Here is my list of things that every able bodied student should know before leaving high school.  Some of these are obvious and many of these life skills are being taught one way or another in most schools today.  However, I occasionally hear or see examples of people who have slipped through the cracks and haven’t learned these essential life skills.  These are the life skills in my opinion that every student should know before leaving high school.

1. Read phonetically

I sometimes see kids who have not learned how to read phonetically struggle.  I wonder how they’re going to manage as they get older.  At least if they learn phonetics, they might be able to figure out how to pronounce it correctly.

2. Manual Dictionary operation

It always amazes me how lazy kids of today have gotten.  They’ll ask someone for a definition of a word or they’ll look it up on the internet but they won’t go to a dictionary.  Whenever my kids asked the meaning of a word, if there was a dictionary around I would tell them to look it up.  Not because I didn’t know, but because I wanted them to have the experience of doing it manually.  There were those times that I didn’t know,  so I would tell my kids let’s look it up together.

3. Basic Thesaurus operation

A very useful tool for creative writing and trying to explain complex ideas by finding synonyms and antonyms.

4. Basic spelling

It’s important to get the spelling correct and to use the word in its proper context.  Some favorites are (their, there, and they’re).

5. Basic grammar

How we say something is sometimes more important than what we say.  If it gets lost in the translation, then we FAIL to communicate.

6. Library Usage

Every student should know what the Dewey Decimal System is and how to lookup a book.  Once the student has the book’s address, they should be able to navigate the library to find it on the shelves.

7. Tell analog time

Notice I didn’t say tell time.  Of course everyone should learn to tell time.  The problem is that most of the time, everyone is happy that the student learns how to tell digital time because it seems like everybody has a cell phone or digital alarm clock.  But what if you’re in a situation where there is no power.  Only mechanical clocks were functional.  How would everybody tell time?

8. Time Management

Speaking of time.  Students should learn how to break up an assignment into smaller manageable parts so they will proactive in completing their assignments before they’re due.

9. Practical Math Skills

Obviously the basics are Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division.  Some other useful skills are measurement, fractions, percentage, area.

10. Read and Write cursive handwriting

I am afraid cursive handwriting is becoming a lost art in some parts of the country.  Cursive handwriting is a skill that everyone should learn and master.

11. Basic Finances

We have a whole generation of kids whose parents have not taught their kids about finances.  They leave it to the school system.  I’m not sure if the kids just weren’t listening or if it’s not being taught.

I think students should learn these skills:

  • How to save
  • How write a check and balance a checkbook.
  • How to create a budget
  • How to avoid debt
  • How to get out of debt
  • How to handle money
  • How to make change

12. Communication skills

Students should learn Public Speaking, Presentation, Social interaction, Networking.  Basically how to work together to accomplish things in the real world.

13. Career skills

Students need to know how hiring happens in the real world. They should learn these skills (Professionalism, Employment Applications, Resume writing, Interviewing, Salary Negotiation)

14. Core Values, Life Mission & Vision

Discovering who a person is and what their mission is life is very important to having a successful career.  Many times, the students have no clue, they take a skills test and that becomes their life.  But their life could become so much more if they better understood who they are.

15. Career Vision & Mission

Discovering what a student is good at and what they might be successful at is a good thing.  But many times I think we fall short in that we don’t help the student enough in helping them discover their Career Vision and Mission, what it takes to accomplish their vision.

16. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual method for representing ideas that inspires creativity and helps people to organize their thoughts more effectively.  It was developed by Tony Buzan and has been proven to help all students to improve their ability to learn.

Do you agree or disagree with my list?  Did I miss some?  Was I too nice? 😉

Please reply to this post and share your opinions.