1. Addressing an envelope. This seems like a no brainer, right? Everyone knows how to address an envelope. Except they don't. Letter writing is a lost art (which I just wrote about). If they can't write a letter, how do we expect them to know how to address envelopes. It isn't until 8th grade that they even learn postal abbreviations for states. This means that along with those letters people are going to start receiving from us, envelopes will be addressed by the kids.
2. Writing a check. We live in a credit card world. Tap, swipe, even scan your phone. Some things, though, can not be paid via credit card. My plumber, he doesn't accept Venmo. Some things require an old fashioned check. Thankfully, this is actually something I had thought about years and years ago. I saved the checks from an old, closed out account. The kids actually did fairly well writing checks. The writing out the amount was the only part they had to get instructions for. We are very fortunate because our school did teach cursive, so my kids can both sign their names. There are way too many kids out there who can not.
3. Balance a checkbook. Let me be honest. I don't balance a checkbook anymore. It's all online. I do check it online and make sure transactions are correct, but as far as balancing, I let the computer do that. Starting out though, it's important that kids understand the relationship between their purchases and their money. While is not exactly balancing a checkbook, my kids have counted up the money in their piggy banks and then had to subtract their purchases to see how much they had left. Same concept, but, again, in this digital world, one that is forgotten about.
4. Saving money. My kids know all about budgeting (if you have not taught your kids this, I strongly suggest it). We've been working on budgets since they were little. My kids know how to save up for something they have a tangible number for. For example, several years back, Monster wanted to save up for a Lego Mindstorm. He knew the cost. He saved and saved until he got it. He did a fantastic job. He had a goal and obtained it. However, we need to teach kids to save money for less tangible goals. In two years Monster will 16 (!). We are trying to encourage him to save for a car. Unfortunately for my children, we can't buy our children cars for their birthdays like so many people do for their children. So, my kids will have to save up. A car is more difficult to save for. First, it seems like so far in the future, even though two years will fly by. They have no idea how to drive. They don't know what kind of car they will get. They don't have an amount that it costs. It's difficult to save money for so many unknowns. Yet, we need to teach this. Sure, you can spend your money on junk, but then, in two years when you want a car, you won't be able to afford it. This helps prepare for the real world. You want to buy a house? Don't spend your money of unnecessary things.
5. How to read and follow a recipe. I was originally going to say, "how to cook", but it's more than just that. A lot of kids can not follow a recipe. A recipe includes making sure you have all your ingredients, looking at the steps ahead of time to make sure you know what you're doing, and then following through. It also means using common sense. If you are going to be making several things, you need to make sure you understand timing. If you want to have dinner at 5:30 and whatever you are cooking takes 35 minutes in the oven, you need to be able to factor in prep time and cook time to know when you have to start a meal. My kids have been cooking and baking since they were old enough to hold a spoon. However, we normally tell them what to do. We normally tell them when to start. Sunshine likes to bake and cook more than Monster, so she has more experience with this since she does it more often. Whenever we can, we try to get Monster involved and give him a recipe to follow. Even if you don't bake or cook often, you need to understand how to use recipe.
6. How often to change sheets and towels. We all know we need to teach kids to do laundry, but, if your kids are like mine, they believe clean sheets and towels just magically appear.
7. How to mow a lawn. Both males and females need to know how to mow the lawn. You never know when you're going to have to do it.
8. How to peel vegetables. I remember the first time I had my kid peel a potato. It was comical. He literally had no idea what to do. Growing up, that was my job in the kitchen. My father likes to tell the story of how the first time he ever peeled a potato was in the Army. It's a skill I've always taken for granted, but so many kids don't know how to do it.
9. How to use basic tools. Crazy as it sounds, there are adults out there who don't know how to use basic tools. They don't know how to take measurements with a ruler or tape measure. Those won't be my children. We keep encouraging them to help us with home projects. We put them to work taking measurements, and using screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, and even saws.
I hate to leave this list with only 9, but those are all I can really think of for now. I know that throughout the next few years, I'll come up with 100 more things. My hope is that I teach them what they need before they leave this house. However, I'll always be here for them, to teach them whatever I forgot, when they need it.