How to Get Your Student Ready for College Life – Starting in Middle School
Where to start?
Early! Don’t wait till your student’s final year of high school. If you do, you’ll create relational tension and strife. Cramming all of the necessary life skills down your child’s throat a year before they leave your home will rob you of much needed time to build relational credit before they fly the coup.
Make a plan.
As soon as your student enters middle school, grab your calendar and set aside once a month ‘date nights’. Engage your son or daughter’s interest by involving them in decisions. As they mature and evolve, they will pick things that interest them which generates a thirst to learn.
How to involve them?
1. Create a list of date night places you can afford to eat.
2. Create a list of the list skills you want to teach your student.
3. Set aside an evening every month to go on a date.
4. Using the lists you created, ask your child to pick one place they want to eat, and one skill they want to learn.
5. Decide who is best suited to teach that skill – father, mother, grandparents, family friend, mentor, etc. When possible ‘do’ and/or ‘demonstrate’ the skill rather than ‘talking’ or giving verbal instructions.
Make a list of life skills
1. Change a tire and schedule regular car maintenance
2. Sort and do laundry
3. Iron clothes
4. Shop for grocery and clothes
5. Use a vacuum cleaner and empty it
6. Make their bed
7. Cook simple, healthy and economical meals
8. Do the dishes
9. Clean and use cleaning products safely
10. Schedule a doctor’s appointment and fill prescriptions
11. Create a budget to live within their finances means
12. Use a credit card wisely and be aware of pitfalls of using credit poorly
13. Pay bills on time
14. Maintain a calendar
15. Prioritize tasks
16. Exercise good personal hygiene
17. Be self aware
18. Solve problems
19. Use good social skills and manners including the ability to ask for forgiveness and admit fault
20. Create boundaries and respect themselves in the decisions they make
21. Use public transportation safely
22. Protect their digital ID
23. Memorize a few vital phone numbers and their SS #
24. Carry their insurance and vital information at all times
25. Do routine household maintenance like changing light bulbs, unclogging the toilet, etc
26. How to tip
27. Save documents for the sake of taxes
28. How to deal with a fender bender without having a melt down or calling home
29. Make appointments
A word of caution
Once you teach a skill, give them the space to practice it. We all have different learning styles and brain dominance. This means there is a very high possibility that your child might tackle few or all the tasks differently than you do – that okay! Additionally give them the space to fail without criticizing them. Often, failures and mistakes are the best teachers.