this because a couple of weeks ago my 17-year-old daughter said, “MOM. I’m going to be 18 in 111 days…” Later, she came back and followed up with “Even though I’m not moving out right away, I need you to make sure I know everything I need to know to be an adult and live on my own.” <— Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for the last seventeen and a half years? Yes, yes it is!
As a good mom, I don’t want to pick on her because I know what she’s feeling. While all of my friends were hooping and hollering at our high school graduation, I cried. I felt like the best days were behind us. And with Catie’s graduation behind her, a full time college semester beginning next week, and her 18th birthday soon ahead, she’s feeling nostalgic for the good ol’ days of childhood gone by. And if I’m being honest,.. I am, too.
But this merry-go-round doesn’t stop! It keeps spinning. With that in mind, I decided to compile a list for Catie of “Everything you need to know before you move out,” and I enlisted the help of my friends and fellow homeschool bloggers.
We’ve come up with QUITE the list, let me tell you!!
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s pretty extensive. We brainstormed for several days. Bear in mind that my list is geared for life here in Texas. We don’t have basements so we don’t have sump pumps, for example. We don’t live in the big city, so we don’t have subways, buses, or taxis to know how to use. But I bet, wherever you are, most of this will be true for you, too! Check it out:
Things Your Kids Need to Know Before They Move Out
19 Things You Should Know About Cooking:
You should know how to:
- Make coffee
- Make hot tea
- Make sweet iced tea
- Cut/peel/chop various veggie types
- Bake a potato
- Scramble eggs
- Fry an egg
- Boil an egg
- Cook bacon
- Make biscuits from scratch or biscuit mix
- Cook chicken: pan fry and bake
- Make gravy from scratch and mix
- Make pancakes
- Make a few simple one-pot meals
- Make mac and cheese from scratch
- Follow a recipe
- Be able to confidently cook a week’s worth of meals
- How to dispose of grease
- How to put out different types of cooking fires.
There are SO many things to know about cooking. My goal was to cover basics and foundational stuff. If my child can cook cheap and easy things like potatoes, mac and cheese, fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy, then when they are strapped for cash as an adult they can make a cheap meal from scratch instead of turning to the boxed counterparts full of chemicals and junk.
8 Things You Should Know About Grocery Shopping:
Know how to:
- Make a meal plan, considering balanced food groups, and make a shopping list for the meal
- Choose various fruits and veggies
- Weigh fruits and veggies
- Choose meats
- Compare prices, unit count, etc
- Read labels
- Use card reader to pay for groceries
- Know how to walk into a store with cash and not need to put anything back at the register
14 Things You Need to Know About Cleaning:
You need to know how to:
- Clean stainless steel
- Clean enamel stovetop without scratching
- Clean various pots and pan types: cast iron, non-stick, stainless, etc.
- Clean water deposits around faucets etc
- Clean a toilet thoroughly
- Sort and wash laundry
- Clean a tub/shower/grout
- Make a bed well
- Wash and dry pillows
- Refresh stinky towels
- Load and use dishwasher, use dishwasher soap, (NOT dish soap!)
- Which dishes need to be hand washed and why and how to wash them
13 Things You Need to Know About Home Maintenance:
You should know how to:
- Change lightbulbs
- Discard old bulbs
- Change air filter
- Clean ac unit
- Unclog a toilet
- Unclog a sink/tub/shower drain
- What to do when the electricity is out
- What to do if you smell gas
- Check breakers, turn off electricity to one room or whole house
- Shut off water to one appliance or whole house
- What you can/can’t run through a garbage disposal (we don’t have one of these, either…)
- Clean garbage disposal
- Deal with clogged garbage disposal
10 Things You Should Know About Vehicle Maintenance:
You should know how to:
- Get annual car inspection/registration
- Check tire pressure
- Add air to tires
- Get tire checkups (at Discount Tire, etc)
- Check fluids
- Check/change filters
- Change a tire
- Change the oil, and/or have the oil changed
- Pump and pay for gas
- What dash lights mean, and when to stop driving car and call for help
14 Things You Should Know About Finances:
You need to know how to:
- Open a bank account
- Order checks
- Mail a check on time to pay bill on time
- Use the ATM
- Make a budget
- Balance the books
- Save and invest money
- Pay bills
- Do/pay taxes
- How to fill out job application — or other forms, loans, rental agreements, etc
- Choose a credit card
- Manage, monitor, and pay off credit cards
- Check your credit report for fraud
- Check/monitor/improve credit
7 Things You Should Know About Health Care:
- Basic nutrition/ balanced meals
- How to choose and take vitamins
- How to take your temperature, normal body temp
- How to treat: fever, allergy headache, sinus headache, tension headache, menstrual headache, migraine, congestion, seasonal allergies, sore throat
- Basic first aid for cuts, sprains, etc.
- When to go to a doctor
- How to fill a prescription
14 General Skills You Should Know How to Do:
- Build a fire
- Use a pocket knife
- Names and uses of basic tools
- Tie a knot
- Call and make appointments/set up meetings
- Who to call for various emergencies
- Plan for a small trip
- How to sew on a button
- How to repair or patch a small hole in clothing/bedding items*
- How to iron
- How to use landline phone
- How to use a fire extinguisher
- How to check and change batteries in fire alarms
- What to do in case of fire
And that’s 99 things your kids need to know before they move out!
Do Your Children Feel Prepared for Adulthood?
After we made our giant list of things to know, I had Catie mark all the items she already knows how to do, confidentially or partially. After marking each one, Catie sees how much she already does know. She also sees what she wants to practice or learn before she’s on her own. It was a good exercise for her!
But as any good homeschool mom would do, I’m not stopping with only a list. I’m seizing the teachable moment by the horns and planning to spend a couple weeks at a time on one section or two, semi-unit-study-style. =)
If you’re like me, you’ve already taught your teens most of these things, and you’re feeling pretty good. Go ahead and accept that pat on the back, you deserve it! But if you’re like me, you also see what you need to squeeze in while you still have the time.
What else would you add to this list?