Monday, January 25, 2016

Junior High Junction: Life Skills for Middle Schoolers

Welcome to the Junior High Junction - the link up for all things junior high! If you linked up last week, thanks! I look forward to reading all of the fun posts this week!
This week, I'm going to talk about life skills for our Junior High students.
{Life skills are skills necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life.}

There are so many life skills that our kids are going to need as they graduate, find jobs, go to college, and {sob} leave home. I am going to mention five of the skills that my kids will learn while they are middle-school aged {around ages 10-14, or grades 5-8}. There are lots of life skills I will wait to teach them until they are high school aged.
1.) Manners and Etiquette - Manners should be taught from the time a child is old enough to walk and talk, but etiquette is a little bit different from manners. Here is the definition of etiquette: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. There are so many etiquette rules that even I don't know, and I am 30 years old! I found this awesome, etiquette lesson plan book that I am ordering today for my children. It teaches things like addressing grown-ups, when to shake hands, attending parties, conversations, conversation no-no's, and so much more. There are 125 short, child-led lessons in this book.
2.) Laundry - Knowing how to properly load a washing machine, which clothes to dry in the dryer and which clothes to hang up to dry, and how to fold and put away laundry is a vital skill. My 13 year old daughter helps to fold and hang up  most of our clean laundry, and I have taught her how to sort laundry and load the washer and dryer. I have yet to teach my 10 year old son, but it is going to happen soon. Not only will this be a skill your child can use to help you around the house,  but something they will need to know when they have their own place to live {unless you want to do their laundry for the rest of their lives}. If you have to, make a list of laundry rules to hang up in your laundry room!
3.) Cooking Skills - My daughter loves to cook and bake, and she has been cooking for years. She can cook an entire meal if I need her to. The skills you need to show your child are: how to follow a recipe, how to properly measure dry and liquid ingredients {my daughter actually did a 4H demonstration on this last year and won 2nd place!}, how to peel vegetables, how to safely use a knife, how to boil pasta, brown beef, boil and shred chicken, and how to use kitchen appliances. If your child makes mistakes or their first meal doesn't turn out right, it's okay! My daughter has made many mistakes - using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, scorching food by forgetting to stir, and several more. I make mistakes cooking, too. Some easy things to start teaching your kids to cook would be tacos, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, soup, and a cake from a mix.
4.) Using Tools - Giving our children the opportunity to use real tools to perform real life tasks boosts their confidence and teaches them valuable life skills. Knowing how to use a screwdriver, hammer, power drill, hand saw, and tape measure are things every child should know. Give them a pile of scrap wood and access to tools and see if they don't create something! Help them build a bird house, a small sand box for a younger sibling, or even a bookshelf for their room. Let them replace the batteries in their brother's toys, hang a picture on the wall for you, swap out a door knob, or fix the broken chair leg. Even simple things, like changing a light bulb or installing a new toilet seat, are important to know! With supervision, middle school aged kids should be able to do a variety of things using real tools.

5.) Purchasing Items at a Store -  This may seem insignificant, but knowing how to find an item, pay for it, and receive change and a receipt is important. Allow your child to run into the grocery store to grab a bag of sugar or a gallon of milk, pay for it, and bring you the change. As they get older, give them a short list of things to buy. Allow them to use your debit card to pay to get practice. You could even give them a certain amount of money {say, $20} to buy the things needed to cook a meal. Let them chose the meal, find the ingredients, and pay for the items. Then, you could even let them cook the meal for another life skill!
There are so many more life skills I have planned for my children. I'll have to make another post with 5 more soon! Is there anything you have taught your kids that I left off my list?


  1. Its being able to teach skills like these that really make me appreciate homeschooling. I love that my kids can do laundry, cook, bake and budget their money. I definitely want to have them plan an entire meal around a budget though; that's a good one!

  2. I love the real tools. My kiddos have learned how to do many things with tools, change toilets, help dad put in showers, fix cars, etc. It's great! Thanks for hosting this link up!!!

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  4. Love the list of skills. We are also trying to be intentional about teaching life skills. I would add to your cooking list the skill of meal planning. I love that my girls like to plan meals and are learning to think about what is in the fridge, freezer, and cupboard when adding things to the meal plan for the week. They also know to add things to the grocery list when they use something we keep all time that is getting low. Great skills. Thanks for sharing!