Basic Life Management Skills (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Your high school student probably already has most of the skills on this list, at least to some degree. Treat this checklist, then, as a gentle reminder not to pass by the couple of things he hasn’t nailed yet.

Note that this list does not include skills mentioned in other sections of the School in a Book series, including sports skills, art skills, logic and much more, nor does it include skills generally possessed by people under the age of six, such as memorizing one’s phone number.

General Life Management Skills

Cooking (baking, stovetop cooking)
Household cleaning (laundry, dishes, bathroom cleaning, etc.)
Time management
Money management, including budgeting, calculating interest, avoidance of debt, calculating highest affordable mortgage payment, saving for retirement, investing in the stock market, risk management, filing taxes, organizing financial records and more
Simple household maintenance, including testing and changing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, using a fire extinguisher, cleaning the roof and gutters, fixing leaky faucets, unclogging the toilet and more
Home organization
Basic self-defense
Basic car maintenance, including changing the oil, checking tire pressure, checking fluid levels and more
Basic first aid
Child care
Public transportation use
Sewing
Writing formal letters and emails
Typing
Emergency procedure memorization
Good hygiene
Nutrition and exercise
Disease prevention, including STDs
Reproductive responsibility and health
Owning and operating a business, including basic accounting, creating a business plan, legal compliance, insurance and liability, marketing, project management and more
How to purchase a house
Online safety and security
How to choose and purchase home, health and car insurance
Basic wilderness survival
Map and compass use
Online source verification and vetting
Making change
Gardening
Recycling, reusing and environmental care
Creating a website
Designing flyers, brochures and more
Using the Microsoft Office suite and other important computer programs
Interviewing for jobs
Familiarity with important federal and local laws
Driving a car
Stress management
Addiction avoidance and effects of drugs
Keeping to-do lists and goal-setting lists, with steps to achieve those goals

Interpersonal Skills

Conflict resolution
Self-calming
Clear communication
Active listening without interrupting
Good eye contact
Good manners
Solid handshake
Voice projection
Saying “no”, “no, thanks,” and “really, no”
Asking questions
Talking to strangers
Relaxing without screens
Casual conversation/small talk
Crafting a convincing argument
Arguing interpersonally
Labeling and discussing emotions
Separating fact from emotion
Public speaking
Moral understanding
Shaking hands firmly
Good eye contact
Telling a joke (at least one good one)
Understanding other cultures, family types and gender identities
Understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships
Responding to anger or unkindness without anger or defensiveness, but instead with simple statements of fact (such as “I don’t agree” or “That’s interesting,) questions (such as “Why did you do that?”) or kindnesses (such as, “Are you okay?”)
Using simple consequences instead of physical force or emotional abuse to get what you want. (For example, “If you do that, I am not going to play with you,” or, “If you are rough with my toys, I will take them away.”)

Self-Care Skills

Spending time alone
Engaging in hobbies
Deep breathing
Cognitive therapy (noticing one’s automatic thoughts and beliefs and, if negative, intentionally disputing them)
Healthy exercise habits
Healthy eating habits
Friendship maintenance
Spiritual practice
Meditation
Observing the mind

Personal Qualities To Develop

Love
Generosity
Humility
Faith
Hope, optimism and positivity
Purposeful cultivation of joy
Personal responsibility
Confidence
Non-attachment to the opinions of others
Purposeful cultivation of one’s highest self
Dignity
Respect for differences

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