Life Skills

I hate to admit it, but  . . .

If I got a flat tire on the side of the road, I wouldn’t know what to do.

I’ve only mowed the lawn twice in my entire life.

I don’t know how to change the filter in my furnace (or even when it’s supposed to be changed).

When I got married, I barely knew how to make macaroni and cheese (from a box!).

The truth is being a successful adult is more than just being well-educated. It’s also knowing how to successfully navigate the world around you. I had a decent scholarly education, but there are still areas of my life where my skills and knowledge are woefully inadequate.

I’m determined that my kids will not entire their adult lives with the same gaps. (At least, as much as I can help it!)

So I’ve put together a series of “classes” to help me make sure that we’re covering all the bases. To create these, I used my own experience, along with lists I found in The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Boyack and The Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion by Diann Jeppson.

Here’s a sample of one of the classes:

Clothing Skills Class


You will be able take complete responsibility for your clothing. You will know how to shop for clothes, sew your own clothes, and take care of the clothes you own—including laundry and mending.


When you have completed this class, you will receive an agreed upon yearly clothing budget from Mom and Dad to take care of your clothing needs.


Complete each of the following items twice, at least one month a part. When you have finished, please have Mom or Dad check what you did and date when you finished.

  • Sew on a button
  • Mend a tear or hole
  • Hem pants or dress
  • Iron a white dress shirt
  • Iron a skirt or dress pants
  • Treat a stain
  • Sew an article of clothing from a pattern

You must also complete the following:

  • Do your own laundry completely for six months, including sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away.
  • Plan a yearly wardrobe.

As each kid turns eight (or thereabouts), I give them a binder with all of the classes printed out. We look through them together, and they choose ones to work on that look interesting. I don’t force them to work on anything, but I do encourage them to look at their options regularly.

Some items (like learning how to clean a bathroom) happen naturally as part of daily life, other items (like learning how to budget) take a little more planning.

The number of skills that I need to make sure my kids know can seem overwhelming at times. But I’ve still got years ahead of me, and so I keep telling myself that slow and steady wins the race. There are also a few things on the list that I look forward to learning right along with them.

If you would like to use my lists for your own kids, I’ve posted all my classes here (under the Downloads menu). I’ve created classes for the following:

  • Arts Skills
  • Auto Skills
  • Clothing Skills
  • Computer Skills
  • Financial Skills
  • Food Skills
  • Health Skills
  • Home and Yard Skills
  • Physical Skills
  • Pre-Scholar Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Spiritual Skills (specifically LDS)

Last month, Dad taught Pepper how to change the filter in our furnace. Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do!


Filed under Resources and Reviews

7 responses to “Life Skills

  1. Janice Spence-Sharpe

    This is my first time exploring your blog. I enjoyed your entry on Life Skills. I read through 4 or 5 of your classes in the download section. I am impressed with your thoughtfulness and plan to share some of your ideas with my family. Thanks for sharing your process/ideas. Janice

  2. Ruth

    This makes YW personal progress seem pretty pansy! Way to go!

  3. Karen

    I absolutely love it! It covers such a great breadth and depth of things that I want to teach my children. I appreciate the thoughtfulness you put into the classes and love the privileges that can be earned. It is something I look forward to implementing in our home. Thank you for sharing!

    • taperkey

      The response to these skills classes has been overwhelming. I’m so glad that I am able to share what I’ve put my time into.

  4. rachel matteson

    Thank You for sharing your forms! They cover a lot, are completely doable, and cover the essentials without going off on tangents before their time(something I would have probably done!) Thanks for keeping it simple and to the point! Life Skills for Kids is a great book too.

  5. Angie

    This is amazing. Thank you for not only putting the time into creating these but also sharing them with others. You’re so generous!

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