The Adulting School in Maine holds live and online classes to teach millennials the basic skills - think budgeting, paying bills, meal planning, sewing, and simple "making" and "fixing" - needed to survive and thrive as adults. The founders of The Adulting School reference changes in school curriculum, family dynamics, and the pace of society as contributors factors to the need for this special kind of education, and to be honest, I get it. Sadly, I regularly hear from Tom (a college professor) about, read stories about, and witness for myself circumstances in which young adults don't actually know how to behave and/or take care of themselves like adults. I certainly didn't have it all together when I moved away from home for college - or even when I started my first job after graduation - but thanks to my mom's hard work, I knew how to do my own laundry, cook a meal, and put together an Ikea shelf.
I decided I couldn't let Will and Hallie end up in need of such a school, so I created a list of what I hoped to teach them in 2017 and then set to work.
I realized as I wrote this post that I should have printed my Adulting list and hung it on my refrigerator. Throughout the year we worked through about half of the tasks, but without a regular visual reminder, quite a few slipped my mind. Here's our official report card:
From the list of new-to-them skills, both kids can cut an apple, scramble an egg, dust the furniture, clean the bathroom, fold basic laundry* (socks, underwear, dishtowels, and cleaning rags), set the table, write thank you notes, hammer nails, screw in screws, and shake hands firmly. Will can also create a simple budget and calculate a tip, and Hallie has become much better at making small talk. Not from the list, Will can vacuum the car, Hallie has become a fairly capable baker, and both kids can rake leaves, pull weeds, use the leaf blower, change lightbulbs, mop floors, and chop ("safe", for lack of a better word) fruits and vegetables.
I completely forgot to teach them how to cook pasta, make tacos, wash dishes, set a holiday table, sew on a button, mend a small hole, change a flat tire, make a financial donation, and open a bank account. Tom showed both kids how to jumpstart a car, so they understand the process but obviously couldn't yet tackle that one alone. And although we work on table manners EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, Will still chews with his mouth open and Hallie drapes not just her elbows but half of her body on the table. I can't figure out why table manners are such a challenge...
In 2018, I hope to tackle what's left on the 2017 list, plus a few additional jobs:
- Create a grocery list from a recipe
- Shop from a list at the grocery store
- Cook pasta
- Make tacos
- Wash dishes
- Set a holiday table
- Sew on a button
- Mend a small hole
- Sort laundry*
- Order pizza online
- Order pizza over the phone
- Leave a phone message
- Take a phone message
- Treat minor cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns
- Change a flat tire
- Make a financial donation
- Open a bank account
Here's to 2018 and (hopefully) raising kids who are slightly less likely to require an education at The Adulting School!
* I know lots of kids my children's ages already sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away their own laundry. Mine don't, for two reasons. First, for me it's more efficient and economical to wash everyone's whites together, everyone's darks together, everyone's towels together, etc. in full-sized loads than it is for Will to wash just his darks or Hallie to wash just her dance clothes in small loads. Second, I am particularly particular about laundry. I've had too many items ruined because they weren't sorted properly or took an accidental turn in the dryer, and this always makes me feel like I've thrown money away. I also want my/our clothes to look nice (relatively speaking, of course. Can an 11-year-old boy's athletic shorts look nice?) and I've yet to successfully teach the other three members of my family to fold to my standards. I will relinquish control in a lot of areas, but this isn't one of them...yet.