A friendly resource for women who want to lead better lives

Good Things Kids Should Know Before They Go to High School

A friend of mine who is a mom of 5 very nice and successful adult kids, and a grandmother of 14, recently posted this list on Facebook. Although my kids still have ways to go before their summer before high school I thought it was a great list, and one that I will certainly work towards as they grow.

What struck me about this list, which I like more than the chore lists that make the social media rounds every so often, is that it is about independence in an older child; a concept I really like and strive for.  I needed to share it.

Some good things kids should know before they go to high school. 

How to:

Set a table (knife, fork, spoon, napkin, water glass)
Address and stamp an envelope
Clear a table (from the left)
Make a bed with hospital corners
Write a thank-you note
Load a dishwasher
Shake hands with an adult
Hang up a wet towel
Play at least one card game
Scramble an egg
Use a public library
Sing the National Anthem
Do a load of laundry
Set an alarm clock
Wash a car
Use a can opener
Fold a T-shirt
Tell directions by the sunrise or sunset
Hug their mom and dad in public
Mow a lawn


I grew up with a healthy dose of independence and expectations of contributing to the family. My parents owned a business while I was growing up– my dad still does– which meant that they both worked until late in the evening. Through high school, my sister and I were expected to make dinner for the family many nights so that we all could have a nice meal together. We also had to work in my parents’ store many Saturday mornings, and I remember washing their cars long before I could drive.

However, I love the addition of social grace in this list. I didn’t learn to write thank-you notes until I was an adult, and I still fight my natural response to retrieve to a corner instead of introduce myself or shake hands with strangers and acquaintances, even in professional settings. I also love the addition of being able to show affection towards your parents in public. It sets a standard that no one should ever be too cool to show love for their family.

Thank you so much to Kris for coming up with this list, and thanks for letting me share it.

Does your high schooler know how to do all these? What else would you add?

– Olivia

2 Responses to “Good Things Kids Should Know Before They Go to High School”

  1. Beth H. Tolentino

    The shaking hands with adults is so important. We have a shy daughter and we had to teach her to “Open your face and smile.” Being introverted is totally fine and cool. Being rude isn’t.

    (Love lemonwater!)

    • oliviascribe

      Thanks Beth! I agree with the shaking hands, this coming from someone who is shy too. My parents were both very shy, especially my dad, so I didn’t see this modeled in my house enough. It is never too late to learn, right?! – Olivia


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