After the Diploma, Transitioning from Student to Adult

The big day has finally arrived and your child is all grown up. Today they will receive their High School Diploma. For many homeschoolers, this represents the culmination of years of planning, hard work, and sacrifice. However, this is not the time to step completely out of your child’s life and let them make all their decisions on their own. Do not set them up to fail!

Let’s be honest. The difference between being 17 and being 18 is 24 hours on a clock. Just as your child did not have all the life skills they needed to be an adult the morning of their 18th Birthday, they may still need some guidance past the day they graduate High School. As parents, our job is to work ourselves out of a job. We have been teaching our children since they were little, and the skills we teach them on the transition from High School to their adult life are just as important as when we taught them how to walk or tie their shoes.

Our oldest daughter graduated from High School in early December. While her classes taught her a lot about life and how to learn, these past few months have been an opportunity to teach her truths about adulthood and how to navigate these sometimes treacherous waters.

One major example is finances. While Emily’s Senior math course taught her how to make a budget, and balance a sample checkbook, actually sitting down and creating her own budget and balancing her checking account register with her statement each month are skills we have worked on together. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to discussing money with your graduate. Show them examples of how much they will need to save up for a major purchase, like college textbooks or a used car, and they will more readily understand why you want them to be saving most of the money they earn instead of spending it all.

Recently Emily and I have been talking about the other adult skills she has been learning these past few months. Whether your graduate wants to go to college or get a job, there are realistic skills they need to work on, and these are easier to learn from the safe place of home rather than learning them all through trial and error.

A Word from a Graduate

Emily’s word of warning to all those soon to be graduates? “Unless you are going to work for one of those curriculum companies you used in High School, or you get a job at the Creation Museum, there are going to be people who curse around you and at you at work. Get over it and remember they were not raised like you were.” This fits under the skill of learning to work with others. Your child is going to encounter some unpleasantness, have you as the parent taught them how to deal with it, when to ignore it, and the respectful way to address it with their supervisor or professor if needed?

Here is a rundown of some skills that will help your graduate transition to adulthood:

  • Driving a car, or learning how to take public transportation
  • Balancing their checkbook, even if they always pay with their bankcard
  • Knowing when to take a concern to their supervisor or professor
  • Being able to answer the phone and take a message in a professional manner
  • Understanding how to respectfully disagree with someone without loosing their temper
  • Knowing how to defend their faith without shaming or belittling those of other faiths
  • Being able to do their own laundry, start to finish, without any help
  • Time management: work, play, eat, and sleep, and still keep their commitments
  • Caring enough about others to put them first, and show a genuine interest in their lives
  • Knowing how to prepare a variety of foods so they can eat more than PBJ and ramen noodles for the next six months
  • How to use a map other than the one on their phone

Your recent graduate is going to be learning a whole lot of things in a very short amount of time. As their parents, you should be a safe haven in their new adult world. Be willing to offer them advice, support, and a lot of hugs. There will be good days, and bad days, and sometimes they just need your shoulder to cry on. Be the loving constant in their ever-changing world. You will continue to tie heart-strings, and you will be amazed at what God does in their lives!


A big Thank You to Carol E of Home Sweet Life for writing this article.

2 thoughts on “After the Diploma, Transitioning from Student to Adult”

  1. Our son is getting ready to graduate so this topic is hitting home right now. Thank you for this post! I firmly agree with everything you’ve said. Graduation is just the beginning. There are so many things to cover and teach that go WAAAAAAYYYY beyond textbooks.


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