Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mom's List for High School Graduation

I am naturally a list-maker and I guess it is no different when it comes to how I raise my children.  Now that we have teenagers I can see the end of my hands-on parenting days and I have a mental list of things I want them to accomplish before they fly the coup when they graduate from High School.  Malcolm is in University, so he has accomplished most of the list, but now that Kate is in Grade 12 and William is in Grade 10, the pressure is on. 

I thought you might be interested to see the list:


Learn to cook.  While all 3 kids have made cakes (from mixes), and cookies (from scratch) from an early age, they have not often cooked dinner.  I don't know why - I guess I'm too lazy to make them do it, and they're busy with school and things.  Anyway it has never really happened, especially for Kate, who is the least interested in cooking of the three.  I would like them each to be able to cook about 5 different dinners so that they can survive on their own.

Clean the house. See what I mean - some people need instruction on what to do with a vacuum cleaner.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but they need to know the basics of keeping a house clean - how to vacuum, dust, clean toilets, shine mirrors etc. 

 (I don't know who this little munchkin is, but isn't she the cutest!!!)

Do laundry. A very important skill that is needed even in University residences.  Enough said.


Read a book on finances.  There are many, many, many books out there, but this is the one I have them read.  While I don't agree with everything she says, I do like the fact that she explains finances in easy to understand language.  The book is well-written, engaging, and she gives advice that makes sense.  She goes through the hows and whys of saving money, giving, setting up different accounts and how and why to stay out of debt.  Not only is she giving good advice, but she has had to use her own advice, as she was $100,000 in debt back in the early 1980s and has worked and worked and is now debt-free.  We likely should have discussed and done a more hands-on approach to all this as the kids were growing up, yadda, yadda, yadda, but you know what, it didn't happen.  But I do still want them to know about finances.  I figure even if they forget the details in this book they will know they can always re-read it again later.


Pass Bronze Medallion.  This is a swimming course - not sure what other areas have, but here in Canada when you pass your Bronze Medallion you have a basic level of swimming proficiency, water safety, and lifesaving skills.  Our kids go on canoe trips every year at the summer camp they attend - either as campers or leaders.  For my peace of mind, I want them to have some level of first aid and water safety skills on these trips.  A few years ago, Malcom had to use his skills when one of his campers had a grand mal seizure on a 5-day canoe trip.


Learn to Drive.  Yep I think this is an important skill and surprisingly not one that any of them are keen to get.  I especially think this one is important because I didn't learn to drive until I was in my 30s.  It is much harder to learn to drive after you leave home, so I am encouraging them all to get their driver's licence while they are still living at home.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), driver testing in Ontario is a 2-stage process.  While this is good for reducing accidents (I guess, although I've never heard it really helps), it is a pain for the kids to get both tests finished by the end of high school (or maybe that is just my kids).

Okay now, let's see how we are doing -

1. Learn to cook:  Malcolm = yes, Kate = no, William = almost.  See, I need to get that girl cooking.

2. Clean the house:  Malcolm = yes, Kate = yes, William = yes.  Kate and William each clean a bathroom or vacuum part of the house almost every weekend.  (Malcolm is away at University, but he did his share when he was living at home).  I'm not exactly a neat freak but we do a weekly clean-up and each of the kids usually are given one job to do.
3. Do laundry:  Malcolm = yes, Kate = yes, William = yes.  One of the treats in starting Grade 9 is that you are responsible for doing your own laundry.  That means they have all had 4 years of practice before leaving home.
4. Read a book on finances: Malcolm = yes, Kate = no, William = no.  Looks like someone is going to be doing some reading soon.
5. Pass Bronze Medallion:  Malcolm = yes, Kate = yes, William = yes.  Thank heavens they are all done.  William just got his in December, which is good timing as he will be going on a 12-day canoe trip this summer into the wilds of Northern Ontario.
6. Learn to drive:  Malcolm = passed the first level, Kate = no, William = no.  Oops, not doing so well with this one.  Malcolm was booked to take the final highway portion of the driving test this past summer, when gosh darn it, the examiners went on strike.  The strike is over, but with Malcolm away at University it makes it difficult to book a time, not to mention that there is a huge backlog of people wanting tests.  That is pretty much Kate's excuse as well, although I do need to book her Driver's Ed course and get her going with this.  William, is off-the-hook as he is too young still.

TOTAL: Malcolm = 5 1/2 out of 6, Kate = 3 out of 6, William = 3 1/2 out of 6.  

We're getting there, but there is still some work to do.  How about you, do you have a list of goals for your teenagers?


  1. Grace, thanks for visiting my blog! I have to say that when I was a teenager, my dad really instilled in me the importance of saving and investing my money. I think that was the most important thing I learned before college. Also, driving was a plus! haha

    ps - I still hate cooking at age 30. Oh well!

  2. what a great idea! i have often talked about all the things that i wish i had known when i graduated from high school. there are so many "real world" challenges that so many kids don't EVER learn! i love your list. i think my favorites are #3 and #4.

  3. I WISH that the moms of my acquaintance had a list like this! so many of my peers (guys AND girls in their late 20's) can barely do any of these things. I myself didn't learn to drive until I was 21 (and yes, that complicated ontario driving permit system was almost entirely to blame!)

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting today :)

  4. Hi Sara, Autumn, and Anne. Thanks for visiting.

    There is so much to teach kids, isn't there. It's a challenge - for the parents and the teens.

    Anne, I didn't realize you were from Ontario as well. It's hard enough to get your driver's licence without having to take 2 tests - crazy.

  5. That is an excellent list for all to read :) Love it!

  6. I LOVE this post! It is such a good list of things to make sure our offspring are prepared for 'real' life. I am totally inspired to think about a list for my two children!!!

  7. Great minds think alike Grace! My oldest son 21 is faring well with the exception of cooking. The army has a lot to do with that :) My 19 year old is nearly there. My 16 year old is the focus at the moment and I think the 10 year old will right behind her withexception of driving:) Great post!!