Do you want your children to be successful? You want them to learn. But, as far as you can see, the skills they need in the future are not taken into account by their school. If you do not take them from the system and do not do home schooling, what can you do?

Well, you can use after school and weekends, and use this family time to share the knowledge that your kids really need to move forward in life. We’re not just talking about computer use here — rather, general self-employment skills that cover all aspects of life, skills they can use to prove their worth to employers, or even develop a self-employed career.

So where to start?

Wiring plug, lamp replacement

Many years ago there was a big push to promote learning basics like this for girls. It doesn’t matter these days if you’re the parent of a boy or a girl, plug wiring, fuse replacement, and light bulb replacement are still not covered at school. To be honest, I don’t know why.

As with all the items on this list, schools seem to be quietly implying that parents should be responsible for teaching them to be more practical for their children. And, of course, that’s a good thing — the problem is that parents rarely know what skills and specialties they should expose their children to. Schools offering guidance in this area are few (if they exist at all). This seems odd given the dangers of AC and DC electrical systems and their importance to Western civilization.

So, your first act as a parent of a child who has the necessary hand-eye coordination should be to explain the basics of connecting a plug, changing a fuse, buying and changing a light bulb. These related tasks can teach you a lot and are a good foundation for the other skills listed here.

Teach your kids to solder

Another vital skill that is very easy to master (and with an achievable learning curve) is soldering. This is one of those skills that is somehow overlooked by many, but nevertheless, combined with the right knowledge and/or instructions, it is extremely important; in essence, this is bonding in electronics.

Soldering can be used for anything from replacing parts on a circuit board to building a small radio transmitter. This is an incredibly useful DIY skill.

Our own soldering guide especially instructive.

Fix Old Gear: You’ll need a multimeter

Why did this old radio stop working? More importantly, can it be fixed?

There is only one way to find out the answer to both of these questions — a multimeter, an electronic diagnostic equipment that can be used to measure voltage and current. Problems in circuits — whether it’s wiring, circuit boards, or components — can be quickly tracked down, and knowing that your kids have snuck up on plug and solder replacements, the problem has been diagnosed and possibly fixed.

Multimeters are surprisingly cheap to buy and usually come with a digital display, a selector knob, and three or more ports to which plug-in probes are connected. Probes come in a variety of shapes, from needles to tweezers to alligator sets. When buying a multimeter, make sure it comes with every option and be sure to instruct your children on safe use.

Note . Although DC/Battery powered devices are generally safe to handle, never allow children to operate a live AC circuit. Continuity issues—checking if one wire is connected to another—should be diagnosed at power down and shutdown.

PC assembly

I was 16 years old when I started taking apart computers (and putting them back together!). Up until this point, affordable home hardware had mostly been integrated systems, but it was the Commodore Amiga that taught me about expansion slots and component replacement, and set me on the path to building my own computers.

With the flood of laptops, tablets, smartphones, hybrids, and Apple iMac-like all-in-ones currently flooding the personal computer market, you can be forgiven for not having to build your own PC. But most gamers will disagree, and neither will anyone looking to save money by building a reasonably powerful device.

But learning about possible futures where there could be massive unemployment or civilization could be on its knees, having some basic knowledge of computer construction could be a huge advantage, if only to demonstrate logical thinking and hand-eye coordination. Many of us will have a bunch of old components gathering dust, and still working equipment can usually be collected at the city junkyard or donated to the local FreeCycle message board — show your child how to build components into a working machine.

Wood and metal skills

They are becoming increasingly rare in schools these days, despite society using as much wood and metal as it ever did (perhaps more, given the importance of the three rupees: reduce, reuse and recycle).

Therefore, it is important for young people to know exactly how they can manipulate these materials, from hammers and nails to jigsaws and routers, with a small amount of crusher, metal shears, metal shears, oxyacetylene torches and other items.

Check out this video for some metal tips; and here is our list of beginner woodworking skills you should know

Install any operating system

You have already taught (or plan to) your children how to build a computer. But what about installing an operating system? At the very least, they should be able to install a copy of Windows from scratch. but don’t overlook Linux as an alternative. because distributions are easier to get. Teaching your kids how to install an OS on a Raspberry Pi also extremely helpful.

And do not forget that operating systems can be installed from optical and hard media. Don’t let them fight CDs or DVDs if they don’t need to — impress the fact that you can use a USB flash drive .

Perhaps most importantly, let your child know that in addition to saving a spare operating system to keep on DVD, they should also have recovery tools on hand in case the hard drive fails or becomes infected with malware.

Study online with these sites

In addition to the skills listed above, you will find many websites that can teach your child a range of DIY knowledge. While you’ll find plenty of material on YouTube, you can check out, which also offers a rewarded player system full of activities for kids to show off their new skills and work on certain badges. They also offer paid «camps» to guide kids through certain tasks (requires an iOS 8.1+ device to participate), but all activities are available for viewing and inspiration.


Of course, there are many other DIY skills that can be taught to your child that they unfortunately won’t learn in school. Repairing an engine, plumbing, building a wall, and connecting a network cable are just a few that come to mind. But what DIY skills would you teach your kids? Write to us in the comments.

Image Credits: Young girl created DIY Dainis via Shutterstock

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