High School Helpline typography
with Cheryl A. Bastian
We’re tackling some of the most common questions parents ask and sharing simple action steps to make it easy.
Can my high schooler earn credit for learning life skills?
Yes, a resounding yes! Life skills matter.
Our carpet needed to be replaced. We researched and discussed economical options as a family, placed samples in bedrooms, and compared material content and application methods. Each family member shared ideas and thoughts and some accompanied me to suppliers. Sadly, once we made our decision, we discovered installation costs to be higher than expected. My dad insisted we could learn valuable skills and offered to oversee the project. He taught the teens how to remove baseboards, lay material, and miter corners. We all contributed and were thrilled with the results, albeit the challenges we faced. The researching, planning, and installation of our new flooring became part of the course Home and Auto Maintenance for one of my learners.

No doubt life circumstances, or personal interests, have ushered in learning opportunities for your high schoolers.

What skills might my high schooler be learning that are worthy of credit, and under what title would each be included?
So much is being accomplished in your home that can count toward credit. It’s impossible to list every valuable skill a high schooler could learn, but hopefully this short list will provide some ideas to help you recognize the possibilities.

  • Participate in a group exercise class or online workout videos to build cardiovascular health—Personal Fitness or Nutrition and Wellness
  • Train for and run a 5K—Personal Fitness
  • Learn first aid for common athletic injuries: sprains, strains, bruises, and breaks—Personal Fitness or First Aid or Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
  • Complete a Red Cross first aid course or CPR certification—Personal Fitness or Nutrition and Wellness or Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
  • Become a lifeguard or get scuba certified—Personal Fitness or Water Sports
  • Enroll in a culinary class—Nutrition and Wellness
  • Safely start and use a gas grill—Food Preparation or Nutrition and Wellness
  • Discuss medical insurance policies—Nutrition and Wellness
  • Discuss impulse buying—Personal Finance
  • Understand a cell phone contract: cost, damage and protection plan, data/text limitations, memory, and features— Personal Finance
  • Calculate the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, and travel for one year of post-secondary education at schools of choice—Personal Finance
  • File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)—Personal Finance
  • Discuss financial aid packages differentiating between scholarships, grants, loans, and work study—Personal Finance
Can you give some examples of content for the most common life skills courses?
Personal Finance
Personal finance could include:

  • budgeting, saving, and spending
  • managing bank accounts
  • analyzing debt risks
  • understanding mortgages, loans, taxes, and interest
  • investing and planning for retirement

Nutrition and Wellness
Nutrition and wellness could include guidelines for the general population or be specific to an individual’s needs. Consider:

  • planning and preparing healthy meals, adapting for individual’s limitations as needed
  • understanding the relationship between nutrition and wellness
  • knowing the importance of safe food handling (Food preparation could become a stand-alone elective or be intertwined with nutrition and wellness.)

Home Economics
Should a teen delve deeper into home economics, consider:

  • fabric and textile care
  • assembling a sewing kit: assorted needles, straight and safety pins, threads, measuring tape, seam ripper, buttons
  • sewing basics: threading a needle, sewing a button, hand-sewing stitches
  • cooking methods: boiling, steaming, frying, baking, roasting, grilling
  • cooking basics: boiling an egg, chopping vegetables, sifting flour, making substitutions
  • canning and food preservation

Driver’s Education
This course includes knowledge, skills, and habits of responsible drivers, incorporating:

  • economic, personal, and social losses attributed to traffic accidents
  • traffic laws relative to circumstances and situations
  • attitudes and emotions affecting driving
  • pedestrian responsibility and safety
  • managing adverse weather conditions and emergency situations
  • factors influencing a driver’s ability including alcohol, drugs, distracted driving, road rage, and severe weather

Many states offer public instructional courses, and insurance companies may provide driving journals to record behind-the-wheel hours.

Home and Auto Maintenance
This is an excellent choice for teens preferring hands-on learning or group instruction taught by a knowledgeable person. Content can easily be divided into two individual courses dependent upon learner interest and depth. How-to guides or online tutorials can bolster instruction. Consider including:

  • calculating coverage, purchasing supplies, preparing walls, and painting a room
  • measuring, calculating, and purchasing new flooring
  • demonstrating basic home maintenance: patch a hole in the wall, find a stud, caulk tub or shower, change toilet tank mechanism, clean rain gutters, hang a door
  • purchasing, maintaining, and cleaning a vehicle: check fluids, tire pressure, changing a flat tire and oil
  • using the owner’s manual
  • maintaining first aid and emergency kits for home and auto

Additional resources include:

Will these courses look different for each family?
Home education offers the ability to tailor courses to the learner. Life skills are no different. In fact, it can be difficult finding specific pre-written, individualized curriculums for these courses.

For our family, when the curriculum needed to be individualized, we found topic-specific books, instructional manuals, online resources, and video tutorials most beneficial—particularly for skills with which we were unfamiliar. Searching for high school course syllabi or course descriptions online also provided direction if we needed content options. Most importantly, my high schoolers contributed ideas based on interest, current knowledge, and depth of study.

High school is about gaining knowledge and skills and applying those skills to real-life scenarios. It’s about teens and young adults identifying a problem, knowing where to find resources and answers, and finding a solution. That process is invaluable and builds confidence to learn skills and fuel life learning.
Cheryl Bastian headshot

heryl Bastian has been married to Mike for twenty-eight years and began homeschooling in 1993. A mother of eight children—toddler through adult—Cheryl knows the trials and triumphs of embracing each season of life and is passionate about equipping and inspiring parents who want to nurture a desire for lifelong learning in their children.